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Part of the District Museum complex includes a building on the southeast corner of Bennett and Fifth Street with the name of the business it housed, the Colorado Trading and Transfer Company. The building was built by the Carlton brothers, Albert “Bert” and younger brother Leslie. The brothers came from a wealthy family in Warren, Illinois. When Bert developed T.B. he moved to Colorado Springs in 1889. Leslie joined him and the brothers heard of the going’s on in Cripple Creek and rode their bikes up there to see what was going on. Not bad for a T.B. patient with the use of only one lung.
The brothers started a firewood and coal delivery business. By the time the Midland Terminal Railroad arrived in Cripple Creek, the brothers had established a business transporting ore from the mines to the terminal rail head. They built the building at the corner of Bennett and Fifth in 1894 next to what would be the Midland Terminal Railroad Depot. Amazingly enough, the building escaped destruction in the two fires that razed Cripple Creek in April 1896. The building standing there today is the same building, refurbished in the early 1990s with funds from the City of Cripple Creek.
Bert and his wife Ethel lived on the top floor until 1898 when they moved to more suitable housing befitting Bert’s financial position in the town as owner of the First National Bank in Cripple Creek. They moved to the top floor of the bank. The building was sold to the Midland Terminal Railroad in 1899 to continue its purpose as a freight depot for the railroad.
When the town was in decline after the bust of the Gold Rush, Carlton, known as “King Bert”, bought back the building and the Midland Terminal Railroad as well. In recent history, its most frequent inhabitant that we know of is Jan as it houses her office as the museum manager. It is furnished as it would have been at the turn of the last century.
There is also a gift shop that occupies the front of the entire first floor. Nancy, who is a museum employee, told me that yesterday, as she was straightening the books on the bookcase shown in the picture below (the bookcase is on the right hand side near the window), a book flew out of the shelves and landed on the floor about three feet away from the bookcase in front of the table under the window. The book was titled “Ute Indians”. Perhaps they are looking for attention too.
The back half of the first floor is part of the museum display of memorabilia lining the walls and cases with information on the people, places and events that made Cripple Creek history.
©2011, MPPIR, Blog: Nancy B, Photo’s Nancy B & Frank C