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Jimtown, Colorado - Childhood Home of Jack Dempsey

Jimtown, Colorado - Childhood Home of Jack Dempsey American History Geography Nineteenth Century Life Visual Arts

Creede, Colorado was originally known as "Jimtown."

According to Creede.com:

Prospectors and families alike abandoned the other camps and moved to the little town at the mouth of Willow Creek Canyon with its brick stores and electric streetlights.

Following the example of Telluride, which was the first electrified community in the world, the Creede miners installed their own electric system just one week before Cy Warman penned his literary legacy about there being no night in Creede.

The referenced work, about the hard-life town in which the future boxer Jack Dempsey lived as a child, includes this:

Here's a land where all are equal -
     Of high or lowly birth.
A land where men make millions,
     Dug from the dreary earth.
Here the meek and mild-eyed burro
     On mineral mountains feed -
It's day all day, in the day-time,
     And there is no night in Creede.

Creede, by Cy Warman, quoted in Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, by Sandra Dallas.

Dempsey didn't rise to fame, or make his millions, based on digging anything from "the dreary earth." He used his well-toned body to become one of the most-famous boxers of all time. He is the one who coined the phrase (once famously quoted by President Reagan):

Honey, I forgot to duck!

He is also remembered for delivering one of the worst beatings in boxing history when he defeated Jess Willard (then the defending champion) in front of an outdoor crowd in Toledo, Ohio on July 4, 1919.

This kind of brutal fighting would not be allowed during boxing's "modern era."

Among his many other injuries, sustained during this match, Willard sustained a broken jaw after absorbing one of Dempsey's powerful hooks. The battle, refereed by Ollie Pecord, lasted less than ten minutes.

Both men lived to old age (with Dempsey achieving the age of 87). He once said:

I was a pretty good fighter. But it was the writers who made me great.

In the case of his July 1919 fight—at Toledo's Bay View Park where the ringside temperature was 110° F when the fighters entered the ring—perhaps Dempsey should have included the announcer in his "made me great" observation.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5184stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Jul 21, 2019


Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Library of Congress.

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