The legendary story of the Tabors–complete with a riches-to-rags tragedies and a love triangle–played out in Leadville, Colorado.
Horace Tabor, who owned a general mercantile store with his wife Augusta, invested in mining with incredible success. Horace amassed great wealth almost overnight in 1879 when he bought the Matchless Mine, which became one of the most productive silver mines of the era. Making millions from silver mining, he built and opened the famous Tabor Opera House in 1879, as well as the Bank of Leadville and the Tabor Grand Hotel. Augusta was an astute businesswoman and respected community leader, credited with helping make their businesses successful.
The scandal began when Horace left Augusta for the young, beautiful Elizabeth “Baby” Doe. Horace and Baby Doe had a lavish wedding, with invitations fashioned from solid silver. But their high-flying lifestyle was not to last.
Tabor rose from local to state to national political figure and built a mansion in Denver, Colorado. When silver prices crashed, however, his fortune vanished. He died in 1899, leaving Baby Doe and their two daughters destitute.
Today at the Matchless Mine, you can see the original mining shaft and headframe used to pull Tabor’s extraordinary wealth from the ground. You also can tour the newspaper-lined shack where Baby Doe lived out her days, her feet wrapped in burlap to keep out the cold, and where her body was found frozen after a blizzard.
To experience the lavish Tabor lifestyle, tour the Tabor Opera House or visit the Tabor Home.