Inspired Innovation at FREIGHT

Burro at Freight Leadville

FREIGHT, the fully restored 1884 Leadville depot, is host to a variety of public gatherings. In fall and close to the holidays, you can spend a Sunday afternoon at their community market to enjoy both the historic space and shopping.   Party Priestess Elsa Tharpe said, “FREIGHT has always been the “yes” place — meaning …

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Rehabilitation of Leadville’s Tabor Opera House

Article and photo by Kim Grant, Colorado Preservation, Inc. The long-sought rehabilitation of Leadville’s venerable Tabor Opera House is poised to move forward following significant success in fundraising efforts that will enable initial work on the west (front) and south facades next Spring (2020). The property is viewed as a catalyst for the revitalization of …

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Places: The Leadville Mineral Belt Trail

By Mike Rosso The Leadville Mineral Belt Trail (MBT) is a great example of a positive outcome from an EPA Superfund Site. The scenic, paved 11.6-mile loop trail winds safely through the city and the surrounding historic mining district. It was conceived of in 1994, a result of a community effort to help identify natural …

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Leadville Through the Eyes of Leslie’s Illustrated, 1879

By Jan MacKell Collins During the 1870s and beyond, people in the eastern half of America were eagerly reading about pioneer adventures in the West. Only handfuls of them actually knew somebody who dared to sell what they could, pack what remained into a wagon, and set out to begin a new life in a …

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Leadville Heritage Museum

By Sharon Galey The Heritage Museum, located at 102 East 9th Street in Leadville, has a focus on preserving and sharing Leadville’s history. Built in 1904, and primarily funded through a Carnegie grant, the building served as Leadville’s public library through the early ’70s. When the newer Lake County Public Library was built to serve …

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Following A Drop: One Man’s Mission to Trace the Arkansas River from Leadville to The Gulf of Mexico, Part 1

By Mike Rosso Hannes Zacharias is on a mission. But the 64-year-old resident of Lexana, Kansas is not on just any mission. He is currently in the process of “following a drop of water” from the headwaters of the Arkansas River in Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico. And why would he take on such …

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The Temple Israel Synagogue and Museum, Leadville, CO

By William Korn Leadville’s preeminence amongst the mining camps of the High Rockies attracted adventurers and opportunists from distant places including a significant population of Jews, many of whom were recent immigrants from western and central Europe. Predominantly arising from a culture of peddling and small shops, Jewish merchants became an important element in Leadville’s …

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Ulysses S. Grant in Central Colorado

Ulysses S. Grant in Leadville, Colorado, circa 1880. Courtesy of William Korn, Temple Israel Museum.

By Forrest Whitman

Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War hero and President from 1869 to 1877, is an often forgotten part of history in Central Colorado. Interest in President Grant is sure to peak now that Ron Chernow’s biography, Grant, is out. Chernow made Alexander Hamilton come to life for us and the hit Broadway musical followed. Could a musical be on the way for Grant?

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The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum

By Stephen L. Whittington

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) was founded in Leadville in 1987 and occupies the former high school building, built in 1899. In 1988, the U.S. Congress granted the NMHFM a Federal charter, which was signed by President Ronald Reagan. The NMHFM is an independent non-profit organization and does not receive financial support from the Federal government. Its mission is to “tell the story of mining, its people and its importance to the American public.” The NMHFM is dedicated to presenting an accurate picture of the mining industry, its critical impact on everyday life and its place in the Nation’s future.

Each year, a class of four or five individuals who have had a significant impact on American mining and mineral extraction is inducted into the Hall of Fame. The annual Induction Banquet rotates among various cities across the country. Currently, 240 inductees have their photos and biographies displayed in the Hall of Fame and on the NMHFM’s website.

The NMHFM continuously strives to increase interest in and awareness of the importance of mining through dynamic and educational exhibits and programs. The 25,000 square feet of enlightening and interactive exhibits about past, current and future mining practices include “The World of Molybdenum,” “Buried Sunlight: Coal Mining in America,” and “Expanding Boundaries: Harrison Schmitt and the New Mining Frontier,” as well as three walk-through mine replicas. Exhibits incorporate many videos and hands-on activities.

