The Matchless Mine will be temporarily closed until spring 2021 during a project to rehabilitate the No. 6 hoist house.
About the Rehabilitation
The project will rehabilitate and stabilize the No. 6 hoist house, an important Matchless Mine structure that is in danger of collapse. The hoist house contained the hoist that raised and lowered miners and ore in the No. 6 shaft at the mine. The weight of snow on the roof during more than a century of Leadville winters, lateral soil movement causing pressure on the walls, and wet conditions around the foundation have caused the building to sag and lean. Without rehabilitation, the building will not survive many more years.
The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) and HistoriCorps are partners in the rehabilitation project. The project is funded in part by a History Colorado State Historical Fund grant of $104,332 and a $29,000 grant from the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation on behalf of the Climax-Area Community Investment Fund, both awarded to the NMHFM in 2019.
The Story of Baby Doe Tabor
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.
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.
Take a Surface Tour and See Baby Doe’s Cabin
Experienced and enthusiastic guides will resume tours starting spring 2021. You can see the original mining shaft and headframe used to pull Tabor’s extraordinary wealth from the ground. Then tour the newspaper-lined shack where Baby Doe lived out her days, her feet wrapped in burlap to keep out the cold. Her body was found frozen in the cabin after a blizzard. You can also tour a powder magazine and the hoist house at this site on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Matchless Mine will reopen in spring 2021.
- Self-Guided Tours: $6
- Guided Tours: $12 for non-residents, with discounts available for seniors, students, and AAA members.
More on hours and admission.
The Matchless Mine is located 1.25 miles up East 7th St.
All visitors to the Matchless Mine are requested to maintain social distancing and wear a face covering, for everyone’s safety.