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.
Hoist House Rehabilitation
A recent project rehabilitated and stabilized the No. 6 hoist house. This important Matchless Mine structure was in danger of collapse after more than a century of Leadville winters. The hoist house contained the hoist that raised and lowered miners and ore in the No. 6 shaft at the mine. The History Colorado State Historical Fund and Freeport-McMoRan Foundation on behalf of the Climax-Area Community Investment Fund helped fund this important work.
Hours and Admission
Open Saturday, May 28 – September 2022.
Find more on hours and admission.
The Matchless Mine is located 1.25 miles up East 7th St.