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Colorado Then & Now: Chapter VI. Leadville & Vicinity

Several early pioneers camp below Mount Princeton and Mount Antero. Photo by Joseph Collier, circa 1880.

Note: The following is an excerpt from the book, Colorado Then & Now by Grant Collier and his grandfather Joseph Collier.

“This mountain was named after the miners, after D. C. Collier, one of the editors and proprietors of the Register, in consideration of his eminent success as a prospector. The view is from the Perue Fork of the Snake River, which runs down through the willows in the foreground. It is from the direct front, looking down through one of the beautiful, sunny, grassy, parks, which constantly recur, and which, in their season, are covered with gorgeous foliage so peculiar to the western slope of the continent.” – Joseph Collier on an image of Collier Mountain

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Whither Pack-Burro Racing?

The sages tell us that everything is always changing, and in fact the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said that nothing endures but change itself. Thus is the case of Colorado’s indigenous sport of pack-burro racing.

It began back in 1949 with a race over Mosquito Pass to Fairplay. Nearly seven decades later I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps organizers should have stuck with this original format, or perhaps should consider going back to it. Then again, I may be jaded because I’ve been along for the adventure for more than half of those seven decades.

In the years since this first race, the sport has grown to include separate events in both Leadville and Fairplay, as well as shorter races in other towns including Buena Vista, Georgetown, Idaho Springs, Creede and Victor.

The original rules remain largely unchanged. Each burro must carry 33 pounds of gear on a regulation packsaddle (whatever “regulation” means) and the gear must include a pick, pan and shovel. The burro must be led or driven by means of a halter and lead rope no longer than 15 feet. Riding is not allowed.

Over the years some rules have been adjusted slightly to allow donkeys larger than 53 inches at the withers to compete, and also to allow mini-donkeys to be run without the weight requirement. 

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The Way We Really Were

By Virginia McConnell Simmons During the elections in 1892 and in 2016, the respective populism bore no resemblance one to the other. In Colorado in 1892, union organization – especially the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) – was growing rapidly, while mine owners were trying to increase the three-dollar-a-day, eight-hour work day to nine without …

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Jack Haverly’s Towns for Suckers

By Jan MacKell Collins

“Jack Haverly, Jack Haverly I wonder where you are. Are your fortunes cast with Sirius, or ‘neath some kindlier star?” – “Memories of Jack Haverly” by Eugene Field, the New York Times circa 1901

We all know certain people in our lives who never seem to hold onto their money, no matter how much they make. During the 1800s, Jack Haverly was just such a person.

Born Christopher Heverly in Pennsylvania in 1837, the budding capitalist first began working his way up in the world by selling peanuts and candy on passenger trains. He went on to work as a “baggage smasher” for the railroads and also as a tailor’s apprentice before finding where his heart truly belonged: the theatre.

Haverly’s first variety theatre, complete with a saloon, opened in Toledo, Ohio in 1864. As it turned out, Haverly made a great showman. His first performing troupe at the theatre, “Haverly’s Minstrels,” drew record crowds. A misspelling on a poster changed his last name, and he became known in entertainment circles as Jack Haverly.

Shortly after Haverly’s Minstrels debuted, Haverly acquired various partners and began taking his shows on the road. His travels took him across America and north to Canada. Along the way he married one of his showgirls, Sara Hechsinger of the famous Duval Sisters. When Sara died in 1867, he married her sister Eliza.

For over a decade, Haverly bought and sold numerous theaters and headed up an amazing thirteen performing troupes. He seldom had trouble finding investors, even as he became known as a compulsive gambler and speculator who sometimes threw his money away as quickly as he made it. He also had a bad habit of filing for bankruptcy, yet somehow always managed to stay afloat. Newspapers lost count of his failings and resurrections, but his friends never hesitated to loan him money when he needed it. They knew he would pay it back the next time fortune smiled upon him again.

