Temple Israel
About Leadville

The information on this page was made available to obtain some basic information about Leadville. Please refer to the links on this page for more information about Leadville itself and the resources available in the town.

Basic Facts of 21st Century Leadville

  • Named as "Leadville" in 1877
  • Incorporated on February 18, 1878
  • Leadville is in Lake County and is the main city in the county
  • Official elevation of 10,152
  • Originally known as California Gulch, Leadville is also called the Two Mile High City, Cloud City, and Pb (periodic symbol for lead).
  • Area of town: 1.1 sq mi (2.86 km²)
  • City population: 2,602 (2010 census)
  • In Mountain Time Zone
  • Is just east of the Continental Divide
  • Is just east of the Arkansas River headwaters
  • In the 1800s, Leadville was the second most populous town in Colorado. Denver was the most populous.
  • Leadville was once in the running to be the state capitol of Colorado
  • Coordinates: 39°15'00"N 106°17'30"W
  • Area code: 719
  • Zipcode: 80461
  • Summer high temperatures are rarely above 80°F, and are usually in the 60s or 70s.
  • Average annual snowfall: over 200".

Harrison Avenue looking North from 3rd Street at sunset.

Harrison Avenue looking north from 3rd Street at sunset.

Photograph by RG de Stolfe, 2014.

Brief History of Leadville

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.

Read more about the history of Leadville.

Harrison Avenue from the 600 block looking south, 1920.

Harrison Avenue from the 600 block looking south, 1920.

Courtesy of the Lake County Public Library.

Recommended Book Sources about Leadville

  • 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.

Recommended Books about Jews in Colorado

  • Breck, Allen. The Centennial History of the Jews of Colorado, 1859-1959. Denver: The Hirschfeld Press, 1960.
  • Uchill, Ida. Pioneers, Peddlers, and Tsadikim. Denver, Colorado: Sage Books Publishing By Alan Swallow, 1957.
  • Goodstein, Phil H. Exploring Jewish Colorado. Denver, CO: Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, 1992.
  • Abrams, Jeanne E. Jewish Denver 1859-1940. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2007.
  • Abrams, Jeanne E. Jewish Women Pioneering The Frontier Trail: A History in the American West. New York, New York: New York University Press, 2006.
  • Abrams, J. Blazing the tuberculosis trail: the religio-ethnic role of four sanatoria in early Denver. Denver, Colorado: Colorado Historical Society Monograph Series, 1991.
  • Abrams, J., & Fitzharris, M. A place to heal: The history of National Jewish Medical and Research Center. Boulder, Colorado: Johnson Publishing, 1997.
  • Abrams, J. Dr. Charles David Spivak: A Jewish immigrant and the American tuberculosis movement. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, 2009.
  • Abrams, J. A pioneer legacy: Highlights of Colorado's Jewish past. In Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society & Ira M. Beck Memorial Archives, A Colorado Jewish Family Album, 1859 - 1992, (pp.5-20), Denver : Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society and the Ira M. Beck Memorial Archives, Center for Judaic Studies, University of Denver, 1992.
  • Rischin, Moses and John Livingston. Jews of the American West. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press, 1991.
  • Carvalho, Solomon Nunes. Incidents of travel and adventure in the far West; with Col. Frémont's last expedition across the Rocky Mountains: including three months' residence in Utah, and a perilous trip across the great American desert to the Pacific. New York: Derby & Jackson, 1857.
  • Rochlin, Harriet, and Fred Rochlin. Pioneer Jews: A New Life in the Far West. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, Massachusetts, 1984.
  • Kahn, Ava F. Jewish Life in the American West. Heyday, 2004.
  • Radin, Edwin. Jews Who Helped Settle the Wild West. Proving Press: Hanover, Ohio, 2020.
  • Wishner, Maynard I. Jews Among the Indians.

Temple Israel Foundation
208 West 8th Street
Leadville, Colorado 80461

Temple Israel Museum
201 West 4th Street
Leadville, Colorado 80461

Hebrew Cemetery
SW Corner of Evergreen Cemetery
North end of James Street, Leadville
Contact Us