What is a Tommyknocker?
In the late 1800’s, miners immigrated to Colorado from Cornwall, England to work the Gold and Silver mines in Clear Creek County. They brought with them superstitions and tales of little elf-like beings who lived in the cracks and crevices of the mines. These little creatures, known as Tommyknockers, were rarely seen, but were often heard singing and working.
There were two types of Tommyknockers. The mischievous Tommyknockers dumped over the miner’s lunch pails, blew out their candles and lamps, and hid picks and shovels. Friendly Tommyknockers knock-knocked on the walls of the mines to show the miners where the richest ore veins could be found. That is the origin of their name. They were short in stature, standing only two feet tall, wore colorful shirts, and had wrinkled, kindly faces with large heads.
There are many tales of Tommyknockers saving the lives of miners. One such story tells about a miner who was trapped in a deep pool of water down in a mine shaft. From nowhere, a pair of hands shoved him from behind, up and out of the pool. Seconds later, a gigantic boulder fell exactly where the miner had been trapped.
Miners were never harsh with even the most mischievous Tommyknockers because they believed the creaking timbers, tapping on pipes, falling stones and misplaced equipment were warning signs from the Tommyknockers of impending danger. Many miners left tidbits of their lunch to encourage good fortune and safety brought about by the Tommyknockers.
Today, the legend continues with quality handcrafted lagers and ales, honoring the tales and superstitions of Tommyknockers in Clear Creek County.