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A True Champion

By Hal Walter

In my book, what really sets the greatest athletes apart from the really good ones is what they do off the field of play with the skills they developed through sports.

Recently, when I was asked to introduce my good friend Tom Sobal to the Leadville-Lake County Sports Hall of Fame, I began to research his athletic accomplishments in order to prepare a short speech. The thing most striking to me was how Tom’s community efforts were just as impressive as his achievements in running, pack-burro racing and snowshoeing.

Many years ago I wrote in Rocky Mountain Sports magazine that like many other explorers before him, Tom Sobal rolled into Leadville over Mosquito Pass. He pitched his tent in the highest valley in the Arkansas River drainage and he began prospecting.

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Leadville’s Light Rail

By Vince Matthews

One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Leadville was Colorado’s second most populous city and was being touted to become the State’s Capital. Indeed, the ridge on the north end of town is called Capitol Hill, and one of the old scenery flies in the Tabor Opera House depicts Colorado’s future Capitol as residing there. Great wealth was being accumulated by folks such as Guggenheim, Tabor, Routt, Chaffee and others. And they had a light rail bringing folks to and from the terminal to downtown. Denver finally caught up this April with the opening of its light rail from DIA to downtown!

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Queen, Witch or Saint: Who Was the Real Baby Doe?

By Craig Wagner

Leadville is home to one of the last legends of the Old West. Not a gunfighter or gambler but a tiny old woman who displayed extraordinary grit in the name of love and pride, and possibly madness. Her story has spawned books, movies and a famous opera.

Baby Doe Tabor’s scandalous affair and subsequent marriage to Horace Tabor has been well told. After Horace’s death, she returned to Leadville in 1901 at the age of 46. The 30 years she lived in a small cabin are more mysterious.

Her solitary life has drawn the attention of authors, researchers and paranormal detectives. But the elderly woman remains an enigma. Who was she? What kind of woman lives alone in a shack on the side of a mountain for thirty years? 

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Places … Mayflower Gulch

By Ericka Kastner

Some hikes are just worth repeating, and the trek to Mayflower Gulch in the Tenmile Range is absolutely an adventure to revisit time and again. In the summer, the basin is filled with wildflowers, and in the winter, Mayflower is a snowy wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels.

Mayflower Gulch is the site of the historic Boston Mine Camp, which had its heyday back in July of 1884, when a thick vein of gold was found in the Fletcher Mountain basin. Miners quickly realized the vein wasn’t pure, however, and the camp fizzled out. More than 130 years later, the well-preserved cabins are still partially intact and make for a fabulous winter nordic ski or snowshoe to the site, particularly under a full moon.

The old mining road to Mayflower Gulch is accessible approximately 16.5 miles north of Leadville on Hwy. 91. The pullout for parking is on the right side of the road coming from Leadville, and the lot is typically packed on weekends year-round, indicating the popularity of the hike. The best time to visit is early morning on a weekday in winter, where you’ll be more likely to have the route to yourself.

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Leadville: City in the Clouds

By Mike Rosso

Photo by Mike Rosso
Photo by Mike Rosso

It’s the highest incorporated city in North America. Towering nearby at 14,440 feet is Mount Elbert, the second-highest summit in the contiguous United States, after Mount Whitney. It is home to seven museums and a famous old opera house among its 70 city blocks of Victorian buildings.
Just for kicks, the residents haul tons of snow onto their main street in March in order to watch skiers – towed by horses – racing by. They also hold a St. Patrick’s “practice parade” in September. The outgoing mayor has an alligator skin adorning his office. Leadville also boasts the highest college campus in the U.S., as well as the highest golf course, brewery, Safeway store, tourist railroad, hospital, high school, Chinese restaurant, airport (at 9,934 feet), city hall, dog park, bank, police station, fish hatchery, library, newspaper, bike shop, antique store, and ironically, the highest legal marijuana dispensary in an incorporated U.S. city.
Historically, Leadville has a rich, colorful and extensive past – from its founding by Horace Tabor and August Meyer during the Colorado Silver Boom, to its current status as a tourist town, blue-collar town and bedroom community for employees of Summit County.

