Mt. Pisgah Speaks Returns to Cripple Creek in Grand Style

Gold Camp Victorian Society Strives To Highlight the Town’s Rich History

Trevor Phipps

Not only is the city of Cripple Creek buzzing with high stakes gaming action, as players try to win the ultimate jackpot while frequenting local casinos,  the region is  filled with interesting stories from the past, and especially from the wild gold rush days.

History has still become a big focus for the city with its multi-varied museums and events focused around the Victorian era.

Every year, the Gold Camp Victorian Society holds their “Mount Pisgah Speaks” event to honor famous figures of the area. This year, the 23th annual cemetery event will return on Sept. 16 and Sept. 17.

The event features a historic walk through the famous Mt. Pisgah Cemetery in Cripple Creek. During the tour, significant figures from the city’s past come back alive to tell their tales.

Once again this year colorful characters from the city and surrounding areas will rise from their graves to tell their “riveting, hilarious and sometimes heart-wrenching stories.” Some of the characters include ones that most locals have heard of, while others represent more less-known figures who made a historic impact.

This year the local feature for the event will be the Rankin Family (Altman Oats and Lorenz). Other characters include famous saloon owner Johnnie Nolon who famously banished temperance crusader Carrie Nation from Cripple Creek forever.

The city’s most famous and beloved Madam Pearl DeVere, who once operated a brothel inside the city’s Red Light District, will also make an appearance. DeVere is the only Madam to be buried at the city’s Mt. Pisgah Cemetery.

Mabel Barbie Lee, who was Cripple Creek’s most beloved teacher, will also tell the story of her interesting life. In addition, the event will feature Digger O’Dell, who had a creative way of digging the graves at Mt. Pisgah.

The famous female doctor of the frontier, Doc Susie will also be in town for the weekend. The television show “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman” was loosely based on Doc Susie’s life.

Visitors will have the chance of hearing from the famous figures as well as some of the common folk that tell stories of what life was like working and living in the old gold camp. Tours leave the Cripple Creek District Museum parking lot (510 Bennett Avenue) in Cripple Creek every half hour.

The tours commence at 9:30 a.m. and run every half hour through 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and from 10:00 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $15 donation for adults and $8 donation for children.

No pets are allowed, but service animals are welcome. Free cookies, water, and coffee are offered at the “Cookie Tent” at the end of every tour.

Door prizes will also be given away randomly on the trolley bus on the way back to the District Museum. It is advised that those interested in attending get tickets early as this popular event usually sells out.

Tickets are available online at the club’s website: Unsold tickets for each tour will be available on the days of the event at the Gold Camp Victorian Society Mt. Pisgah Speaks check-in table in the parking lot of the Cripple Creek District Museum (510 Bennett Avenue) in Cripple Creek.

Victorian Society Hosts Other History-Related Events

The Gold Camp Victorian Society is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to preserving the history of the Cripple Creek-Victor Gold Camp region. The group holds several events during the year that help educate locals and tourists alike on the vast history of the city and beyond.

The organization works well with the city to put on events that help educate visitors on the region’s vast history. The non-profit has been around for 23 years and they pursue a number of worthy projects, such as  “living history, re-enactments and historical preservation.”

Every year they also do their “History Comes Alive” at the park next to the Cripple Creek City Hall. This year they put on this historical re-enactment event on August 26 and September 2.

The group also puts on a “Historical Trolley Tour” that will take place on the same dates as the “History Comes Alive” presentations and they leave from the Cripple Creek District Museum at 1 p.m.

They organization also hosts other popular activities, such as a Victorian Tea and Victorian Ball. Another one of the missions of the society is to help with improvements at the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery.

“The non-profit started in 1999 with 20 members,” said Gold Camp Victorian Society Member Kathi Pilger. “It now has a membership of around 80. But, we would like to have new members join.”

To join the organization or donate to it visit