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History of Spar City

The camp, laid out in the spring of 1892, was known as Fisher City, after one of the first discoverers of float in "the area, and also as Lime Creek. The mining district embraced three hills, and the best deposits were found at timberline in the Big Spar. Fairview and Headlight mines. A huge basin of ore was found, but the prospectors were unable to locate the "mother chimney" even though the ground was covered with boulders of spar and amethyst quartz, and assays at the grass roots ranged from 40 to 2500 ounces in silver to the ton.

By July, 1892, about three hundred people were in camp and as many more in the hills. Main street began to "assume business proportions, buildings going up solid on both sides of the thorough fare." There were the usual stores, saloons and restaurants, as well as a saw mill and lumber yard. A hack line ran between the camp and Creede, and the Creede Candle opened a newspaper office to publish the Spar City Spark.

In August. 1892, a band of Indians was reported camping and hunting not far from Lime Creek. The prospectors "and settlers" attitude toward Indians is clearly shown by the "great indignation" that "was felt, both at the unwarrantable wholesale slaughter of game and at the neglect of the Agentin allowing these red pests to be away from the reservation."

By February, 1893, Spar was lively, and had daily mail communication with the outside world. "It was even spoken of as "the coming camp outside Creede, all of which will be verified before the coming summer draws to a close." Then in June, when silver was demonetized and the panic came, Spar "flickered out," and its few remaining miners and their families were in actual want. In this emergency the people of Creede launched a novel plan for the relief of Spar City. The plan was explained in the July 21st issue of the Candle:

Spar is peopled by honest, industrious Americans out of work and out of money. They are proud but they must eat: Having nothing to exchange for bread and meat, they propose following the plan of the N. Y. bankers and issue clearing house certificates backed by their brawn and industry and offer them in exchange for flour.

The plan was then outlined. A beefwas to be butchered and sold to those who needed it, the "recipients promising to pay for same as soon as they can obtain employment."

Sam Hyde of Spar then wrote:

People living in agricultural regions or large cities may find it difficult to realize how a community of people in this land of plenty can be placed in such a frying position, but, while a community may have untold wealth at its doors, it is not directly of a nutritive character. A power beyond our control has made our mineral valueless for the time being, our women and children must be fed, and in short, . . . assistance is necessary. Meat and flour we must have. Creede Candle, July 21, 1893.

After the last few families moved away the camp dozed until about 1905, when a group of onehundred and fifty Kansans who "wanted to have good summer homes and to do a little mining" bought the townsite and remodeled the cabins fortheir own use.

We found the camp deserted except for the caretaker and his wife, who were closing the cabins for the winter. They pointed out the original meat market and thegrocery, the log jail with its barred windows and the saloon and dance hall where the "girls" lived the only two-story building in the place. They also told us that the Kansans who bought Spar were prohibitionists and that one of them, assigned to a large cabin with no partitions in it, found it contained a big pine bar and a poker table and that it had been the principal saloon of the camp! Some time later an old timer from Creede visited Spar, heard the story, and asked to see the bar.

"I remember it," he drawled, spitting tobacco juice accurately door. "It used to be in Creede. and Bob Ford who shot Jesse James was killed back of it. It was sold to a saloon keeper here in Spar, and what a hell of a time they had freighting it in."



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