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Nothing Else Like It: Leadville Ski Joring

By Kathy Bedell

If truth be told, it all started at the old Ossman Ranch. That’s where Leadville Ski Joring officially got its humble beginnings in Lake County. For it was on that family ranch, just north of Leadville on Hwy. 91, where “Mugs” Ossman’s love of quarter horses met up with Tom Schroeder’s love of skiing really fast, and thus the sport of ski joring took hold in the highest city in North America.
It was 67 years ago, back in 1949, when the two good Leadville friends ventured over to Steamboat Springs’ Winter Carnival and witnessed for the first time the sport of ski joring: a horse-and-rider pulling a skier. It was like nothing they’d ever seen; the two couldn’t wait to bring the idea back to Leadville to be part of its annual winter celebration.

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Attempted Murder in the Mine

By Jeffrey Runyon

A dictionary defines what a thing is – say, a mountain. Art teaches what that mountain means.
This may be similar to what Oscar Wilde meant in his 1889 essay, The Decay of Lying, where he suggests, contrary to long-held belief, that art does not imitate life, life imitates art – that perhaps the universe has meaning that art teaches us to see.
I sometimes wonder how much his visit to Leadville in 1882 affected his philosophy, and I met an old man in Ireland who seemed to wonder, too.
In 2010 a handful of students from Colorado Mountain College’s Leadville Campus, where I teach creative writing, composition and literature, joined my study abroad program bound for Ireland to experience literature for a month. The literary spirit thrives in Ireland, especially during May and June, when there are many literary festivities. (Ireland even has holidays devoted to literature, like Bloomsday.) So, when we decided to attend a literary tour through the city (i.e. pubs where famous writers like Joyce and Yeats wrote), we joined a large group trying to hear the old tour guide, who barely scratched the five-foot mark and whose voice seemed weak with age.  

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When, Why, Where, How?

By Kathy Bedell If you are attending Leadville Ski Joring for the first time, you may have a few questions: When is the racing going to start? How does this all work? How can I find out who won? First of all, when Leadville Ski Joring started 67 years ago, its mission was to bring …

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“Need Food”

by Laurel McHargue “NEED FOOD,” read the cardboard sign held by a woman who appeared to be in her 70s. It’s hard to gauge the age of homeless people, as most do not age well. I was returning from a weekend conference in Denver and stopped by our local Safeway for a few things before …

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Book Reviews – The Railroads of Leadville, Colorado

SILVER RAILS: The Railroads of Leadville, Colorado By Christopher James Sierra Grande Press ISBN 978-0-9670867-2-6 Reviewed by Forrest Whitman This is the book I want for Christmas. I’ve read many books about railroads and railroading, but this one stands out. Many of these rail books have great pictures of a historical era or region. Others …

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Mine Spills Not That Rare

By Christopher Kolomitz

When the Gold King Mine blew out in southwestern Colorado above Silverton in early August, it sent millions of gallons of toxic sludge into the Animas River, turning the popular river orange and prompting closure of the waterway. 

The blowout reminded Central Colorado residents of two eerily similar incidents that fouled the Arkansas River in 1983 and 1985. The toxic discharges on the local river occurred in a period of time when the Environmental Protection Agency was beginning Superfund clean-up of old mines around Leadville. The culprit of both discharges was the Yak Tunnel, which was one of three constructed to drain mines in the district.

Leading up to Superfund designation, the years of inaction were becoming a public health emergency. Drainage ditches in Leadville neighborhoods were turned orange or red because of the heavy metals coming from the historical mines. Annual discharge from the Yak Tunnel was pumping 210 tons of heavy metals into California Gulch, which was then reaching the river, according to the EPA. 

