Central City

                                                            "The Richest $quare Mile on Earth"


                                   Central City 1890's. Funeral procession ~ (photo from www.photoswest.org)

(Above photo):  A long funeral procession led by a band walks down Main Street in Central City, Colorado, probably during
the 1890s, possibly for Sheriff R. B. Williams who was fatally shot by Samuel Covington, a quartz hauler from Nevadaville, in
April of 1896. (Williams' funeral was one of the largest ever recorded in Gilpin County.) Two long rows of men wearing sashes
across their chests walk side-by-side down the dirt road. A series of horse-drawn carriages follows behind the men.

                                                                             Central City History:

Central City is located in the Rocky Mountains, 35 miles west of Denver. It is at the southern end of Gilpin County at an elevation of
8,496 feet.

In 1859, John Gregory discovered "The Gregory Lode" in a gulch near Central City. Within two weeks, the gold rush was on and within
two months the population grew to 10,000 people seeking their fortunes.

William Byers, founder of the Rocky Mountain News, and some companions pitched their tents on open ground squarely in the center
of the mining district. Thus Central City was born and was soon the leading mining center in Colorado. It came to be known as "The
Richest Square Mile On Earth". Gregory’s discovery is commemorated by a stone monument at the eastern end of the city.

In 1874 most of the buildings in Central City were destroyed by fire. The town was rebuilt, this time of brick and stone; most of these
stand today.


                                                            Central City Creepy Crawl!

                           Explore Central City's Shadowlands with free lantern tours of haunted hot spots!

                                                         Halloween 2010!

                    First four Saturdays in October 2010 ~ Creepy Crawl ghost tours of Central City.
                                              Check back
HERE for more details on this event!

* Please note: Dates & times of all events are subject to change *

Tours start at 7 p.m. and leave every 5-7 minutes until 7:30 p.m.

Meet at the corner of Lawrence and Main Streets in front of Century Casino (park free in Century’s garage). Reserve your free spot on
the tour:

The 60–90 minute lantern tour involves significant walking, including steep hills and stairways, so sturdy shoes and a healthy spirit are
a must.

Central City’s 150 years of history add up to one legendary ghost town. Stories and sightings of the supernatural abound, as you tour
haunted buildings and other sites with Gilpin Historical Society members, who let you decide for yourself which ghosts are real and
which are legend.



   3rd Annual Ghouls of Gilpin County at the History Museum!

                                                          October 22nd, 2010

$8 per person.

The hauntings will begin at 7 p.m.



                                             Cemetery Tours

   22nd Annual Cemetery Crawl!

                                                                              August 28th, 2010

                                                                Masonic Cemetery ~ Central City

2:00 p.m.

Adults $12, children under 12 free.  $10 if purchased in advance.

Hosted by The Gilpin Historical Society

Call 303-582-5364 for more info.

Gilpin History Museum ---  Central City  ---  303.582.5283  ---  www.gilpinhistory.org   ---  gchs@wispertel.net


                                                                  The Cemeteries:

One mile west of Central City (taking Eureka Street) lie three cemeteries with hundreds of ornate stone markers and intricate grill work,
with headstones dating back to the 1860s. The three are the Central City Cemetery, the Knights of Pythias and the Catholic
Cemetery.  Please feel free to visit and wander among the headstones marking early day Central City residents grave sites. Please
remember that these are actual cemeteries and are still in use to this day.


I.0.0.F. Lodge Cemetery
Located in Central City following out Eureka Street just past the Boodle Mine.   

Bald Mountain Cemetery
The Town Board of Nevadaville founded the Bald Mountain Cemetery in the summer of 1877. The oldest tombstone predates the
founding of the cemetery by 12 years. Another 17 tombstone inscriptions predate the cemetery’s opening in 1877. Apparently, a
number of caskets were transferred here from other burial grounds. Cemetery records are now housed at the county courthouse.

Catholic Cemetery  

Central City Cemetery
The first City of Central cemetery was located on East 4 th High Street in Central City. It was in the way of the mining activity and
relocated to its present location in 1862.   

Dory Hill Cemetery
The first burial in Dory Hill was in 1859. However, the oldest tombstone inscription found by Mrs. Blanchard was Stephen T. Tibbits,
died March 5, 1863, aged 30 years. Dory Hill Cemetery is owned by the City of Black Hawk.

