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To learn more about what makes Leadville tick, explore the fine collection of Leadville memorabilia at the Heritage Museum.
Leadville Ice Palace
Did you know that in 1896, Leadville built a five-acre ice palace, complete with 90’ high ice towers with turrets, life-sized sculptures of prospectors and burros, an ice skating rink, and a “gallery of commerce” with frozen produce, beer and more? Marvel over a scale replica of Leadville’s famous Ice Palace, named the world’s largest, at the Heritage Museum. Sadly, the palace made from 5,000 tons of ice melted a few weeks after it opened, but Leadville still celebrates Leadville Ski Joring and Crystal Carnival the first weekend of every March.
Fathers of Colorado Skiing
Skiers and history buffs will appreciate the photographs and mementos of the fathers of modern-day Colorado skiing, the 10th Mountain Division soldiers who trained at Camp Hale and Ski Cooper during World War II. They become international heroes for breaking through German defenses and capturing Riva Ridge in Italy’s mountains in 1945, allowing Allied forces to advance into Europe.
After the war, some of the 10th Mountain ski troopers returned to Colorado and created Ski Cooper and Vail ski resorts. A 10th Mountain veteran also established the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association and Colorado’s system of backcountry huts beloved by Nordic skiers, snowshoers, and hikers.
In addition, the Heritage Museum can give you a sense of style from the silver boom days with Victorian furniture, mining and boomtown artifacts. Fittingly, the Heritage Museum is in Leadville’s first library. This stately brick building at the north end of Harrison Avenue opened in 1904. Steel tycoon and philanthropist Dr. Andrew Carnegie donated funds to build this library and bring the wealth of books to this remote mining town.