Leadville Colorado History

When gold was first discovered in the mid 1800s, it set off a rush of fortune
seekers to an isolated mining camp, nestled high in the Colorado Rockies,
at the headwaters of the Arkansas River. As these gold deposits were
exhausted, there was a new rush that would excite many. It seems the
heavy black sand that kept clogging up the sluice boxes and shaker tables
had a very high silver content.

For 30 years the silver pouring out of these mines surrounding Leadville
fueled an economy like no other. Many wealthy entrepreneurs got their start
in Leadville in the late 1800s. Then in 1893, disaster struck. The price of
silver plummeted after Congress repealed the Sherman Act. Many of the
surrounding mines either shut down, or reduced production, leaving the
town on hard times. This was the first of several economic hard times that
Leadville has suffered due to the waxing and waning of the mining industry.

Today, Leadville is a vibrant community that is proud of its past. Centered in
the highest concentration of mountains with peaks over 14,000 feet
(Fourteeners), Leadville boasts many achievements. It lies a little over an
hours drive from Denver, and there are 7 world class ski areas within an
hour of us. We also host many world renowned foot and bicycle races, and
are in close proximity to premier hunting, fishing, camping and now also
fine BBQ and brews.

Find out more about Leadville’s
colorful history with the
Heritage Guide! Available for $1
at the Leadville/Lake County
Chamber of Commerce and the
Herald Democrat.