Foresters Cemetery

Knights of Pythias Cemetery      

Masonic Cemetery     

Red Men Cemetery


Graveyard Horseback Rides in Central City!

                                                                                  Photo from:

Enjoy Horseback Riding in Colorado!

Come to the Magnificent Colorado Rocky Mountains and enjoy a unique horseback!  Ride to some of Central City's oldest cemeteries.
Many of the graves you will see hold the remains of people who died in their 20s, 30s and there are also many graves of children and
infants.....vivid proof of the sorrow, new hope and then renewed grief mining families experienced. Tour can be 90 minutes or 2 hours;
it's your choice. The 2 hour tour takes a loop around the mountain. Tours are also available guided or unguided.

A&A Historical Trails is a Colorado Horse back riding stable different and unique among many Colorado stables. Don't be limited by the
"guided only" Colorado horse riding, and by restrictions and age limits commonly imposed by the other large, "mass market" Colorado

No age limit: Under 5 years old: Ride double!

Learn to ride a horse and you can have one of the most thrilling experiences of your life!

The best in Colorado Trail rides, pony rides, horse rental, horseback rides, pack trips, hunting horses, pack horses.
We offer Rocky Mountain trail horse riding with a number of unique guided and un-guided trail rides ... to old 1800's cemeteries, gold
mines, rides to Colorado Casinos, and much more!

For reservations:  Please call us at:  303-567-4808 or E-mail us at:   aastables@aastables.com

A&A Historical Trails Stables - 188 Alpes Hill Road
PO BOX 374 Idaho Springs, CO 80452


Length: 90 Minutes  

10:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm & 4:00 pm
-May through November
*weather permitting  

Prices - including tax

Our Internet Rate ~ 90 Minute Tour ~ (per person):  $54.95

Our Internet Rate ~
2 Hour Tour ~ (per person):  $69.95


Tour does not include hotel pick up or transportation to Central City CO. Please reserve online, or call us toll-free at 888-478-1481.
There is a $3.95 processing fee per order. This is a flat fee regardless of the number of tickets or tours purchased on an order.  There
is a service charge per ticket. This charge will be reflected on your summary before you checkout. The total shown includes any and
all taxes, fuel surcharges, and service fees. There are no additional charges.

Cancellation Policy: There are no refunds. All sales are final.

Change Fee Policy: If changes are allowed on a tour or activity, a $20.00 per reservation change fee will be applied for any change to
a reservation. Please note that some tours and activities do not allow any changes. Date changes can be made only if we can confirm
availability on the new date. While we cannot guarantee any changes can be made, all change requests must be submitted a minimum
of 24 hours prior to the tour departure and must be handled on an individual basis through our Reservations Center.

Important Notes:

~ Central City is located approximately a one hour drive from Boulder or Denver.
~ There is a minimum age requirement of 6 years old to ride.
~ You will be required to sign a Liability Waiver before the ride.
~ You must provide each rider's weight and level of riding experience on the Order Form.

Tour does not include hotel pick up or transportation to Central City CO.

Please reserve online, or call us toll-free at 888-478-1481.

Some of the other rides offered:

The Halloween Ride:

To the Graveyards... on HALLOWEEN!
Limited riders so sign up ASAP!
(No minimum number of riders)
(Reservations Required)

Full Moon Rides:

A $120, 6 hour round trip.
Start in daylight as we ride to the Central City casinos where you can wine, dine, and gamble. Ride back home by the light of the moon.
(5 person minimum)
(Reservations Required)



Stay with us and enjoy spirit walks and guided ghost tours during the month of October. Delight your soul in a self guided spirit walk
throughout the Cemetery District of Central City.

Visit the spirits of the 1800’s in any of the seven cemeteries around the area. Guided Ghost Tours in selected haunted buildings of
Historic Downtown Central City will be available most weekends.

Go on the "Up The Gulch" walking tour around "The Richest Square Mile on Earth" or just visit and shop along Main Street Central.
Afterwards, refresh your own spirits at the Blissful Spirit Day Spa on site with an intuitive Geomancy Life Reading.

We offer a wide range of Spa Services including massage, facials and body treatments. Come and stay two nights at the Hooper
Homestead Guest Quarters, enjoy a deluxe continental breakfast, two Geomancy Life Readings with Pat, Ghost Walks and a soak in
the hot tub afterwards under the moon. Dates: October 1 - October 31. Cost: Mid-Week $269.00/ Weekends $299.00 (based on
double occupancy; tax not included.)

