Leadville’s old mines on Colorado list of endangered places

Brief by Central Staff

History – September 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

The historic Leadville Mining District may be a cleaner place, thanks to all the millions of dollars of work the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has done in recent years, but it’s also an endangered one.

Colorado Preservation, Inc., which bills itself as “a statewide organization dedicated to promoting and advancing historic preservation in the State of Colorado,” just issued the “Colorado’s Most Endangered Places List,” selected from nominations submitted from citizens throughout the state.

The old mines east of Leadville ranked second, and got this explanation:

“The mining district of Leadville was where famous Coloradans like Meyer Guggenheim and Horace Tabor made their fortunes after silver was discovered in 1877. Nearly 120 years later, the EPA has decided that Leadville’s historic tailings and mining structures pose a public health threat. Many experts feel the EPA’s wholesale leveling of this historic mining landscape is not necessary and that the public’s health can be protected without obliterating Leadville’s history.”

Others on the list:

1) The gambling towns of Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek, which are suffering from large-scale casino development that jeopardizes their old buildings.

3) The Hispanic Cultural Landscape of the Purgatory Valley in Las Animas and Bent counties — adobe homes, plazas, and moradas threatened by growth and new developments, as well as deterioration.

4) The Preston Farm in Fort Collins — the last farm site in the city limits of what was once a farming town.

5) The Christian Science Church in Victor, originally built as a saloon in this old mining town.

6) The Lewis Mill above Telluride, which still has its machinery, but is near collapse.

7) The Toltec Hotel in Trinidad, the only surviving building downtown with its original terra cotta fa¸ade.

For more information, you can write to Colorado Preservation at 910 16th St, Suite 1100, Denver CO 80202, or call them at 303-893-4260.