Creede’s Under Ground Mining Musem

Sidebar by Marcia Darnell

Mining – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Mining a New Life

Chuck Fairchild is a fourth-generation Creede miner. His greatgrandfather, Charles Fairchild, came to Creede when the boom began, in 1892 and stayed eight years.

The next three generations of Fairchild men lived and mined in Creede until Chuck’s last job in the 1980s. Chuck’s own children are 15, 13 and 11.

“I’m gonna let’`em become bank robbers,” he says. “We’re gonna quit this up-and-down mining business. Either you’re making a lot of money or you’re not working at all.”

Fairchild has been the director of the Creede Underground Mining Museum since it opened in 1992 and has discovered he has a talent for administration and public relations. It was a surprise.

“If you’d asked me to do this 20 years ago I’d have told you to go to hell,” he says, while adding that he enjoys the work now.

His new career crept up on him. As he and two other examiners were digging the museum out, tourists stopped at the work site and asked questions. Answering those questions led to giving short tours, which led to his being named director when the museum opened.

“I kind’ve walked into it pretty slow,” he says. Fairchild has no plans for another change in life any time soon.

“I like it,” he says. “My roots are here.” No doubt those roots extend deep underground.

–MD