Hooper Homestead Guest Quarters  (Christine Pollock & Pat Ballantyne)
Address: 2555 W. 37th Ave., Central City, CO 80427


E-mail: christine@hooperhomestead.com

Local: 303-582-5828


                           Chateau L'Acadienne Bed & Breakfast

325 Spring Street
Central City CO 80427


Innkeepers: James & Shirley Voorhies

Chateau L'Acadienne (Big House of the Cajun) was built in the late 1870's during the height of the gold mining era. The house was
originally built by John R. Morgan with "Hooper" brick and stone. Recent renovations have restored the home to meet the needs of the
weary traveler.

James and Shirley Voorhies are the resident owners of the chateau. Throughout the chateau, ten foot high ceilings are adorned with
decorative moldings and fine antique chandeliers. Each guest room is uniquely decorated in either Victorian English or Louisiana
French Decor. Guests are treated to a beautiful view of the hills and mining district surrounding Central City.

To enjoy the accomodations, guests are invited to relax in the elegance of their boudoir or enjoy the panoramic views from the sitting
areas outside the chateau. Guests will also enjoy "Lagniappe" (lan-yap), the Cajun French tradition of the host providing "a little extra"
to the customer.

Central City bed and breakfast owners James and Shirley Voorhies, don't know what to think of their ghosts.

The couple bought a 120-year-old home in Central City and opened it as the Chateau L'Acadienne bed-and-breakfast. Less than a
month later, a guest greeted them at the breakfast table with the pronouncement, "You have a ghost."

Since then, several other guests have reported that their jewelry or keys had been moved from one side of the room to another during
the night.

When a former owner of the house stopped by to see the house, Shirley heard the story of "Gwendolyn," which the couple now
believes to be their resident spirit.

"She's a very playful ghost, I know that," Voorhies said. "We've found keys on the bed, on the floor. We haven't seen her yet, but some
people who have say she's a young woman dressed in elegant 1890s attire and often seen playing with a string of beads."

Source:  Denver Post- March 26, 1996   Section: Living    Page: E-01   Michelle Mahoney Denver Post Staff Writer

                                                             The Child Ghost of Missouri Flats

                                                                          Missouri Flats Cemetery

According to Jeff Casey, several county sheriffs have reported seeing a small child in the area of the new C and D parking lots south
of Central City. Nearby is a child's grave marked "Clara A., daughter of F.S. and D.F. Dulaney, died July 5, 1865 age 1 year 12 days."

On a separate occasion, a Central City gambling shuttle driver was driving past the grave and heard three distinct knocks on the
outside of the shuttle bus.

"Could it be the ghost of Clara or another unknown child whose grave has been disturbed by the recent activities in Central City?"

Source: The Denver Post - March 26, 1996
Section: Living   Page: E-01
Michelle Mahoney Denver Post Staff Writer

                                                                     The Columbine Lady
 The ghost of Masonic Cemetery

According to  legend, every April 5th and November 1st a beautiful woman in a black satin dress appears and places columbine
flowers on the grave on John Edward Cameron, her lover, who is buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Central City, Colorado.

Once 12 people gathered together at Cameron's grave on November 1st to see the ghost. At sunset, she appeared as always. Two
men tried to grab her, but she flew off and vanished on a hill not far from the cemetery.

If creepy is, indeed, what you clamor for, mark your calendar for Nov. 1 and head on up to Central City, where, like clockwork, the Lady
in Black - believed to be a jilted lover or surviving fiancee of John Edward Cameron, who died at age 28 - visits her lover's grave site,
adorning it with flowers. Or for an encore, stop by April 5, when she performs the ritual again.

SOURCES:  www.rootsweb.com
(Rocky Mountain News- Sat. Oct. 18th, 2003)

                                                           Teller House

                                                                                    120 Eureka                                  


                        Teller House - 2006 ~ (Above photo taken by HauntedColorado.net.   All rights reserved, please}.

                                                  Teller House interior - 1872 ~ (photo from  www.photoswest.org)

Eureka St.
National Register 1/18/1973, 5GL.9

The Teller House was built by brothers Henry M. and Willard Teller during 1871-72. The four-story brick building was reported to be
the largest and most elaborately furnished hotel located outside of Denver. It served as the gathering place for local society and
visiting elite, including U.S. President Grant who visited in 1873. Double hung windows are found on the three floors that contained
sleeping rooms. Windows and doors on the first floor are set in round arches and include transoms. Portions of the building now house
a museum, and the first floor bar with its well known "Face on the Barroom Floor" remains an attraction.


