Imperial Hotel Reservations
719-689-2561


Room 42 Collins King Bed Suite

2-room suite

$225

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 Dorothy Mackin said that "To relate in accurate detail the history of the Imperial Hotel would require months of sleuthing, but I have researched it sufficiently to come up with some likely and unlikely stories which I am pleased to pass on."

She tells in her book that . . . the first entry on the Abstract is dated March, 1884 and brings up the well-known names of Womack, R. M. and W. W., conveying the ground to E. T. Wells. The Womacks were owners of the Womack cattle ranch and it was the son Robert who first discovered traces of the gold in the Cripple Creek District. The property changed hands many times after that.

The names of Horace Bennett and Julius Myers (after whom the two principal streets of Cripple Creek are named) appear on a Warranty Deed dated December, 1891. Title passed to Spencer Penrose, early day financier and builder of the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, in April of 1894, followed by Charles Tutt, and finally Mrs. E. F. Collins in 1896.

While I could find no documentation of the construction, we can only assume from advertising and news items that it was this lady who first opened the COLLINS HOTEL, later followed by the NEW COLLINS and the NEW COLLINS ANNEX. Mysteries abound in tantalizing entries such as one in July of 1896, claiming a lien for "materials used in building to amount of$67.60," a Notice of Mechanic's Lien in the amount of $2209.50, also in 1896.

A later controversy surfaces in an article in the CRIPPLE CREEK TIMES: "J. M. Roseberry, a real estate dealer whose office is in the Collins House on Third Street, had trouble of his own yesterday morning. About ten o'clock 20 workmen marched into Mr. Roseberry's office and demanded payment for some work done on the excavating for a building on Third Street and in the construction of buildings under the supervision of Mr. Roseberry. Payment was refused as Mr. Roseberry contended that under the terms of his contract all work was to be finished before any checks were drawn. The crowd grew angry at this stage of affairs, and a small riot was impending, when Mr. Roseberry made a hasty exit." Mr. Roseberry lost no time in replying to such calumny.

A few days later the TIMES received his card: "A recent article in your paper stated that I had had trouble with my employees. Allow me to say that there was some unpleasantness a few days ago between my employees and myself. It grew out of a misunderstanding. In the excavation for a large brick building on Third Street, I awarded the contract to a man by the name of Willis. The work was to be completed for $200.00, however, when the work was finished, he gave the laborers orders on me to the amount of $300.00. I did not owe this and I felt as though it was a holdup. I stand ready to pay what I honestly contract for. J. M. Roseberry."

THE COLLINS drew favorable notice in a February I, 1897 article in the CRIPPLE CREEK TIMES: "THE COLLINS HOTEL is strictly first class and vies with the NATION AL in gilt-edged patronage. It is a three story brick located opposite the post office and has 36 rooms that include a sample room for commercial travelers. It is lighted by electricity -has steam heat and baths, while the cuisine would delight the most fastidious. Mrs. E. T. Collins is the owner of the COLLINS while Nat Young is the popular manager of the dining room."

One can only sketchily reconstruct the days of the COLLINS from its auspicious opening, through the heyday of the camp, when financiers, geologists and mining engineers from the east coast brought clients and investors in from all parts of the country. Here they wined and dined them, showed them the wonders of property after property in the district pouring out a golden bonanza. Newspapers of the period list guests from England, France and Wales. Society columns abound with guest lists of dinner parties, club groups and ladies luncheons at the Collins.

But the pleasant and prosperous days were numbered, for tragedy struck with the bloody labor strikes of 1903. On December 18, 1907, Mrs. Collins deeded the corner building at 3rd and Carr to the Y.M.C.A. of Colorado. Meantime, a new dining room had been opened on the ground floor of the annex. The hotel continued to operate there under the management of Mrs. M. E. Shoot. Ownership of the lower building had passed from the aforementioned J. M. Roseberry, building contractor, through several hands, until it was assumed as an investment by George and Ursula I.ong of Denver in late 1905.

Excerpts from Dorothy Mackin Book





123 N. Third St. POB 308

Ph: 719-689-2561

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