LEADVILLE MUSEUMS & TOURS
The history of Leadville is filled with dramatic stories of real people who made, and sometimes lost, fortunes in this frontier mountain town. Leadville is one of the most historic towns in all of Colorado, with eight museums, a mine tour, a walking tour and a driving tour to give you the opportunity to enjoy the area's rich history and Victorian architecture. If you have kids or grandkids, they'll love our word search and coloring pages!
National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum • 120 W. 9th St. • 719-486-1229
Housed in Leadville's old high school building, it is the showcase of American mining. Called "The Smithsonian of the West," visitors enjoy the detailed dioramas depicting the early days of mining, walk-through replicas of underground mines, a fabulous collection of minerals, and an exhibit of everyday things and how mining plays a role in their manufacture. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Mondays late November through early May).
This mine was at the heart of the Tabor fortune. Upon his death, Horace Tabor left the mine to his second wife, Baby Doe. She lost the mine in 1927 to satisfy her debts but remained living in an old cabin on the site. After a blizzard in 1935 some neighbors noticed that no smoke was coming out of the chimney and found the body of Baby Doe frozen on the floor. Open daily noon to 5 p.m., late May through late September.
The Tabor Opera House • 308 Harrison Ave. • 719-486-8409
Built in 1879 by Horace Tabor, the opera house was once billed as the finest theatre between St. Louis and San Francisco. Many famous people performed on its stage, including Harry Houdini, John Philip Sousa, Oscar Wilde and Anna Held. No expense was spared on the building and its furnishings. At the turn of the century there were 150 opera houses in Colorado; today there are eight. Museum open Fridays and Saturdays, July and August.
Healy House Museum • 912 Harrison Ave. • 719-486-0487
Discover two of Leadville's earliest houses for a glimpse of life in a booming silver-mining town. The Dexter Cabin and Healy House feature lavish Victorian furniture, including objects belonging to Horace and Augusta Tabor, with a beautiful Victorian garden. Knowledgeable staff can answer questions about Leadville yesterday and today. Open daily May 22 to Oct. 11, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Last guided tour at 3:45 p.m.
Heritage Museum • 102 E. 9th St. • 719-486-1878
Andrew Carnegie donated funds to Leadville for the establishment of its first library, which is now the home of the Heritage Museum. It houses Leadville memorabilia—Victorian furniture, mining and boomtown miscellany—along with a replica of the Ice Palace built in Leadville in 1896 and photographs and mementos of the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., May to October.
House with the Eye Museum • 127 W. 4th St. • 719-427-0895
Famed for its “eye,” the stained glass window tucked under an arched eave, this is an example of architectural whimsy popular in the late 1880s. Visitors can see how more prominent Leadvillites furnished their homes during the city’s turn-of-the-century heyday. Amidst Victorian furnishings are the original nooses from all of Leadville’s legal hangings. Open daily during the summer, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tabor Home • 116 East 5th St. • 719-486-7368
The home of Horace Tabor and his first wife, Augusta, was built around 1877 and moved from its original site on Harrison Ave. to its present location to make room for the Tabor Opera House. They lived in it until 1881, when Horace left Augusta for his mistress Baby Doe. Open May 31 to Labor Day, closed Thursdays and Fridays.
Temple Israel • 201 W. 4th St • 303-709-7050 or 719-486-3625
Built in 1884, this is the oldest of the area's frontier synagogues. This frontier synagogue served a surprisingly large and active Jewish community until about 1912. After a fire in 2006, the building was historically restored to near-original condition and now serves as a museum that documents life during that era for Jewish pioneers. Open daily May 15 to Oct. 15, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Guided Tours of Leadville
In addition to the self-guided Historical Walking Tour and Route of the Silver Kings, guided tours of Leadville and the surrounding area are available through The Delaware Hotel, Halfmoon Packing, the Hopemore Mine, Magic City Productions and Twin Lakes Interlaken Boat Tours. Learn more about guided tours in Leadville.
Historical Walking Tour (Self-guided)
Most of the buildings in Leadville were built between 1880 and 1905. There are 70 square blocks included in the National Historic Landmark District of Victorian architecture, including the largest opera house west of the Mississippi, the saloon visited by Oscar Wilde, and two historic 1879 churches. Maps available at the Visitor Center at 809 Harrison.
Route of the Silver Kings (Self-guided)
The Route of the Silver Kings leads visitors on a driving tour through the 20-square-mile historic mining district surrounding Leadville, Colorado. There are 12 stops on the tour, including mines, power plants, ghost towns and mining camps. Maps available at the Visitor Center at 809 Harrison.