Tarryall City & Hamilton: South Park’s First Gold Rush

FOR FOUR YEARS, 1859-62, the hotspot of mining activity in South Park was at Tarryall City and Hamilton, situated a half mile apart on opposite banks of Tarryall Creek, 2 miles north of present-day Como.  In the summer of 1859, a group of miners whose luck had run out at Gregory Diggings (Central City), including …

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Top 10 Worst Ghost Towns in Colorado: Part Two

By Jan MacKell Collins

Elkton – Boom and Bust

Named for the nearby Elkton Mine in 1894, this town in the world-famous Cripple Creek District once had a population of 2,500 people. All three railroads of the District once served Elkton, and a special siding was constructed for the sole purpose of transporting gold ore from the Elkton, the Cresson, and other big mines. In Elkton proper, streets of the community were laid out in tidy rows on the hillside, with miner’s cabins and small houses lining up next to one another. There was a school, plus several restaurants and shops, and a post office which opened in 1895. Being a family town, Elkton had only one saloon.

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There’s Still Gold In Them Thar Hills, But it May Be Fool’s Gold

By Martha Quillen

During the second week of November, most of my Facebook friends were posting glad tidings about both the national election results and Salida’s recent city council election. I should have been elated myself, since I voted for winner P.T. Wood. Wood struck me as well-informed, amiable and less partisan than his opponent, and I hoped he might inspire earnest discussion and cooperation.

But with that said? I’m not sure collaborative politics can work right now, because whether the subject is national or local, political discourse tends to be antagonistic and reduced to talking points and reflexive arguments.

I used to weigh in on whether I wanted trees planted or sidewalks repaired in Salida, but that was before accusations, counter accusations and perpetual charges of rudeness, misconduct and incompetence started dominating Salida’s public affairs. Six years ago, I routinely voted for council members and mayors, but in the last five years? I often skip that part of the ballot because local campaigning is so freighted with allegations and suppositions it would take a police investigation to sort it all out.

And I personally don’t feel comfortable even talking about, let alone deciding, whether assertions by Eileen Rogers are more or less valid than Jim LiVecchi’s claims that her assertions were libelous. It’s not that I don’t believe there are things worth fighting over, but I don’t think Salida’s procedural and line item budget issues are in that category.

On the other hand, however, I don’t actually think that’s what we are fighting about. All too often, modern issues are secondary, and sometimes totally insignificant, in comparison to the hostility displayed, likely because what citizens are really fighting about is who matters, which is downright wrong and un-American. But at this point, our political process has divided the whole country into a patchwork of conflicting peoples, and it has us battling over whether red or blue, black or white, rich or poor, Northern or Southern, Idahoan or Ohioan, administrative professionals or blue collar generalists should prevail.

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Victor: The End of the Road

By Mike Rosso

Victor, Colorado, is not on the way to anywhere else. To get there requires dedicated purpose.

Those arriving for the first time will discover a time capsule of a town, a place that seems left behind from the modern world, yet still occupied by a hearty citizenry, who seem to prefer living at the proverbial end of the road.

The discovery of gold in the region in 1890 led to the creation of Victor in 1891, the “City of Mines,” along with neighboring Cripple Creek. At its peak around the turn of the century, there were nearly 18,000 residents in Victor and it was once the fourth-largest city in Colorado, but after World War I, the town saw a steep decline due to a labor war, depleted ore and the exodus of miners. The 2010 census has the town at around 397 souls.

In 1985, Victor was designated a national historic district, which led to the arrival of tourists. In 1991 Colorado voters allowed for legalized gambling to occur in certain towns in Colorado and nearby Cripple Creek became one of them, but the residents of Victor opted out, which is one of the reasons the town has maintained its charm and not become an old West facade for casinos like its neighbor to the northwest. Many employees of Cripple Creek’s casinos call Victor home. The Cripple Creek and Victor Mine still operates near town and is the largest current producer of gold in Colorado.

Walking the streets of the town, one is struck by the historic architecture, some of it crumbling, and some in the process of restoration. There is no Starbucks here, but evidence of its mining past is everywhere, in and on the outskirts of town. 

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La Caverna del Oro (The Cave of Gold)

by Kathy Weiser-Alexander Long before the white man came to the United States, the legend of La Caverna del Oro, the Cave of Gold, was passed down from generation to generation by the Native Americans. When the Spanish explorers arrived in the 15th century, monks translated the legend and the storied gold was eagerly sought …

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Book Review – The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado

The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado, 1859-2009
By Duane A. Smith
Published in 2009 by University Press of Colorado
ISBN 978-0-87081-975-5
$26.95; vii+282 pages

Reviewed by Virginia McConnell Simmons

After chronicling nearly every facet of gold and silver mining in Colorado, from the Caribou camp to Horace Tabor and Baby Doe, Duane A. Smith has now concisely written the colorful story in The Trail of Gold and Silver. With this, his 50th published book, his friends might wonder whether The Trail of Gold and Silver is meant to be the swan song of our most prolific miner of Colorado’s mining history. Well, don’t bet the claim on it.

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