BLACK HAWK HISTORY – MAIN STREET
“A sudden turn in the road discloses a view of Black Hawk, with its charming church perched above the town, on the extremity of the headland which separates Gregory Gulch from that of Clear Creek. We at once entered a busy, noisy, thickly populated region. The puff of steam, the dull thump of the stamp mills, and all the other sounds of machinery at work, filled the air; the road became a continuous street, with its hotels, stores, livery stables, and crowded dwelling houses.”
Bayard Taylor, Colorado: A Summer Trip, 1867
CITY OF MILLS
Clear Creek’s northern branch marked the entry into Black Hawk. The land along the creek as well as the ready access to abundant water encouraged the proliferation of milling operations, the building of roads and the railroad. Clearing, grading, and the maintenance of the early unpaved roads became the work of private businesses who charged a toll for the use of the road. The historic entry along Clear Creek into Black Hawk’s Main Street, paralleling Highway 119 (also known as Depot Road), is now home to a large concentration of gambling casinos. Many of the earlier community structures—the railroad depot and tracks, the Toll Gate Saloon, the neighborhood of homes and businesses clustered around the Lace House and the Gilpin Hotel as well as Clear Creek itself—no longer exist, or fortuitously have been moved to different locations.