This information is just a launching pad of a few resources to connect to other sources. If you have any suggestions of relevant sites we should add, please refer to our Contact Us page to submit a suggestion.
The town of Leadville sprang from the nascent mining industry’s dashed and renewed hopes. Gold was discovered in California Gulch in 1859, south of Leadville’s current site, during the Pike’s Peak gold rush. Around 5,000 prospectors lived in the settlement of Oro City, founded in 1860. The brief gold boom sputtered out due to the heavy black sand choking the mines.
In 1878, metallurgist Avlinius Woods and partner William Stevens discovered that the black sand was actually cerussite (lead carbonate: PbCO3), which had a high silver content. Subsequent digs in the mining camp, then called Slabtown, struck major lodes of silver deposits. Slabtown changed its name to Leadville in 1877.
By 1880, Leadville boasted the largest and richest silver strikes in Colorado and grew to a population of over 24,000 people.
- Blair, Edward. Leadville: Colorado's Magic City. Boulder: Fred Pruitt Books, 1980.
- Griswold, Don L. and Jean Harvey Griswold. History of Leadville and Lake County, Colorado. [2 volumes] Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 1996.
- Buys, Christian J. A Quick History of Leadville. Lake City, Colorado: Western Reflections Publishing Company, 2011.