The Teller House houses the famous and mysterious "Face on the Barroom Floor" painting, done by Herndon Davis in 1934.  This
lovely painting is carefully maintained today.

Legend has it that the woman’s likeness was painted by a distraught miner when his wife died of consumption. As the story goes, the
miner drank himself into a stupor and then proceeded to paint his wife’s portrait on the floor.  Speaking tenderly of her, he painted long
into the night and on to past noon.  Once the artist was finished, he slept, never to wake again.  Buried next to his beloved wife,
witnesses say that on the anniversary of his death, the couple can be heard talking tenderly to each other through her portrait on the

At the Teller House, some people have reported seeing the ghost of a blond woman who is believed to be the wife of a man who beat
her in the late 1890s after seeing her talking to another man.

Dolores Spellman, a Teller House tour guide, says she doesn't believe in ghosts herself, but "friendly spirits" are another story.


                               The Teller House is now.......... Rouge at the Teller House!

                                                    A Kevin Taylor Restaurant!

Welcome to Rouge and The Face Restaurant in Central City, Colorado - Two Kevin Taylor restaurants in one beautiful, historic
building. Proudly partnered with the Central City Opera since 2006.

Central City Opera and the Kevin Taylor Restaurant Group have partnered to bring you the very best in seasonal dining at the historic
Teller House in Central City. Reservations are accepted at Rouge, an upscale, fine dining experience, serving on nights with evening
performances; while The Face Bar offers a casual menu on the main level.

We are closed on Mondays

The Face Bar Restaurant: Located on the main level of the Teller House -- Casual American Cuisine.  Open for appetizers, lunch,
dinner and dessert on days with opera matinees or evening performances

Rouge Fine American Cuisine; Located upstairs in the Teller House.  Closed for lunch.  Open for dinner service only on dates with
evening (7:30 and 8pm opera) performances.

History of Central City Opera's Teller House

The Teller House was built as a hotel by lawyer turned statesman, Henry Moore Teller, in 1872 to serve the gold mining town then
known as the ''richest square mile on earth'' and the leader of the world's gold production.

The Teller House became known as the finest hotel (outside of Denver) west of the Mississippi and houses the famous and mysterious
''Face on the Barroom Floor'' painting, done by Herndon Davis in 1934. (Gilpin County Historical Society).

The hotel was rented for dining and housing of Central City Opera House patrons beginning with the first festival in 1932, and was
purchased from Teller’s heirs by the Association in 1935. Since then, the Teller House has been used by the Association as an
entertainment and gathering venue for opera patrons and for special events throughout the season.

Rouge at the Teller House
120 Eureka Street, Central City, CO 80427

                                                                  The Face on the Barroom Floor

                                                                        Photo from:  www.tellerhouserouge.com

The Face on the Barroom Floor ~ Photo taken in 1936 - View of the face on the hardwood bar room floor of the Teller House,
                            Painted by Colorado artist Herndon Davis (1901-1962).  Photo by:

Visit the historic Face Bar in the Teller House and see the legendary painting of the beautiful Madeline on the barroom floor!

In 1872 the Teller House Hotel was built and was said to be the finest hotel west of the Mississippi River. In 1873 President Ulysses S.
Grant came to see his friend Henry Teller (who became the first senator from Colorado and later, Secretary of the Interior under
President Chester Arthur) and his new hotel.

To impress the president, mine owners decided to lay 26 ingots of solid silver to make a path to the entrance to the Teller House so
President Grant wouldn’t have to dirty his boots when he stepped from his carriage. Legend has it that Grant became angry when he
saw the silver bars and walked up the boardwalk instead. At that time, Congress was debating whether gold or silver should back the
dollar, any no way would he show favoritism, he said.




The Denver Post- Spirited Times Gilpin County gambling boom brings out new, old ghost stories-  March 26, 1996   Section: Living    
Page: E-01 -- Michelle Mahoney Denver Post Staff Writer

                                                      Past article from 2005


                                           Teller House slots shut down amid boom in Central City
                                                                 Location may have played a role

By Joanne Kelley, Rocky Mountain News

July 13, 2005

A casino that opened just a few months ago in Central City's Teller House shut down its slot machines early Monday, marking the
second time a gaming parlor has gone out of business in the historic building.

