Jews migrated to the West and to Leadville, Colorado for many of the same reasons other people did—to improve their social and economic status, to find adventure, and to reinvent themselves, among other reasons. During the California Gold Rush of the 1850s, many Jewish merchants rose to social and economic prominence.
Once gold was discovered in the early 1860s in California Gulch and later silver discovered in what would become Leadville, the mining economy exploded and the population grew to approximately 30,000 residents, of which about 300 were Jews. By the late 1870s, an influx of migrants flooded the small mountain town. People from a variety of backgrounds, mostly from Europe, made Leadville their home.
Patterns for establishing communal and financial stability was found in many Old West towns of the 1800s. Typically, one family member went ahead to a small town to initiate a business outpost. Later, cousins, brothers, and other male relatives would join them to help run the business.