John Henry “Doc” Holliday, a dentist with a reputation as a gambler and gunfighter, lived in Leadville from 1883 to 1887. His Leadville stay is one of the most infamous. It was marked by ill health, tuberculosis, and drinking. He is said to have been a patron of what is now the Silver Dollar Saloon.
Conflicting accounts of his story abound, but the records indicate that he shot and wounded Bill Allen in August 1884. Supposedly penniless, he was nonetheless released on a total bail of $8,000, which was raised by his wealthy friends, and in March 1885, he was acquitted and released. Allen was the last man on record shot by Holliday.
Texas Jack, Buffalo Bill, “Broken Nose” Scotty, Jesse James, and Tom Horn are all part of Leadville’s colorful past.
These wild west ruffians frequented Leadville’s State State (now West 2nd Street), then part of the notorious Red Light District. What is now Leadville’s Historic Pastime Bar & Cafe was built in 1878 and was known as the Atheneum Theatre, a dance hall and gambling saloon.