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The Story of Uncle Bud

by Mike Rosso Nestled in the pines at 11,380 feet, a few miles east of the Continental Divide and just outside Leadville, sits Uncle Bud’s Hut, a true gem in the 10th Mountain Division hut system. Below lie the shimmering waters of Turquoise Lake, and across the valley stand two of Colorado’s mightiest peaks, Mount …

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Regional News Roundup

Election Results The yards signs are gone, the glossy mailers no longer clog our mailboxes, the robocalls have ceased (for now) and the results are in. In one of the most expensive races on record for a U.S. Senate seat, Republican Cory Gardner (with a leg up from The Denver Post) defeated Democratic incumbent Sen. …

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The Lake County War: Unanswered Questions

By Charles F. Price

One hundred and forty years ago this June, gunfire punctuated the predawn darkness at the base of Land’s Hill on the west side of what is now Hwy. 285 between Salida and Buena Vista. Shot twice from ambush, a homesteader named George Harrington fell dead. His wife, Helen Mary, pulled his body from the flames of a burning outbuilding.

The couple had been trying to extinguish a fire kindled by arsonists to lure them from their nearby dwelling house on Gas Creek, exposing them as targets against the glare of the flames. This murder in the early morning of June 17, 1874, witnessed by the couple’s infant daughter and Harrington’s visiting young sister, ignited the worst calamity in the history of Central Colorado, an event now known as the Lake County War. (The area of the conflict was then in Lake County but became a part of Chaffee County upon its creation in 1879.)

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Update: Vision of a Salida-to-Leadville Trail Along the Old Stage Road and Midland Railroad

By Alan Robinson

Readers of this magazine may recall the September 2008 article on “The Stage Road from Canon City to Leadville.” There I summarized the history of that 1870s passenger, mail and freight route, and 1880 construction of the long-abandoned Colorado Midland Railroad (CMRR) through Chaffee and Lake Counties. I also asked rhetorically if in today’s environment, where preservation of our area’s cultural heritage is increasingly recognized as important for both social and economic reasons, there might be an opportunity to develop a long-distance public heritage trail along those routes. The initial vision was to connect Buena Vista and southern Lake County with a slow-speed pathway of about 30 miles – some sections for vehicle travel, some for hikers, cyclists and horseback riders – which would celebrate the stories of those two routes, stimulate preservation of their deteriorating physical features, interpret their history to strengthen the public’s appreciation of their value, and in some cases, make sections now inaccessible open to public use.

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A St. Patrick’s Day Parade … in September

By C.C. White

Sometimes a town just needs a good excuse to party. Leadville – the self-proclaimed “Parade Capital of the U.S.” – certainly had yet another one this past September. Being too cold in March to formally observe St. Patrick’s Day, each September, at the halfway mark, the citizens hold what they call a “Practice Parade.”

Like the traditional holiday, it features police car escorts, candy-throwing children, dyed green dogs, revelers sporting green hair and sparkly hats, Irish dancers (“Last year, they were Scottish,” grumbled my friend Cecilia Ogasawara, who took Irish dancing lessons and knows the difference), and of course, a dynamite Irish band. There’s a delightful difference with this event, however: often, Leadville tourists have no idea what’s going on. “Why are you dressed up?” one of them curiously asked our group of seven, which included Cecilia’s sister, Mary Carey. “Why is Harrison Avenue getting blocked off?”

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A St. Patrick’s Day Parade … in September

By C. C. White

Sometimes a town just needs a good excuse to party. Leadville – the self-proclaimed “Parade Capital of the U.S.” – certainly had yet another one this past September. Being too cold in March to formally observe St. Patrick’s Day, each September, at the halfway mark, the citizens hold what they call a “Practice Parade.”

Like the traditional holiday, it features police car escorts, candy-throwing children, dyed green dogs, revelers sporting green hair and sparkly hats, Irish dancers (“Last year, they were Scottish,” grumbled my friend Cecilia Ogasawara, who took Irish dancing lessons and knows the difference), and of course, a dynamite Irish band. There’s a delightful difference with this event, however: often, Leadville tourists have no idea what’s going on. “Why are you dressed up?” one of them curiously asked our group of seven, which included Cecilia’s sister, Mary Carey. “Why is Harrison Avenue getting blocked off?”

