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Mining hall of fame will induct 7 in Leadville

Brief by Central Staff

Mining – September 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine

The National Mining Museum and Hall of Fame in Leadville will recognize seven industry figures at a ceremony on Sept. 8.

The event will begin with an open house and reception at 5 p.m., followed by a banquet and program at 7 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Duane A. Smith of Durango, a mining historian who has written more than 30 books (and an occasional contributor to this magazine).

Those attending are encouraged to wear Victorian attire. The event requires an invitation, but you can get one by calling Nancy Windholz at 719-486-1229 or emailing to:

Smith, who teaches history at Fort Lewis College, plans to talk about the accomplishments of Lucien L. Nunn, who put alternating current to work, first near Telluride and then at mines and homes throughout the world.

Of the seven Hall of Fame inductees, only one is still living: Steven R. Wallace of Lakewood, the geologist who discovered the molybdenum deposit at the Henderson Mine.

Spencer Penrose and Charles Tutt, two investors who put their Cripple Creek gold profits into the development of low-grade Utah copper deposits, will also be inducted. The Penrose legacy lives on in Colorado with the El Pomar Foundation.

Others to be inducted include Ralph H. Kress, who designed heavy-duty trucks; James J. Scott, who improved methods of supporting tunnels; Robert M. Smith, who led the expansion of Barrick Gold Corp; and Jesùs García, honored in Mexico as the Hero of Nacazari in 1907.

García was a locomotive engineer who moved trains between a copper mine at Pilares and a nearby concentrator. A train of mine supplies had been put together by a short-handed crew, so that two carloads of dynamite sat right behind the coal-burning locomotive — where sparks started it on fire.

When the fire was discovered, the train was next to a powder magazine with 100,000 pounds of dynamite in a residential area. García told the crew to jump, and he stayed aboard to drive the train out of town, with the idea that he’d jump, too, before the carload of dynamite exploded.

He didn’t make it — García and 12 others were killed by the explosion. But by getting the train out of town before it exploded, he saved hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives.