In 1860, gold was discovered, but, the gold rush was short lived. Then in 1877 lead was found that contained a high amount of silver. That was the beginning of the town population of Leadville increasing to 40,000.
When the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1893 came about, the fortunes of Leadville dwindled drastically. After that there was another discovery of gold, but again, that only lasted for a short time.
While World War II was going on, the nearby Climax mine was producing about 75% of the world’s demand for molybdenum. When the mine was closed in the 1980s, this brought a devastating blow to the community.
In Leadville today, you will find a seventy square block area of Victorian Age architecture known as the Historic Landmark District. Adjacent to that is the twenty square mile area of the old mining district.
While you are in Leadville these days, you should take the time to:
* Visit the unique gift shops
* Visit the Leadville National Fish Hatchery - now 104 years old
* Visit the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum
* Visit the highest railroad line in the west
* Learn the legends of the Ute Indians
* Visit the Healy House & Dexter Cabin State Museum
This list is just for starters
If you choose to stay in Leadville just for the day or for a few days, you will have access to the following activities from there.
* Riding horses
* Climbing rocks
* Skiing, just to name a few
In Leadville you will also have an opportunity to golf in the highest nine hole golf course in the United States.
Leadville has also had its share of famous residents and visitors.
* The Younger gang lived in Leadville
* Doc Holiday’s final shoot out was there
* The Earps and Bat Masterson also visited there
* The famous Horace and Baby Doe Tabor had their rise and fall from riches here.
In 1916 there was a review done by the “Olden Times in Colorado”, which went something like this. “This grand and glorious city from the past still continues to awe visitors with its magical powers.” That quote still holds true today, seventy years later. Where else can you begin to find more fresh, crisp air than 10,400 above ground level.
Even though the town of Leadville has had its mines closed down now for a while, the community is not willing to give up. They are working hard to make up for lost incomes by encouraging tourism to this proud and historical town. If you are lucky enough to be one of those tourists, you will not regret your decision to go there. You may just go away with some knowledge, gifts, experiences, and most important of all, more friends. Have a great visit.