Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cash Creek (Cache Creek) Then and Now

Cash Creek :: Western History  Link to photo taken by W. G. Chamberlain

The only known photo of the Cash Creek mining camp is the photo by W.G. Chamberlain between 1865 and 1875. Click on the link above to the digital photo in Denver Library's collection. Wilburn Christison, my great-great-grandfather, lived with his wife and six children at Cash Creek between 1861 and 1865 or so. He had a trading post with the Ute Indians and prospected and engaged in mining enterprises.

Today my husband figured out where W.G. Chamberlain took his photo by looking at the mountains. And I hiked to approximately the same spot and took a photo. The photos look at Cash Creek (Cache Creek) from the southwest hill. At the center of each photo is a road that curves. This is at the Granite Cemetery. The three trees in today's photo are near the cemetery.

The ditch, is what I believe is the Cash Creek Ditch, engineered by Henry Justice, who also supervised the digging in 1861 to bring the water from the Twin Lakes. Wilburn Christison was a shareholder in the project.

The terrain has changed quite a bit by natural erosion (I believe that is why the road isn't as prominent in today's photo) and by hydraulic mining where the gravel was washed away by hydraulic nozzles. As you can see, there is quite a change in the level where the trees are and the same level in Chamberlain's photo.

But, I was fascinated to see that the trail to walk down to the creek is about the same.

Here's a photo of Cache Creek from the west on an overlook on Lost Canyon Road. You can see the craters created by the hydraulic mining.

To learn more about early Cash Creek, look for Rush to the Rockies, a book of papers presented at the Pikes Peak Library District's Regional History Symposium and published by the Pikes Peak Library District.