Legends swirl around the Matchless Mine, the place where one of Leadville’s most notorious silver kings, Horace Tabor, struck it rich and where his mistress-turned-wife died alone and penniless in 1935.
The Story of Baby Doe Tabor
Horace Tabor amassed great wealth almost overnight when he bought the Matchless Mine in 1879, which became one of the most productive silver mines of the era. Soon after, he started a scandal when he left his wife Augusta, a respected community leader, for the young, beautiful Elizabeth “Baby Doe” McCourt. Horace and Baby Doe married, with wedding invitations fashioned from solid silver, but their high-flying lifestyle was not to last. When silver prices crashed, their fortune vanished. He died in 1899, leaving Baby Doe and their two daughters destitute.
Today, you can see the original mining shaft and headframe used to pull Tabor’s extraordinary wealth from the ground and 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.
You can also tour a powder magazine, hoist house, and blacksmith shop at this site on the National Register of Historic Places. Gold panning lessons are given on site.
Open daily from Memorial Day weekend through late September. Call (719) 486-1229 to confirm tours after Labor Day.
- Self-Guided Tours: Open daily Noon – 4:45 p.m.
- Guided Tours: Guided tours leave at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. daily (reservations not required)
More on hours and admission.
The Matchless Mine is located 1.25 miles up East 7th St.