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Walking in Ben’s Footsteps – Leadville’s Guggenheim Home

By Carolyn Coleman White

For nearly 30 years, the decaying building at 134 West 6th Street in Leadville, Colorado was a party place, its windows kicked out and graffiti sprayed on the walls. Neighborhood teens used to gather there, leaving beer cans, cigarette butts and other paraphernalia scattered on the once-glossy hardwood floors. During the 1950s and 60s, before it was abandoned, it was a boarding facility, with six apartments (outlines of the numbers can still be seen on certain doors) and two shared bathrooms, one upstairs and another down. “I made a baby in the bedroom right there,” claimed a frail, stooped great-grandmother named Lydia, who now lives across the street, as she pointed toward an upper left window. “My husband had a job at the Climax mine after we moved here from New Mexico. We liked the house, but when the baby came our rented space was just too small.”

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Former Colorado Ski Areas

Besides the ski areas mentioned in the previous articles, there are quite a few ghost ski areas around Colorado, including the area at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs which operated from 1959-91. Here is a list of others in our region whose glory days are long past.

COMO – Indian Mountain Ski Area. The area served residents of Fairplay and Colorado Springs and operated sporadically from 1972-88. The area was built by a property development company out of Denver which had hoped to develop housing in conjunction with the area. It had a vertical drop of 573 feet and included a ski school, one lift, two surface tows, a cafeteria, a lodge and a rental shop. Located south and east of the town of Como, it ultimately closed due to lack of snow.

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The Railroad Tunnel that Shut Down a U.S. Highway

Editor’s note: This article originally ran in the Leadville Herald-Democrat on July 18. Reprinted with permission.

The collapse of the old Denver & Rio Grande tunnel on U.S. 24 takes readers back to 1890 when the tunnel was first constructed.

According to, a website dedicated to preserving the history of the Western D&RG Railroad, the railroad line leading from Salida to Malta, just south of Leadville, was constructed as part of the narrow-gauge extension of the Royal Gorge Route in 1880.

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Restaurant Review

High Mountain Pies
114 West 4th Street
Leadville, Colorado

by Chris McGinnis

Tucked a bit out of the way in Leadville, High Mountain Pies pizzeria is housed in a bluebird-colored building about a half block off Harrison Avenue on West Fourth Street. It is a small yet comfortable, cute, family-friendly, homey place.

Ample servings of fresh, high-quality ingredients go into the offerings here. Most menu items are homemade. The result is consistently delicious, distinctive, flavorful pies, sandwiches and more.

The staff is engaging, friendly and happy to discuss their menu items to make a recommendation. The service is excellent.

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The Fading of a Legend: Doc Holliday in Leadville

By Charles F. Price

On July 17, 1882, nine days after a visit to Salida – described in the April and May 2009 issues of Colorado Central – John H. (“Doc”) Holliday pulled into the town’s division yards on a DR&G train from Pueblo, headed for the silver camp of Leadville. This time he didn’t get off.

Perhaps on his previous sojourn the Arkansas River burg just hadn’t offered the right inducements. The notorious gambler and gunman was a high roller and Leadville, even if past the apogee of its boom, still boasted the kinds of fast-paced action Holliday preferred. Later that day when he stepped off the train at Leadville’s four-gabled brick depot, Doc was at the summit of his fame, or infamy, seemingly in the pink of health and no doubt looking forward to fattening his bankroll at the camp’s several classy gambling parlors such as the Monarch, the Board of Trade, the Texas House and Mannie Hyman’s Saloon.

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Leadville’s Favorite Unsinkable Titanic Survivor

By Joyce B. Lohse

“It isn’t who you are, nor what you have, but what you are that counts. That was proved in the Titanic.” – Margaret Brown, The Denver Post, April 27, 1912.

