The historic Hooper Homestead (Main House) was constructed in 1878 by Thomas Hooper. It is constructed entirely of brick. The brick was manufactured on the property by Thomas Hooper. This brick is now referred to as "Hooper Brick", which was used extensively to reconstruct Central City after the great fire of 1874.
Numerous century-old businesses and residences in use in Central City today are constructed of "Hooper Brick". Many of the Hooper Homestead's original features remain. All the outside walls are four courses (12 inches) thick providing an excellent insulation during both winter and summer. The house is a testimonial to the craftsmanship and ingenuity of those who pioneered and worked these hills generations ago.
Secluded among 60-foot tall blue spruce trees, the property is barely visible even from Hooper Street. However, it commands a magnificent view of the City, the surrounding mountains, and old mining areas. We are only a four-minute walk to downtown antique shopping, casinos, and opera house.
History of Central City
In 1859, John Gregory discovered "The Gregory Lode" in a gulch near Central City. Within two weeks, the gold rush was on and within two months the population grew to 10,000 people seeking their fortunes. William Byers, founder of the Rocky Mountain News, and some companions pitched their tents on open ground squarely in the center of the mining district. Thus, Central City was born and was soon the leading mining center in Colorado. It came to be known as "The Richest Square Mile on Earth". Gregory’s discovery is commemorated by a stone monument at the eastern end of the city.
Not everyone in Colorado struck it rich, but those who settled in Central City were never hard up for wild times. In 1861 alone, Central City recorded 217 fist fights, 97 revolver fights, 11 Bowie knife fights, and one dog fight. Amazingly, no one was killed.
Even the 1871 Republican Convention in Central City turned rowdy when the second floor of Washington Hall collapsed and deposited 200 (uninjured) men into the Recorder’s Office on the first floor.
In 1872, the Teller House Hotel was built and was said to be the finest hotel west of the Mississippi River. In 1873, President Ulysses S. Grant toured the west and came to visit his friend, Henry Teller (who became the first senator from Colorado and later, Secretary of the Interior under President Chester Arthur) and his new hotel. To impress the president, mine owners decided to lay 26 ingots of solid silver to make a path to the entrance to the Teller House so President Grant wouldn’t have to dirty his boots when he stepped from his carriage. Legend has it that Grant became angry when he saw the silver bars and walked up the boardwalk instead. At that time, Congress was debating whether gold or silver should back the dollar, and in no way would he show favoritism, Grant said.
In 1874, most of the buildings in Central City were destroyed by fire. The town was rebuilt, this time of brick and stone; most of these stand today.
The grand opening of the Opera House in 1878 started a tradition of community theatre, ranging from opera to vaudeville. Buffalo Bill performed there as well at P. T. Barnum’s circus. Over the years there have been many famous people who visited Central City. Many movies have been filmed here, including "The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox", and portions of the TV mini-series "Centennial" and "Dream West", as well as several Perry Mason episodes. Cowboy Tom Mix filmed several movies here also.
Marie Curie used to mine in an area south of the Glory Hole mine for her radium studies in Paris. Public health practitioner Dr. Florence Sabin lived in the mining camp and was the first female physician to graduate from John Hopkins University. Baby Doe Tabor, wife of the silver magnate Horace Tabor, once lived in Central City and Black Hawk.