While an executive for the casino's operating company did not return phone calls seeking comment, a spokesman for the state's
gaming division confirmed the establishment had ceased operating its slots.

The closure comes at a time when Central City's fortunes are on the upswing. The city's overall gaming revenues have surged, due
largely to the opening of a parkway from Interstate 70 that allows gamblers to bypass rival Black Hawk and go directly to Central City.

"It's baffling to me," Joe Behm, president of Central City's Business Improvement District, said of the casino's closing. "All indications
are everyone in Central City's doing very well. Road (traffic) counts are up. Revenues are up."

Added Central City Mayor Buddy Schmalz: "It's not like Central City's business is leveling out. Business is booming."

The Teller House bar and food service remain open for operagoers and tourists, and the casino's operator maintains its lease,
according to Valerie Hamlin, events manager and spokeswoman for the adjacent Central City Opera, whose endowment owns Teller

Some gaming executives speculated the casino likely suffered from its location, a short walk up a hill from parking lots located closer to
the Main Street gaming establishments.

"I'm sure location probably was some factor," said Lois Rice, executive director of the Colorado Gaming Association. "I don't know the

The casino had 200 slot machines and was operated by 3C Gaming Inc., which also opened Scarlet's Casino in February at the site of
the former Bullwhacker's Casino on Main Street.

Eddie Lynn, 3C Gaming's chief executive was one of the investors in the first casino to set up shop in the Teller House in the 1990s, a
venture that involved a $14 million investment.

In February, Lynn said his company had pumped about $13 million into renovations and other equipment for both Scarlet's and the
Teller House. Outfitting an old building for gaming can be costly, given the need for surveillance equipment and all the extra wiring and
reinforced flooring required for slot machines.

Without lots of traffic, fees charged by the city also can add up. Central City casinos pay $1,265 a year in fees on each gaming device
they operate, which amounted to more than $250,000 annually for the Teller House's 200 slots.

When Teller House Casino opened in February, Lynn had ambitious plans to open Madeline's, a fine dining restaurant aimed in part at
opera patrons. It was to be named after the woman said to be depicted in the famous "face on the barroom floor" painting in the Teller

"The restaurant did not open," said Hamlin, the spokeswoman for the Central City Opera House Association.

The opera, whose season runs through the summer, had welcomed the addition of an upscale restaurant for opera patrons, who have
long complained about the lack of nearby restaurants to visit either before or after performances

                                                            Central City Opera House

                                                                                      120 Eureka Street


                                                               Central City Opera House - 1933 ~ (www.photoswest.org)

Eureka St.
National Register 1/18/1973, 5GL.8

Opened in March of 1878, the two-story Renaissance Revival style stone building is the oldest surviving and first permanent opera
house in Colorado. It was built with funds raised by a citizens’ group interested in bringing cultural opportunities to the area, the Gilpin
County Opera House Association. Between 1910 and 1927, the building functioned as a motion picture theater. Donated to the
University of Denver in 1931, the building was restored by the Central City Opera House Association to serve as a venue for an
ongoing summer opera program.


The Central City Opera House spreads a famous tale of Billy Hamilton, an Irish doorman and caretaker who lived there in the 1930s
and sometimes is credited with pranks and other strange doings in the building.

"I knew Billy Hamilton and I'm sure he is here," Spellman said. "Some guys behind the bar say they've seen Billy. Well, if they say
they've seen him, who am I to say they didn't?"

Among the remaining troupes of the Opera House was s a miner turned stage performer by the name of Mike Dougherty, who was a
favorite in 1865.  Unfortunately, like many residents of this rough and tumble frontier town, Dougherty drank himself to death.  
Apparently, Mike's love of the stage has caused him to linger.  

Over the years, numerous back-stage visitors have reported being nearly overwhelmed with the strong (but fleeting) odor of alcohol,
which is sometimes accompanied by a stout nudge on the shoulder, or by their hair being lightly ruffled from behind.  

While Dougherty seems to be a friendly ghost, the living are always considerably startled when they turn to look and realize that they
are alone in the darkened corridor.   
Other reported occurrences have included strange flickering orbs of light that seem to float across a darkened stage and then vanish
into the wings.

The distinct sound of footsteps is also heard in the balcony, thought to be those of a long departed female patron,  Occasional cold
spots have been felt which move from one corner to the next backstage. Nearly all of these occurrences have been reported when the
theater is dark and not in use for performances.

