6 History Tours to Take in Leadville, ColoradoApril 5, 2021
Leadville, Colorado, was one of the West’s wildest silver boomtowns in the late 1800s, and many reminders of its history can still be seen today. Check out these fascinating history tours in Leadville and nearby Twin Lakes, Colorado.
1) Downtown Museums
Plan a full day to explore Leadville’s many museums—all within walking distance of each other—and learn the area’s intriguing history.
- Healy House and Dexter Cabin – A lavishly restored Victorian home built by August Meyer for his bride and a plush 1870s log cabin built by James Dexter, Colorado’s first millionaire.
- National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum – Called “the Smithsonian of the Rockies,” this 25,000’ space lets you explore mining’s past, present, and future.
- Temple Israel – Learn about pioneer Jewish life in this frontier synagogue.
2) Matchless Mine Surface Tour
The love triangle of Horace, Augusta, and “Baby Doe” Tabor is a Colorado legend. So is the rags-to-riches-to-rags story of Horace and his second wife Baby Doe.
Come to Leadville and tour the Tabors’ Matchless Mine, which became one of Leadville’s most-productive silver mines ever. Look down the shaft of the mine that produced untold riches and stand inside the small one-room cabin where Baby Doe, later widowed and penniless, spent her last days.
Tours will be available in the summer of 2021.
3) Historic Tabor Opera House
Tour the Tabor Opera House, for a taste of the fine life during Colorado’s 1880s Silver Rush. Built in just 100 days by mining magnate Horace Tabor, this grand old opera house brought arts and culture to one of the West’s wildest boomtowns.
Luminaries such as Buffalo Bill, Oscar Wilde, and Anna Held appeared at the Tabor, as did a live circus with tigers. Today, you too can tread the boards where many a famous performer walked. Stand on the stage and peer out at the original red velvet seats. Look for the trap door that legend says was cut for magician Harry Houdini. Or sing a song to test the acoustics of this beautiful theater.
Beneath the stage, touch heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey’s boxing ropes, left after his fight at the Tabor. See the enormous bellows from the pump organ of famous American composer and conductor John Phillip Sousa. Then head upstairs to the grand ballroom, which exudes an elegant grace despite its need for renovation. Look through its tall windows to Colorado’s two highest peaks.
Tours will be held in the summer of 2021.
4) Leadville’s Scenic Train
On the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad, you’ll ride through untamed wilderness to the Continental Divide, tracing the old Denver, South Park & Pacific and Colorado & Southern lines. This journey is full of breath-taking panoramas across the Arkansas River Valley and humorous narratives about Leadville’s colorful past.
On this two- and one-half hour adventure through the untamed wilderness, you’ll learn the history of Leadville and its legendary former residents—the Unsinkable Molly Brown, the Tabors, the Guggenheims, and Doc Holliday.
Be sure to check out the special rides with BBQ, fall photo ops, and the Top of the Rockies Zip-line specials.
5) Evergreen Cemetery & Ghost Walking Tours
On guided walking tours in Leadville, you can discover the stories of early residents and of those whose spirits are said to still roam the city today. These tours lead you to the Paupers Field in Evergreen Cemetery and throughout downtown and the historic Delaware Hotel, where stories of energies abound.
6) Leadville’s East Side Mining District Safari Driving Tours
On weekends, get to know more about Leadville’s early residents and the East Side Mining District—in which many scratched out a hard living and others amassed untold wealth. Caravan-style driving tours through the mining district both show you historic mining structures and tell you the history of Leadville’s mines.