Margaret Brown, wife of Leadville mining engineer “J. J.” Brown, was an outgoing woman with a lot to say on many subjects. If she had no audience, she would find one, or contact friends in the newspaper office. In today’s world, she probably would have been delighted with Facebook and Twitter. Print newspaper was the available media in the early 1900s, and she used it well. According to a Rocky Mountain News retrospective when she died in 1932, she stated that when she survived the Titanic disaster, “It was Brown luck. I’m the Unsinkable Mrs. J.J. Brown.”

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Surviving the Death March

By Laurel McHargue

Mainly because Nick, my eldest son and ROTC cadet, encouraged me to do it, I signed up – and actually did some training – for my first full marathon. In the summer of 2010 I completed two half marathons with no training, and that didn’t kill me. The idea of doing two in a row, however, made me think twice about the physical impact on my 52-year-old bones and so … grudgingly … I started “doing time” late December on a treadmill at our local gym. The race: The Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon in White Sands, New Mexico, March 27th, 2011.

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The House with the Eye

By Lynda LaRocca. Photo by Stephen M. Voynick.

Leadville has long been called “the museum capital of Colorado.” And now another museum has joined the half-dozen already chronicling the history of the frontier West’s wildest, richest silver camp.

This one’s a resurrected museum, actually. And “resurrected” is an appropriate word for a place watched over by the Eye of God.

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Hayden Ranch Today

Work continues on the ranch in the winter of 2011 under the watchful eye of Steve Harris, owner of Cloud City Builders and project manager for K.W. Construction and Restoration, Inc. in Leadville, the general contractor for Phases I, II and III. Phase I was completed in 2007, Phase II in 2010, and Phase III is currently in process. Crews are at the site working on the restoration all winter and into next spring.

A Master Plan for the Hayden Ranch project was completed earlier this year which includes the overall plan, the project background, existing condition of the land and the natural setting, a list of current contributing structures as well as evidence of past buildings, historic register designation and non-contributing structures, available infrastructure, land use restraints, and adaptive use: an Experiential Education Center.

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The Revival of the Hayden Ranch

By Michael Conlin

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Colorado Preservationist magazine and is reprinted by permission.

A Brief History of Leadville

In April of 1860, a small band of wizened prospectors, veterans of the 1849 California Gold Rush, stooped patiently over the bone chilling cold waters of a small tributary stream not far from the current day Hayden Ranch. Patiently they searched the swirling waters of their gold pans for the “color” that would surely bring them fortune.

The tedium was broken when one of the prospectors, Abe Lee, rose stiffly from the bed of the creek and exclaimed, “Boys, I just found all of California in this here pan!” With those words, the rush was on, and the legacy of one of Colorado’s richest and bawdiest mining camps was born.

Word of the rich strike spread like wildfire, and soon the sounds of picks and shovels striking the hard Rocky Mountain earth rang from every tributary in the basin. By July of 1860, over 8,000 miners and prospectors fanned out over the length and breadth of the Upper Arkansas River Valley, spilling over the mountain passes into the valleys of the Eagle, Gunnison, and Roaring Fork Rivers in search of precious metals.

Beginning as a crude assortment of mud-roofed cabins and tents, a community aptly named Oro City, Spanish for gold, sprang up seemingly overnight. Millions of dollars in placer gold were extracted from the glacial alluvium of gulches with names like California, Nugget and Stray Horse, but the color soon panned out, and many miners moved on to the next strike.

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About the Cover Artist: Gloria Jean Countryman

I have to confess that one of my favorite parts of putting out this magazine is coming up with the monthly cover art. As the first impression, I always try to find cover art that is eye-catching and unpredictable.

This issue has several articles about ranches and ranching, so I began to mentally visualize what would might work well on the cover – a winter ranch scene, somewhere in the mountains, preferably at twilight.

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A Blast from the Past: Leadville’s Hopemore Mine Tour

By Lynda LaRocca

If you really want to preserve the past, it helps to purchase part of it.

Just ask Bob Calder.

Calder owns the Hopemore Mine, which offers Leadville’s only guided walking tour of a hardrock or underground mine.

Located at an 11,560-foot elevation in the city’s historic mining district, the Hopemore began operations in 1908; it remained a working mine until about a decade ago.

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