A LITTLE COLORADO HISTORY

A LITTLE COLORADO HISTORY by Dick Stata   Like many people of my generation, I grew up watching Westerns on TV. Even back in my teen years, I was an […]

A LITTLE COLORADO HISTORY by Dick Stata

 

Like many people of my generation, I grew up watching Westerns on TV. Even back in my teen years, I was an avid reader of Western fiction. So this old Rockhound wanted to see some of these old Mining Towns

Dick Stata

before they totally disappeared.

Mining in the Territory of Colorado started, with the Pikes Peak Gold Rush of 1857 over 100,00 Gold seekers flooded into the Easter Rockies, there were conflicts with the Ute Natives. At first they Placer mined in all the streams and rivers around the area that is now Denver. When the American Civil War started, most of the miners left to fight in that conflict, but by then most of placer gold was depleted. In 1867 Colorado became a State. Hard rock Gold mining started in Blackhawk and Central City. In the 1870’s. gold was discovered in an area called the Golden Triangle, Ouray, Silverton and Telluride. This Gold rich area in the San Juan Mountains, often called the Switzerland of the American west, this was an almost inexcessable area with 12 to 14 thousand foot, steep sided mountains, but mines were built, gold was extracted, railways built, history was made.

In 1877 Lead was discovered in Western Colorado and the town of Leadville was formed. In 1879 Silver was discovered around Leadville and the Colorado Silver boom started. With hard rock mining came disputes over mining claims and raising capital, hazardous working conditions, unions were formed, then came bitter labor strife, with numerous pitched battles, that required Army intervention and Martial Law. They estimate that 1700 miners died between 1870 and 1930. The largest amount do to accidents in the many coal mines that started up in the 1870’s, the Coal Miners labor battles lasted off and on until 1933

west of Denver, south of Blackhawk near Oh my God Highway

Gold was discovered in Cripple Creek and Victor in 1890, these two towns just 8 miles apart had the largest and wildest population in the state, over 20 thousand, miners, prospectors, families, saloon’s, it even had an opera house. and  two years later Gold was discovered in the towns  of Creed and Lake City. these all were wild mining towns back then with gambling and prostitution, gun fights and Boot hill cemeteries and boy did i ever like reading about those wild times.

Gold mine tour near Blackhawk

Those Western Cowboy and Outlaw adventures, I so loved reading about was really the main push for me to want to go collecting in Colorado. In 1991 Donna and I made our first of five trips to Colorado. If you want to see and hear more of this mountain wonderland we call Colorado, see you all at the June meeting.

Dick Stata is a long time member of our club, the Gem and Mineral Club of Scarborough.  He is an avid and experienced collector.  One of his favourite  collecting areas is the state of Colorado.  The June meeting will be held at the Knox United Church Meeting  Hall,2569 Midland Ave. in Scarborough  on Wednesday June  7th beginning at 8:00 pm.   Visitors and guests are welcome.  Come to our meeting and  get a taste of mining memorabilia.  You won’t be disappointed.