Timeline of Leadville History     Leadville History 1878 - 1893    
Leadville History 1895 - Today     Frequently Asked Questions about Mining    
Camp Hale and the 10th Mountain Division

Leadville has played an important role in Colorado history for more than 150 years. Leadville's mining history began in 1860 with the discovery of gold south of town, which made 2010 the 150th anniversary of the Gold Rush.

Roughly 8,000 prospectors arrived in "Oro City," their name for the makeshift town of tents and cabins. During the next five years, more than $4 million worth of gold was discovered Leadville miners in the late 19th centuryusing sluice and pan — more than at any other Colorado site. Within five years, however, the gold was playing out. The next boom would be silver. By 1880, Leadville had more than 30,000 residents, innumerable stores, hotels, boarding houses and, of course, more than 100 saloons, dance halls, gambling joints and brothels. By the late 1880s, the Colorado and Southern High Line, a narrow gauge railroad, was working the mineral belt.

Along with the rough life of the town, an upper class developed alongside the silver boom. Horace Tabor, who owned a general mercantile store with his wife Augusta, invested in mining with incredible success. Making millions from silver mining, he built and opened the famous Opera House in 1879, as well as the Bank of Leadville and the Tabor Grand Hotel. Along the way, he infamously left his wife and married the young "Baby Doe." He rose from local to state to national political figure, built a mansion in Denver, Colorado, and lived a very wealthy lifestyle.

His Tabor Opera House presented an astounding variety of talent. The world-famous magician Harry Houdini, John Philip Sousa, the British wit Oscar Wilde, the great actress Sarah Bernhardt and many wonderful operatic performers "trod the boards" of The Tabor during its heyday.

Next: Continue reading about Leadville's Colorado history.

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