Leadville (pronounced "led" as in the metal lead, not "leed" as in "lead a horse to water",) made its fortune in silver, which was mined in a heavy carbonate of lead. Because there were lots of "silver" named towns at the time, the founding fathers suggested Leadville. Other names originally considered included Carbonate, Cerrusite, and Meyer (after a prominent citizen). A short period after this, during a time when the name could have been changed, names suggested included Lead City, Agassiz, Harrison, and Carbonateville. Nicknames for Leadville include "The Magic City" and "The Cloud City", (at two miles high the city is sometimes in the clouds).
"There has been but one Leadville. Never will there be an other."
This 1916 quote from "Olden Times in Colorado" aptly describes this grand and glorious city from the past which continues to awe visitors with its magical appeal.
Self-described as quaint, and absolutely original, Leadville has been designated as a National Historic Landmark District. Seventy square blocks of Victorian architecture and the adjoining twenty square mile Leadville mining district - a fascinating graveyard of frontier mining - distinguish Leadville as having maintained its character without exploiting its treasures.
The main avenue includes over 50 significant 1870's buildings including the only two Tabor structures remaining in Colorado, the Tabor Opera House and the recently renovated, award-winning Tabor Grand Hotel.
One of America's last remaining authentic mining towns, Leadville's wealth of historical attractions range from the federally chartered National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum to the Healy House & Dexter Cabin State Museum, a three-story Victorian boarding house.
Once a city of near 30,000, many famous people got their start in Leadville including J.J. & Molly Brown, H.A.W. Tabor, Guggenheim, and Boettcher. Famous visitors include Doc Holliday, Buffalo Bill and Texas Jack.
Leadville is an excellent choice for an extended base of operation from which to explore Colorado, offering superior lodging, full-service camping, a vast array of dining choices and unique shopping. A variety of events and high country adventure exploration gratify a variety of different interests.
Recreational opportunities are plentiful in the vast mountains, streams and lakes. And, at altitudes that seldom drop below 9,000 feet, the Leadville area boasts exceptional scenery, crisp mountain air, and pleasant summer temperatures.
Opportunities for visitors to enjoy pure Colorado are boundless whether you are a thrill or antique seeker. A few of the many features of the area include: historic village and shops of Twin Lakes, the historic site Interlaken Hotel in the Leadville area, the once largest molybdenum mine in the world at Climax, the rich gulches which brought seekers of wealth and fame to the Rockies by the thousands, the legends of the Ute Indians, the highest railroad line in the West, the 104-year-old Leadville National Fish Hatchery, and the federally chartered National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum.
The Colorado Trail provides easy access to miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. The route traverses Lake County and provides access to the multi-cabin Tenth Mountain Division Ski Hut System. Secluded camping excursions in San Isabel National Forest is a favorite activity. Commercial camping is available in several areas.
Surrounded by Colorado's towering snow-capped mountain peaks, numerous mighty rivers wind their way down into warm and lush mountain valleys. Many of the nation's best rafting rivers have their headwaters here, and the state is considered by many to be the U.S. capitol of whitewater action.
Horseback riding, rock hounding, climbing Colorado's highest peaks, camping, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, exceptional cross-country skiing and a variety of other outdoor activities abound in the area.
The area provides direct access to miles of four-wheel drive, ATV and motorcycle roads as well as rental locations, tours and guide services. Leadville has the highest 9-hole golf course in the United States.