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Leadville & Twin Lakes, Colorado History
Leadville Area Time Line

Mining Put Us On The Map...
Victorian Charm & Mountain Adventure Keep Us There!

1860 1877 1878 1879 1880 1893 1896 1942 1993
Abe Lee
Discovers Gold
Silver Boom Begins Cloud City Tabor Opera House Opens
Inter Laken Hotel
Visiting Notables Bust of the Silver Kings Ice Palace Camp Hale Top of the Rockies


1860 ~ Abe Lee Discovers Gold...
... in the California Gulch. The "California Gold" found in his pan brought in prospectors by the thousands ready to find their fortunes. Learn more at The National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum. The only Federally Chartered mining museum in the country is a tribute to the industry that made Leadville a mining mecca and to the men and women who pioneered the discovery, development and processing of our Nation's natural resources.
Leadville, Colorado gold and silver rush boom town The National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum
[ Time Line Index ]

1877 ~ Silver Boom Begins...
... and fortunes were made by the likes of Horace Tabor, David May, J.J. Brown and his wife Margaret, the Guggenheims and the Boettcher family. Follow the Route of the Silver Kings, a self-guided driving tour of the mining district, to see the relics of the richest mining district of the American West. Leadville's past comes alive in the Earth Runs Silver, a multi-media presentation capturing the excitement and drama of Colorado's legendary mining camps. Boom Days, with its International Pack Burro Race, celebrates the area's rich mining history.
International Pack Burro Race Route of the Silver Kings
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1878 ~ Cloud City Organizes...
...and renames itself, Leadville, The Source Of Silver. Leadville has maintained its heritage and is designated as a National Historic Landmark District, preserving a quaint and absolutely original 70 square blocks of Victorian Architecture adjoining the 20 square mile Leadville mining district. Harrison Avenue, the city's main thoroughfare, boasts over 50 significant 19th century building, filled with charming shops, memorable restaurants, abundant accommodations and splendid museums. A motherlode of ambiance and Victorian charm.
Leadville, Colorado, yesterday Leadville, Colorado, today
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1879 ~ Tabor Opera House Opens
Once billed as the finest theater between St. Louis and San Francisco, the Tabor Opera House was built by one of Colorado's most recognizable figures, Horace Austin Warner Tabor. Many silver dollars were passed through the cashier's window to gain entrance to see great performers of the time, such as Harry Houdini, John Philip Sousa and Oscar Wilde.
Horace Austin Warner Tabor Tabor Opera House
[ Time Line Index ]

1879 ~ Inter Laken Hotel...
...and Twin Lakes came into existence near the foot of Mt. Elbert, about 23 miles southwest of Leadville. A popular summer resort was built, attracting the well-to-do with spectacular scenery and the state's largest glaciated lake. Inter Laken is now maintained by the U.S. Forest Service as a National Historic Site. Visitors continue to enjoy fishing and boating on the lakes and strolling through the streets of the Village of Twin Lakes, stopping for a bite to eat or drink, and staying overnight in comfortable accommodations.
Twin Lakes, Colorado Inter Laken Hotel
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1880 ~ Visiting Notables Include...
...Doc Holliday, Susan B. Anthony, Frank and Jesse James, Oscar Wilde and Buffalo Bill. While Leadville was shaped somewhat by the hardscrabble lot of miners living in and around the city, the wealth amassed was a magnet for all sorts, famous and infamous, arriving by foot, mule and finally train. The Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railway still follows the headwaters of the Arkansas River up to a spectacular view of Fremont Pass, then back down to French Gulch Water Tower, where the train stops to view Mount Elbert, Colorado's highest snowcapped peak, wildflowers and the scenic beauty of Colorado.
Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railway
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1893 ~ The Bust Of The Silver Kings
The repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act effectively wiped out much of the wealth enjoyed by so many, yet Leadville tenaciously clung to mining and discovered markets for other minerals in the area. The next boom arrived with the mining of molybdenum in 1918. The Climax Mine, located just off the Scenic Byway, was once the largest underground molybdenum mine in the world.

1896 ~ Creation of the Leadville Ice Palace
To counter the effect of falling silver prices, local businessmen financed the building of the Leadville Ice Palace. The current Crystal Carnival celebration includes ski joring, snowmobile races, cross country skiing and snow shoeing events, an ice fishing derby, a parade and other fun family activities, weekends, January through March. The Heritage Museum features a model of the famous Leadville Ice Palace.
Leadville, Colorado Heritage Museum Leadville Ice Palace
[ Time Line Index ]

1942 ~ Camp Hale Becomes Home... the 10th Mountain Division. Ski Cooper was originally the training ground for the famed "Soldiers of the Summit" who fought valiantly in the Italian campaign and led the pursuit of the Germans toward Austria. Today Ski Cooper offers short lift lines, reasonable prices and abundant snow for skiers and snowboarders. The more ambitious can find thrills at Chicago Ridge, accessed by snowcat.
Camp Hale 10th Mountain Division Ski Cooper
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1993 ~ "Top Of The Rockies"
Scenic and Historic Byway is designated by Colorado. Leadville is the hub of this 76 mile route which offers some spectacular views of the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges.

1998 ~ US Secretary of Transportation distinguishes Top of Rockies Scenic Byway with National Scenic and Historic Byway Designation.
Top Of The Rockies National Scenic and Historic Byway