SOURCE:    www.legendsofamerica.com

                                                Central City: gold, gambling, ... ghosts?

Source of the following article:           www.thefencepost.com              Story by Becky Talley

His name is Billy. He is a resident of Central City, Colo., and has been the caretaker of the Opera House in this one-time mining village,
turned ghost town, turned gambling berg, high in the Rocky Mountains. Billy has seen his fair share of actors, gold seekers and visitors
come through the town. He enjoys a good chew, and is, in fact, never without his can of dip. Billy always likes to meet new people, in
fact, he insists on introductions and if you don’t comply, like any gentleman, he does not consider it polite. There is only one thing
about Billy that sets him apart from other men: when you introduce yourself his handshake may be a bit cold and clammy, that is if you
can actually see or feel the hand of a dead man!

Billy is one of the many spirits that still roam the historic buildings and streets of Central City. According to the Gilpin Historical Society
Web site (http://www. coloradomuseums. com/gilpin.htm), in “1859, John Gregory discovered ‘The Gregory Lode’ in a gulch near
Central City ... Within two months the population grew to 10,000 people seeking their fortunes.” This one-time booming mining town
played out many dramas within its city walls with a cast of players from miners to soiled doves and even famous outlaws who strolled
the bustling 1800s streets. However, like many boom towns, Central City eventually went bust with only the memories to replay
themselves within the quiet buildings and deserted streets. Or was it only the memories that were alive in the town? It appears that this
berg was never quite abandoned by its original residents. The people of this historical town have been celebrating the big haul,
drowning their sorrows after going bust, gambling and carousing since the mining days, though very few of them have been living for
several decades.

I found myself strolling through this piece of Colorado history in search of another story for some exciting reading for the Fence Post
Halloween issue. The mysterious and eerie have always held a fascination for me, so, of course, I jumped at the chance to scare
something up in the former mining town.

I was able to view some of the town’s most haunted locations thanks to the Haunts of Central City Tour 2004 put on by the Farrout
Penndragon Investigations and The Sweet Shop.

The tour began in the Central City Opera House, a grand building that has hosted the likes of Mae West and Christopher Reeves.
However, on this October evening, the Opera House played host to a very different crowd.

Once in the house, the tour group was asked to introduce itself to “Billy,” only one of the house ghosts we were to be introduced to in
the Opera House.

As mentioned before, Billy was the caretaker of the Opera House. The young man, who was known to always carry Copenhagen chew,
suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. However, no matter the fate he met, his spirit returned to protect the Opera House. Billy is a
stickler for introductions and doesn’t appear to take kindly to those who do not comply. The guide related that a man once adamantly
refused to introduce himself to the spirit. While walking around the opera house, the man claimed he was tripped by something, which
resulted in a broken nose for this brazen soul. When the investigation into the accident occurred, nothing was found to explain the
mishap, nothing, that is, except for a smashed, empty can of Copenhagen chew!

Two other spirits are reported to have also made the Opera House their favorite haunt, or at least they used to. One still thought to be
around is the builder of the house who has mysteriously shown up once to make repairs to the roof. The other entity apparently
hitched a ride down to a new home with a family that visited the Opera House. His name is John and he was easily recognized by the
smell of cigar smoke that would waft through the air whenever he appeared. The family came to the Opera House and decided to try to
initiate contact with John. When they went home, they found that many strange things started happening in their house. This family
didn’t pay a second thought to the occurrences until they began to smell the pungent odor of cigar smoke in their home. John has not
been seen at the Opera House since.

                                                                              The Belvidere Theatre

                                                                                           139 Nevada Street

Above photo from: The Opera Houses of Old Colorado website


The following story is from:     www.thefencepost.com        By Becky Talley

The Belvidere was the first opera house built in Central City in hopes of drawing acting troupes from New York to its stage. It was built
by Henry Teller, a prominent man in Central City who became the first senator from Colorado and later, Secretary of the Interior under
President Chester Arthur. (Teller also now reportedly spends his days haunting the building.) The Belvidere was built in 1874 after a
large fire swept through Central City burning down most of the structures.

Unfortunately for Teller, the Belvidere was not as successful as hoped and the present Opera House was built because the Belvidere
was found to be too small.

