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Store Interiors

What do these photos tell you about the kind of stores and shops that were in these towns?

Bank In Victor

This is the interior of the Citizens Bank in the town of Victor, which is located near Cripple Creek. The metal grill on the left of the men is a teller window. That is where the bankers waited on customers.

Bank In Victor

Photo: Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

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Photos of the interiors of places of business also tell us a lot about Colorado’s mining towns. We know from this photo that Victor had at least one bank. Why would a miner, a mine owner or a merchant need to go to a bank?

Butcher Shop In Nevadaville

This is a butcher shop or meat store in Nevadaville, a mining town near Central City. Chickens hang from the rack behind the men. The wall on the right holds hindquarters of beef. Lunchmeat is displayed on the table.

Butcher Shop In Nevadaville

Photo: Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

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Stores like this butcher shop sold food to the miners. This shop also provided farmers and ranchers down on the plains with a market for the chickens, cattle, and other animals that they raised.

Their Own Words

"O I tell you we are nearer heaven on them mountains than you poor souls in the low flat States--but I can’t say that we are any more spiritual--indeed I fear that religion here is very much diluted for even now, Sunday at 11 am, the stores are all open, trading is brisk, the Billiard rooms and lager Beer Saloons are in full blast. This is universal in the mining districts in order to accommodate the miners who live under ground all the week and spending their money Sundays."

Source: Alonzo Harris Boardman to his wife, Nancy, Aug. 16, 1863.

Saloon In Telluride

This photo was taken in a saloon in Telluride. The men on the right are leaning against the bar. Musicians are seated in the rear. On the left, men are seated at a gambling table. The electric lights hanging from the ceiling indicate that the photo was taken in the early 1900s.

Saloon In Telluride

Photo: Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

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Saloons were popular places in mining towns. Miners went there to drink beer, talk with their friends, listen to music, and to play cards and gamble. In some small mining towns, saloons that had iron safes also served as banks. Miners kept their money or gold dust in the saloon’s safe.

Their Own Words

"As I sold newspapers on the street, I was often in Johnny Nolan's saloon, where I sometimes sold all my papers. It was not an uncommon sight to see ten- and twenty-dollar gold pieces piled high in the center of the round, green cloth-covered tables. Of course, there were many stacks of silver dollars. Hard money was always used when the games of chance were in vogue."

Source: William W. Wardell, "Cripple Creek Memories," Colorado Magazine, 37 (1960): 35.

General Store In Central City

This photo shows the inside of a general store. It was taken in Central City about the year 1900.

General Store In Central City

Photo: Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

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Miners went to the general store to buy most of their food and other supplies. Items for sale in the store in this photograph include canned food, glassware and dishes.

Their Own Words

"Sugar, coffee, molasses, mackerel, herring, rope, blasting powder, nails, crackers, boots and shoes, socks, domestics, locks, hatchets, and screws."

Source: Rocky Mountain News, 1859.