In 1905–1906, Ester was the site of a mining camp that had three hotels, five saloons, and two general stores. After the richer areas had been mined, however, the population quickly dropped off and little is left of this early camp. Most of the buildings still standing date from the 1930s, when the Fairbanks Exploration Company set up a large camp on the site. The company used corrugated metal, a quick, inexpensive, and fireproof way to cover a building, and other similarly expedient materials, resulting in a utilitarian appearance. Working with a dredge and aided by water pumped over the Chena Ridge from the pump house on the Chena River, the company began mining operations in 1935–1936. In 1940 they brought in a second dredge, and that winter three hundred men were working the site. After closing temporarily during World War II, the camp continued operating until 1958. It is now run as the Cripple Creek Resort.
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