The tour was seated in the audience section of the theatre, looking to the stage, as many done for over a century, as we listened to
tales of the spirits that lurk in the shadows of the Belvidere.

Within the Belvidere, there was a bar and rooms where soiled doves plied their trade. A prominent figure in the bar was that of a
woman named Kate, a woman who was facially disfigured in a bar fight.

Her ghost is reported to still haunt the establishment, though it has been a long time since it has served its last drink. In fact, a psychic
was reported to have visited the theatre to try to establish contact with any soul who may have chosen it as its permanent home. The
woman reported to have contacted as many as 45 spirits, according to the tour guides, one of which was a large woman with a
disfigured face.

At this point in the tour, I suddenly realized how downright chilly the air was getting. The theatre itself had no heating, so the cool
temperature was no surprise. However, the chills that were sweeping over me were not of the cold weather kind. The hair on the back
of my neck was standing on end and my skin was beginning to crawl. Now, let me tell you, feeling something like this is not pleasant. It
is, in fact, downright eerie, and I was soon given a possible explanation for my sudden case of the heebie-jeebies.

The tour guide directed our attention to a section of a balcony about 10 feet to my right and just above my head. Apparently, I was
closer to a ghostly site than I had intended to be, and it felt like the ghost was looking over the railing and right through me!

The guide related that this ghost has been identified as a woman named Flora or Florence and was once one of Big Nose Kate’s
soiled doves who worked the rooms off the stage. Previously, a tour guide was able to make contact with her with the aid of dowsing
rods, and the ghost related her bitter tale. Apparently, she claims that she was murdered by another one of the girls that worked the
theatre. Possibly in an attempt to right her horrible death, she continues to this day to ask people for help from beyond the grave.

Another spirit is found in a back corner of the building (further away from my seat, thank goodness), and, according to communications
with “Flora,” does not like visitors in the theatre. He is believed to be either a stage hand or director who feels very strongly about the
building. The Belvidere was used for a movie theatre for a short time and the projector was put in the general area the ghost chooses
to haunt. During this time, there was rarely a time when a movie would be played in its entirety without something going wrong with the
projector. Did the machine have a little extra “help” from a projectionist from beyond the grave?

At this point in the tour, all of us ghost hunters were able to walk around the theatre and see what we could scare up. I steeled my
nerves to make my way to the corner of the unfriendly man and Flora’s balcony.

Once I set foot on the stairs where the man is reported to be, I instantly felt a sense of dread. There was a little voice inside that not-so-
calmly told me it may be time to rethink this whole ghost thing and leave while I still could. I felt like there was someone behind me on
the stairs and even turned around several times to see if I was in someone’s way. Of course, when I turned around no one was behind
me, so I decided leave that area and take my chances with Flora instead.

When I got to her favorite spot, I met a group of people standing in a circle. All had their hands in the center of the group and informed
me that the air was colder there than anywhere else in the theatre. Being game, I stuck my hand in the circle and the temperature did
feel colder, but what really creeped us all out was that the air felt like it was vibrating. Now, this building is drafty and we could have
convinced ourselves that we felt something that wasn’t there, but no matter what the explanation, I knew it was time to get the heck out
of Dodge. I stopped just short of plowing people over on my way to the door.

Others had the same experience. Tour participants Tricia Bergeron of Littleton and Barbara Padilla of Lakewood reported that they
smelled something in Flora’s area. There have been no other reports of any scents around Flora’s balcony, but try to tell that to those
few who did smell it! Barbara also reported to feel someone on the stairs, just like I did.

Once outside of the Belvidere and back into autumn air at the end of the tour, the hair on the back of my neck began to stand down.
What a great way to spend a spooky October evening!

On my drive back down the mountain to home, I ran through the stories of the spirits who have chosen to stay on in Central City for
eternity, and was joltingly reminded that there was one exception. John, the Opera House ghost, reportedly decided to give up his
familiar settings to haunt a family at their home.

All at once I was set at unease again (the hair on my arms shot to the ceiling), and, though I felt silly, I quickly scanned my car for any
ghostly passengers. Was I bringing anything home that I didn’t take with me to Central City? Was Flora riding shotgun in hopes that I
could finally give her the help she so desperately seeks? Were those strange noises I heard in my house that night just a case of
overactive imagination? I guess that may remain a secret that the ghosts of Central City will take to their graves, literally!

Past news articles:

City of Black Hawk
Nov. 19th, 2003


The City of Black Hawk and Central City town fathers joined forces today in a first step to develop Central City’s Belvidere Theatre into
a regional community center.

