Placeness

Sense of Individual Identity

Many people in Cripple Creek, me included were not born here, or in Colorado at all. In fact, a majority of the people in neighborhood just outside of downtown Cripple Creek are not from here and have moved here within the last few years. Going downtown and walking the downtown streets, you really see a lot of tourists, shopping gambling or eating at the restaurants available. I am new here, have been here just over a year now, so I cannot comment on any personal sense of identity since I am still getting to know people and the area in the community on a personal level. However, I do know that the many events not only create a sense of community but it also creates a sense of individual identity.

Sense of Community

Despite there being a lack of individual identity here, there is not a lack of community. There is a huge sense of community here in Cripple Creek. There are many events from car shows, to christmas parades to craft fairs and more. Cripple Creek does not lack in its events that they have each year. During the summer there is a big event each year called the Cripple Creek donkey derby. There are also events in a town called Victor, Colorado that is only a few miles away and most people in Cripple Creek go to Victor events as well. While the two cities are separated with the gold mine in between them, the towns are basically joined and are the same community. Having these events helps create a sense of community, as well as the fact that we all live in a very small town, with a population of only about 1,200 people as of 2019, there is not much more than that now.

Sense of Past and Future

Cripple Creek is a town that is big on preserving the history of the town. The residents really do not want to change anything or make it “too modern”. They are building a new hotel and casino and have built two others in the past several years, but they insisted on creating these new buildings so that they look like they have always been there, a part of the past. They did a good job at creating these new buildings while still matching their look to the old style of the city, so not to make the city look modern. Cripple Creek will most likely be preserved for many years to come, not allowing any new or modern buildings or amenities to take over. The residents also do not want a modern grocery store, although it would be very helpful and would help the economy of the city grow, it will likely not happen, at least not anytime soon. If there is any new buildings built other than the current casino being built, the buildings will most likely not be too tall so that it won’t block the mountain views anymore than it already has, and it will be built to match the style and “blend in” with the other buildings in the town. In 1991, buildings in Cripple Creek began to be restored, but they did so in a way to preserve them and their look without damaging them too much or changing their look.

Sense of Being at Home

Personally, Cripple Creek is home for me and there are quite a few factors that make it home. Sense of community is a big reason as to why I think of Cripple Creek as home, along with the fact that home is where family is to me. However, Cripple Creek overall lacks a sense of being at home for most people, including me at times. Cripple Creek is mainly a tourist town, bringing in people from all over the country and even all over the world. Most of the people and things to do here are only here in the warmer, summer months. In the winter and even early spring, there is really nothing to do and overall the city loses a lot of activity. In the winter months, the town really starts to feel like the 1,200 resident town it is, sometimes even smaller. In the summer months the city is bustling and often has a lot going on from events to gold mine tours and more. The city gets really quiet and it seems like nobody really lives here most of the time during the winter and early spring months especially. In the summer the city is almost always full of people, creating more of a sense of home. It is hard for there to be any sense of being at home when nobody is ever around in the winter months, it’s like a ghost town at times. Also, the fact that we have to drive at least an hour away just to go to a store like Walmart or Safeway, or to get our medicines at the pharmacy, it feels more and more like towns like Woodland Park and Cañon City, Colorado are home and we have a bigger sense of being at home when there instead of here at our actual home. We spend so much time in the other cities that it feels less like Cripple Creek is home sometimes.