As visitors approach this location, they are immediately greeted by a hulking, bronzed statue of the “Manassa Mauler” himself, heavyweight boxer Jack Dempsey.
Beyond the statue is the one-room house where William Harrison Dempsey was born in 1895 and raised in Manassa, Colorado. One of several children, Dempsey was determined to do something with his life. As he grew in size and stature, he found himself using his fists to earn a living. He lived a fast and dangerous life jumping on trains to go fight prize matches in dark saloons with desperate men from the area’s mines.
Taking the pseudonym, “Jack Dempsey,” he fought his way across the west, slowly earning notoriety until he got his big break on July 4, 1919. That day he fought and defeated the boxing world champion, Jess Willard. A storied career followed thereafter.
His childhood home has been turned into a museum and is packed with memorabilia from Dempsey’s life and career. Covering the walls are well-labeled photos of him rubbing elbows with United States presidents, Hollywood starlets, and other boxing notables. Throughout the room are other artifacts from his life, including the gloves he wore during the fight which became boxing’s first million-dollar gate.
The small museum provides an amazing visual journey of a man who fought his way out of a tiny, dust-covered Colorado town to worldwide prominence.
Know Before You Go
The museum does not have an entry fee, but has small merchandise for sale.