More than century ago, The Belvidere served as a public hall and theatre -- years before the Central City Opera House opened its
doors in 1878. Today, the City of Black Hawk purchased the tax lien on the Belvidere Theatre and Concert Hall along with the adjacent
Shoo Fly saloon.

This action is part of a long-term plan to develop the area into a family-friendly destination resort, said Al Price, Alderman from the City
of Black Hawk. "Central City and Black Hawk will always be individual cities with individual histories but restoring and preserving the
Belvidere will go a long way toward making the area more of a community,” he said. “Buying and restoring the Belvidere Theatre will do
a great deal to keep the culture of the area community alive." He said the City of Black Hawk plans to preserve this historic site to its
former glory and to use the Belvidere as a community center for the region.

"I've been in the non-profit sector for 35 years and I've never seen a strong relationship develop out of a tax lien, but I think the two
communities have found a number of reasons to come together and there is all sorts of potential in the development of a relationship
between Central City and Black Hawk,” said Bob Harvey, Board Member for Belvidere Theatre. It is a step in the right direction."

Several spoke out in favor of the plan to bring the Belvidere back to life as a community hub:

"The Belvidere is one of the jewels of Central City, said Patricia Holcomb of Colorado Preservation, Inc. “Colorado Preservation, Inc. is
pleased to see Black Hawk and Central City working together to restore this theatre. The project falls in perfect line with efforts on the
part of many to revitalize and diversify the Central City economy."

Mayor of Central City Buddy Schmalz said Central City is enthusiastic about the possibilities of working to restore the Belvidere and
appreciates the efforts of Black Hawk.

In past years, the Belvidere has been in various stages of disrepair since it first served as a cultural center for Central City in the
1800s. In 1878, the Central City Opera House replaced the Belvidere Theatre as the opera hot spot with greater seating capacity for
700 people.

The City of Black Hawk will begin historic preservation and reconstruction when the tax lien period expires.

The white brick and stone Belvidere is located in the heart of Central City’s business district, just a few doors around the corner from
the Central City Opera House. It was built by Colorado’s first Senator Henry Teller and Judge Silas B. Hahn for use as a meeting hall
and theatre. It opened in August of 1875 with the New York Comedy Troup performing “The Bohemian Girl.”

The structure later became a stable with a feed and coal store, then home to the Central Bottling Works, the Fire Department, the
Colorado militia, the Central City Garage and dealership, and a basketball court and recreation center. In 1972, a restored theatre was
opened for “Dinner and a Movie” and in 1975, the theatre was used for the filming of “Duchess and the Dirt Water Fox” starring Goldie
Hawn and George Segal.


                          Old theater to ring in a new year Gala will echo off 124-year-old walls and rafters

By George Lane
Denver Post Staff Writer

December 29, 1999

The Belvidere Theatre and Concert Hall is actually located in two buildings on Nevada Street just around the corner from Main Street
in this historic mining town turned limited-stakes gambling town.

The oldest of the buildings is Wisebart Hall, which opened in 1865 and became the home of the Shoo Fly Saloon.

"The Shoo Fly Saloon was run by Big Nose Kate who was always in trouble with city officials because her employees worked in various
stages of undress," said Bob Harvey, the man who has taken the responsibility of putting the Belvidere back on its feet.

Upstairs or in back of the Shoo Fly were a few rooms where the women associated with the establishment were known to entertain, and
there was a side door that made it possible for certain city officials to enter without being observed by the more respectable women of
the town.

Bat Masterson, who had a bar down in Creede, is said to have gotten in trouble with one of the Shoo Fly girls.

Anyway, because it was one of the few buildings made of brick, Wisebart Hall was the only building on the south end of town to survive
the fires of 1873 and 1874 that pretty much burned down everything else.

The Belvidere opened adjacent to Wisebart Hall in August 1875 after Henry Teller and J.B. Hahn decided the town needed a theater.
While entertainment went on on the second floor, the first was devoted to retail shops.

The 450-seat theater was such a success that in 1878 it was replaced by the Central City opera house, down the street and around
the corner on Eureka Street. After the opera house opened, the theater building was the home of a variety of enterprises.

December 29, 1999      
Old theater to ring in a new year Gala will echo off 124-year-old walls and rafters
Author: George Lane - Denver Post Staff Writer

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