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Paranormal Investigations and Research
On August 13, 2011 MPPIR investigated the Cripple Creek Elks Club building on 4th Street and Bennett Avenue. For our group, the most active place was the dining room with shadows, noises and EMF readings galore. The second most active place for us was the Club Room where the bar is and is probably the room most used in the building by the Elks members.
Below is a picture taken in the Club Room during the investigation that warrants attention due to its distinctive nature. All the pictures taken that night are clear except for one that is not for a different reason. This picture appears to have water droplets on the lens and many Orbs. In fact, it’s an Orb Lover’s Dream. So all you believers in those pesky things that show up in our photographs that we can’t see with the naked eye chime in here. It also has a duplication of some lights, as if it had a stuck shutter. Either the auto-focus isn’t working or it is focusing on something I can’t see. Examine this picture closely and write in your conclusions and reasoning.
My camera is a Canon Power-shot SD 1200 IS digital that I have had for several years. It is clear when it is not focusing so I know to take another picture and I will have a blurry one. It takes a long time before it will snap the picture-if at all.
The next two pictures are an example of “now you see it, now you don’t”. They were taken one right after the other in quick succession, in the retail space on the first floor on Bennett avenue that is to the left of the main entrance of the Elks Club and is part of their building. We were lucky in that it was empty so we could spend time there last night. The importance of this space is that is was the location of the killing of Sam Strong in 1901 at what was then the Newport Saloon and Gambling Hall. In an altercation with the saloon’s owner, Grant Crumley, over gambling debts, Crumley shot Strong with a shotgun and killed him. Whether or not he died there or later is unknown but there is a description of this on a plaque at the front door and in the Outlaws and Jail Museum as well as numerous publications.
The white dot on the wainscoting below the chair rail appears in the first picture, but not in the next. If its duct, it’s quite a dense mote and pretty interesting that it appears and disappears so quickly. It does not appear in any other pictures nor do I remember seeing it on the wall. Thoughts? Reasoning? I can’t explain this either.
Last, but not least, is a picture taken at the beginning of the night in the dining room where the MPPIR Staff and Guests congregated before we left to go to our first location. The interesting aspect of this picture is the clarity in the front of the picture compared to the blurred image of the face of the woman in the purplish shirt standing in the group farther back. It looks like she has two faces.
Could these pictures be anomalies of my camera? Explanations? Thoughts? Experiences?
© 2011 MPPIR, Blog and Photo’s Nancy
Everyone sees the sign: B.P.O.E. emblazoned on the 4th Street side of the Elks building at 375 Bennett Avenue, Cripple Creek. But they are practically by the entrance before they realize it. That’s because, the entrance is a double door that opens onto a staircase. The first floor is occupied by Nana’s Nook on the corner and an empty retail space that was the Newport Saloon and the sight of the famous shooting of millionaire mine owner Sam Strong on August 22, 1901.
The Benevolent Protective Order of Elks is an old and wonderful organization that provides many groups with necessary elements that enhance the lives of children. The Order has about 450 members who uphold time-honored values of community and family. They do this without fanfare or self-aggrandizement. There is a rich history of the organization in Cripple Creek.
The building that houses this organization is one of Cripple Creek’s architectural gems. Starting out as the Mining Exchange Building which handled all the financial business for the huge gold strikes not only in Cripple Creek, Victor, Gold Field, and Altman, but for the rest of the state as well including the booms in Leadville and Breckenridge. The three-story brick building was built after the 1896 fires and continued as the Mining Exchange until the Elks purchased it in 1911 when the gold boom started to wane. The first floor was always retail space, housing a pharmacy owned by G R Lewis, a successful pharmacist as well as gold mining investor and The Newport Gambling Hall. It is here that the more dramatic history of the building took place.
The entry speaks of private membership itself. The double doors open onto an interior staircase that climbs to the second story where either a key card, received at initiation, or the door bell gains you admittance to a lobby that is dominated by a 100-year-old Elk. Dark Victorian wood railings, staircases, finials, and molding and plush carpeting create the hushed atmosphere of the Victorian era that is the foundation of the construction.
The walls are lined with history. Photographs of groups, members, and the building itself along with lists of members during the years of existence, create a history rich in personal voluntarism. Private is the word that describes this hallowed hall. The rooms are a maze of old and new as much of the building is exactly the way it was constructed while adding new necessities over the years.
Until about 12 years ago, the Order was a men’s only organization. The building provides sleeping rooms which can only be occupied by Members and their Wives (not girlfriends) with bathrooms down the hall. With the admission of women, two Ladies Rooms have been added, changing walls and floors. These renovations, along with the addition of a new furnace upstairs and the state of the art kitchen, have moved walls and floors which makes the building Cripple Creek’s version of the Winchester House. Windows extend up into the ceiling of the Ladies Room, a window that opens to nothing, doorways that create hallways through rooms.
The Grand Hall at the back of the building was added around 1950. With its lighted stained glass over the head chairs, its seats around the walls and the presence of seating in the balcony, the Grand Hall is exactly that. Under the balcony is an atmospheric bar complete with Art Deco mirrors and mahogany paneling.
The empty retail space to the left of the entry housed the Newport Gambling Hall before the Elks purchased the building. On August 22, 1901, Sam Strong was shot to death by Grant Cumley, part owner of the Newport over a gambling debt dispute with Strong. Crumbly raised a shot-gun and fired, killing Strong. Strong died a few hours after the altercation. Crumbly was tried and found innocent. The presence of the Newport brings a completely different energy to the first floor of the building.
The building is well worth a tour for its Victorian architecture, its history and its quirky original construction and renovation. Like many buildings in Cripple Creek with their dramatic and sometimes violent past, the Elks Club has an ambiance of Victorian stability and a hint of the mysterious.