KKK: A Dark Chapter from Golden History

Originally published June 11, 2018

Ku Klux Klan in Golden Colorado

I give a lot of Golden history lectures. One topic that always fascinates people is the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK was originally formed in the south, right after the Civil War, but faded away in a few years. In the mid-19-teens, a large scale revival of the Klan began, inspired by the movie “The Birth of a Nation.” That film showed a re-imagined, shockingly racist version of the south during Reconstruction, and depicted the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan as heroes.

This second generation Klan spread quickly throughout the U.S., including Colorado. Their tenets were pro-white Protestant and anti- anything else. They marketed themselves as a pro-morality social club and were known for burning crosses and hiding their identities beneath robes and hoods. This second Klan reached its height of popularity in the mid-1920s and crumbled by the early 1930s.

I wanted to learn more about the Klan in Golden, so I spent yesterday going through the online Colorado Transcripts and searching for the words “klux” and “klan.” Here’s what I learned:

The Klan chapters throughout the Denver metro area held their gatherings on Castle Rock, above Golden. They drove out to Golden on “the cement road” (Colfax). The automobiles would be stopped by robed and hooded Klansmen on horses and their identities checked before they were allowed to proceed up South Table Mountain towards Castle Rock. During their meetings, they burned crosses which, according to the Transcript, were at least 50 feet high and could be seen for miles around. The Transcripts dated 4/20/22, 9/27/23, and 10/23/23 describe the meetings.

They made very public donations to what they considered worthy causes. In 1923 and 1924, the Transcript told of hooded Klansmen visiting the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist churches in Golden and donating money or, in one case, a rug that the church needed. In 1925 they contributed an American flag and a fifty-foot flagpole to the City, and installed it at the intersection of 12th and Washington. In 1926, the ladies of the KKK donated $145 to the school board for playground equipment for Golden’s schools.

Castle Rock Resort burns in 1927 - Golden Colorado

In 1927, the old dance hall on Castle Rock, which had been used as a meeting place for the KKK, burned down. The Klan was beginning to die out by that time as its highest-ranking officers were indicted for embezzlement. A few attempts were made to revive the Klan during the 1930s, but for the most part it stayed dormant until the 1950s, when it was revived in the south, in response to the Civil Rights movement.

The Golden Transcript (originally called the Colorado Transcript) has been publishing since 1866. The Golden History Museum has been working on digitizing the old issues, and they’re currently up to June of 1948. You’ll find old Transcripts online at  You can contribute to the cost of the digitizing project with a donation to the Golden History Museum.

Return to Random Finds from the Golden Transcript.