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Legend of the Tommyknockers

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Do you know what a "tommyknocker" is? No, it's not the restaurant on Miner Street in Idaho Springs! Good try though!

A tommyknocker is a creature that can be compared to that of the leprechauns. Back in the day, several miners believed there were little men standing about 2 feet tall with a disproportionately large head, long arms, wrinkled skin, and white whiskers. Some believed that these were mischievous, but most tommyknockers were believed to be friendly and even life-saving.


Tommyknockers could be helpful but some would play tricks on the miners, as legend goes. Miners would find their candles snuffed out or a shovel would go missing. But they would never be mean to the tommyknockers, as they were too afraid of what could happen. Superstitious much?

In the book, History of Clear Creek County: Tailings, Tracks, & Tommyknockers, there is a fascinating story about a miner saved by a tommyknocker on page 72. (Scroll to the bottom if you would like to read this for yourself!)


today, we have a fun activity for folks (yes, it's not just for kids!) which to find the 10 tommyknockers on their underground tour at the Phoenix Gold Mine!

All information in this post was derived from this wonderful book called History of Clear Creek County: Tailings, Tracks & Tommyknockers. Here is a link to Amazon to buy this beautiful and well-written book.

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