Leadville History

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Brief History of Leadville

Leadville gets its start actually with the founding of another town. Upon the Pike’s Peak gold rush, gold was discovered in 1859 in California Gulch, southeast of where Leadville currently exists. Quickly, the town of Oro City was established in 1860. The boom was short and the gold mining was dampened by heavy black sand. By the mid 1870s, the miners discovered that the heavy black sand was cerussite (Lead carbonate: PbCO3) that had a high content of silver. They discovered the source and found lodes of silver-lead deposits. The mining camp was initially called Slabtown, but later changed to Leadville. By 1880, Leadville had the largest and richest silver strikes and grew to a population of over 14,000 people.

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.

Temple Israel Foundation
208 West 8th Street
Leadville, Colorado 80461
303.709.7050

Temple Israel Museum
201 West 4th Street
Leadville, Colorado 80461
longled@longled.cnc.net

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