millionaires

Millionaires

Millionaires

        The years 1878 and 1879 marked the arrival of two more future millionaires.

        David May opened his auction house and clothing store, later buying out his biggest competitor. The company eventually became the nationwide May D&F.

        Charles Boettcher (at left) opened a thriving hardware business, later moving to Denver where he became one of its most successful businessmen and benefactors.

        Many other brilliant financial careers began in Leadville. The Guggenheims, Marshall Fields, W.B. Daniels, and James V. Dexter all got their starts in Leadville.

        Ice Palace

        A local legend, Leadville’s famous Ice Palace, was the brainchild of local businessmen who wanted to combat the economy’s downturn. During the winter of 1895-1896, they built an fantastical palace. Requiring 5,000 tons of ice to be cut from the nearby lakes, the Ice Palace featured life-sized sculptures of prospectors and burros, a skating rink and a “gallery of commerce” with frozen produce, beer, and more. A replica stands in the Heritage Museum.

        A Crystal Carnival, with parade and fireworks, lit up the town and the throngs who came in by train from Denver and around the country. The Ice Palace melted in the spring of 1896, a glorious end to a fascinating era.

        The Leadville Ski Joring and Crystal Carnival is still held the first weekend of March, honoring winter fun in North America’s highest city.