11 Most Endangered Historic Places
Black Hawk & Central City
Year Listed: 1998
Location: Black Hawk & Central City, Colorado
In the 1850s, people flocked to these small Rocky Mountain settlements in search of gold. When the boom was over the towns went into decline, but they managed to retain many of their historic buildings as they slipped into decades of economic slumber. The wake-up call came in 1990, when Colorado voters legalized gambling to attract visitors and revive the towns' struggling economies. The first gambling establishments were small and installed in historic buildings, but the pace and scale of gambling-related development have increased dramatically in the past years. Officials in Central City recently approved a casino structure 12 stories high and 900 feet long, with a floor area 100 times larger than its historic neighbors. In Black Hawk and Central City, historic resources are increasingly viewed as liabilities rather than assets. Boom times are back, but the price of prosperity is the loss of irreplaceable remnants of Colorado's colorful mining history.