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Paranormal Investigations and Research
Cripple Creek Colorado, the Teller County seat houses most of the first government buildings the area. Located at 126 West. Bennett Ave and built around 1901 is the first Teller County Jail. The jail was in operation from 1901 to 1992. Lacking a recreation area the jail closed as a regular use facility but remained in use as a temporary holding facility until 1996 when it was closed as a jail permanently.
Later reopened using funds from taxes on limited stakes gambling the Jail now stands as a museum. Over the years though even while standing empty and decaying neighbors spoke of strange happenings at the jail. Reports of persons inside and lights were common talk around town.
The Building itself is a simple red brick building and other than the bars on the windows is unremarkable. With a basement and a small upstairs area the main cell block takes up most of the space inside.
The upper floor was used in its early days as the women’s holding area. This floor has 3 cells, a bath, the juvenile cell and a Matron’s Room.
The first floor is where the Kitchen, in process area and office area. The Kitchen is now used as the back office for the museum staff while the jailers office is now the gift shop. The in process room is set up to look as an old west lawmen’s office.
The Main Cell block is a warehouse looking room with the steel bared cells located in the center, leaving a walk way around them. Ten cells are located on the first level and four cells plus solitary on the top-level of the block. The solitary confinement cell has no openings to the outside and at one time a single light was installed.
The basement level is not open to the public. It has many interesting aspects to it though. Divided into two distinct areas, the north side of the basement contains 3 rooms. The main room as you enter at the bottom of the rickety staircase housed the coal-fired steam boiler. This has been replaced with a more modern steam heating system as the building is still heated with the original steam pipes with some additions.
In the northwest corner is a room with a coal chute used to store the coal for the old boiler. It is now used for storage. In the northeast corner is a small room now dubbed “The Ice Room”. Just past an archway with no door lies this small room. Once used to store ice (for an ice box) and as a temporary morgue. This room as been much in the interests of ghost hunters.
The south end of the basement is presently used by the City of Cripple Creek for storage. It has two entrances in from the rear of the building. One a large steel barred door and the other a 1900’s steel door that is large enough to bring a carriage through. The area originally was a wide open storage area. The Laundry for the Jail may have been located in this area at one time. There is one original room left. The door to the Cantina for the jail is located along the north wall. Graffiti mars the inside of the door of persons who have passed through this room. It is now used for storage.
One last room to mention. Under the stairs to the basement was rediscovered a small room with a single chair in it. This room is rumored to have been used to place prisoners in to “steam” them or make them talk.