The 1994 Annual Conference of the Mining History Association (MHA) was incorporated into the Third International Mining History Conference and Symposium on the Preservation of Mining Sites held at the Green Center of the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, June 5-10, 1994. The campus of the School of Mines is located where Clear Creek breaks from its scenic Rocky Mountain canyon. Early prospectors followed the creek into the mountains where placer gold was found. The town of Golden and its colorful main street retain the look and feel of the Old West with a few modern updates. Housing accommodations for the approximately 300 conference attendees were at a number of hotels, motels, and inns in the Golden and Lakewood areas.
The conference/symposium program was comprehensive, covering mining history and preservation developments world-wide and well as Colorado’s rich mining heritage. Two receptions allowed friends and colleagues, old and new, to get acquainted and share information. The opening reception at the School of Mines celebrated the 500th birthday of Georgius Agricola (Georg Bauer, 1494-1555), author of “De re Metallica.” The second reception was held at the Colorado Historical Society Museum in downtown Denver and provided an opportunity for attendees to see its excellent exhibits.
Field trips visited Cripple Creek, Leadville, and the Clear Creek and Gilpin County mining towns of Central City, Black Hawk, Idaho Springs, Georgetown and Silver Plume. An optional post-conference trip to southwestern Colorado included Mesa Verde National Park, the historic mining areas of Silverton and Durango in the San Juan Mountains, and a ride on the scenic narrow gauge Durango and Silverton Railroad. Attendees with a bent for independent travel could explore the beautiful Rocky Mountains and visit many other famous mining places during their stay.
A Snapshot of Colorado Mining History
By most standards Colorado mining developed only very recently. It started with placer mining and a gold rush in the late 1850s, and matured into lode mining for a variety of metals during the 19th century. Much of this early mining was located in the Front Range Mineral Belt, the roughly 70 mile long, 15 mile wide mineralized area running from Jamestown to Breckenridge at elevations between 12,000-14,000 feet. Coal mining began in response to demand for smelter and railroad fuels. Molybdenum and Uranium mining put the state on the map during the 20th Century. Much has been done to advance the development of oil shale mining. Early gold, silver, and base metal mining put some big names on the world mining map, names like Central City, Leadville, Telluride, Creede, and Cripple Creek. The atomic and space age metals added Grand Junction, Uravan, and Climax to the list.
Colorado mining imported know-how from many other famous mining places around the world. Californians brought knowledge of Spanish methods for mining placer ground, Cornishmen taught us how to mine narrow veins at Caribou and Silver Plume, and we learned to smelt refractory ore from experts in Saxony, Germany, Swansea, Wales, and Austin and Eureka, Nevada. Despite being a newcomer, Colorado gave some things back to mining. Advances in mechanical rock drills were made in hard rock mines of Colorado. The Wilfley shaker table was invented in a place called Kokomo, Colorado.
Climax perfected block and panel caving methods that allowed that mine to become the largest underground mine in the world at one time. Colorado miners working with the Forest Service and highway engineers pioneered high altitude revegetation methods. Not least of the contributions of the State to mining are the graduates of the Colorado School of Mines, mining professionals who have for more than 100 years gone out to work at their special calling and serve society all over the world.
(Adapted from the Mining History News, May 1994)
CLICK HERE FOR PROGRAM
Welcoming Reception and Agricola’s 500th Birthday Celebration, Green Center, Colorado School of Mines, June 5, 1994
Reception, Colorado Historical Society Museum, Denver, June 6, 1994
TOURS AND FIELD TRIPS (CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW)
Georgetown Tour, June 7, 1994 (Half-Day Afternoon Tour)
Central City and Black Hawk
Option A: Idaho Springs, Edgar Mine (CSM Experimental Mine), and Georgetown Tour
Option B: Georgetown Loop Railroad to Silver Plume, Lebanon Silver Mine Tour
Option C: Downtown Georgetown Historic Tour
Walking Tour of Golden, June 8, 1994
Gamblers’ Bus to Central City Casinos, June 8, 1994
Cripple Creek Tour including the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, June 9, 1994 (Full-Day Tour, Lunch Included)
Leadville Tour including the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, June 9, 1994 (Full-Day Tour, Lunch Included)
Post-Conference Tour of Southwest, Colorado, June 11-14, 1994 (See the field trips taken during the 1999 Ouray, Colorado meeting and the 2009 Creede, Colorado meeting.)
Web Coordinator’s Note. Unfortunately, no photographs have been located from the 1994 conference and symposium or the field trips. Because the conference pre-dated digital photography and the extensive use of the Internet, we have used more recent photographs to attempt to recreate the 1994 field trips. In addition, the MHA held annual conferences in Cripple Creek and Leadville in 2003 and 2007 respectively. Links are provided to the more comprehensive field trips taken during those conferences.
Colorado Historical Society Museum
Colorado School of Mines
Colorado School of Mines, Edgar Mine
Georgetown Loop Railroad
National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum
Western Museum of Mining and Industry
READINGS AND REFERENCES
Many excellent books have been written about the history of the Clear Creek (Central City, Black Hawk, Idaho Springs, Georgetown, and Silver Plume), Cripple Creek and Victor, and Leadville mining areas. Many have been published since the 1994 conference and symposium. An on-line search will provide a list both current and historical titles.
The publications of the U. S. Geological Survey dating from the mid-1800s to the present, provide excellent historical and technical data on the mines of Colorado’s Front Range Mineral Belt, including the areas in the central part that were visited on the various Georgetown Tour options. The following reports cover those areas and can be downloaded via the Internet. In some cases, the large accompanying maps and drawings need to be downloaded separately. All the reports are available at no cost.
Edison S. Bastin and James M. Hill, “Economic Geology of Gilpin County and adjacent parts of Clear Creek and Boulder Counties, Colorado,” U. S. Geological Survey, Professional Paper 94, (Washington: GPO, 1917). Download site for the report and the accompanying plates. http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/pp94 Accessed 2 September 2014.
T. S. Lovering and E. N. Goddard, “Geology and Ore Deposits of the Front Range, Colorado,” U. S. Geological Survey, Professional Paper 223, (Washington: GPO, 1950). Download site for the report and the accompanying plates. http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/pp223 Accessed 2 September 2014.
Robert H. Moench and Avery Ala Drake, Jr., “Economic Geology of the Idaho Springs District Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties, Colorado,” U. S. Geological Survey, Bulletin 1208, (Washington: GPO, 1966). Download site for the report and the accompanying plates. http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/b1208 Accessed 2 September 2014.
Paul K. Sims, A. A. Drake, Jr., and E. W. Tooker, “Economic Geology of the Central City District, Gilpin County, Colorado,” U. S. Geological Survey, Professional Paper 359, (Washington: GPO, 1963) 8-11. Download site for the report and the accompanying plates. http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/pp359 Accessed 2 September 2014.
Josiah E. Spurr, George H. Garry, and Sidney H. Ball, “Economic Geology of the Georgetown Quadrangle (Together with the Empire District), Colorado. With General Geology,” U. S. Geological Survey, Professional Paper 63, (Washington: GPO, 1908). Download site for the report and the accompanying plates. http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/pp63 Accessed 2 September 2014.
Also see the Readings and References Sections for the 2003 Cripple Creek and Victor Annual Conference and the 2007 Leadville Annual Conferences.
Robert Spude, Coordinator
Clark Spence, Program Chair
Gary BaughmanMelody Francisco
|CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE|
Main Street, Golden, Colorado
Colorado School of Mines with the golden dome of the Administration Building and the distinctive “M” on the hillside above Golden.
The Central City Opera House constructed in 1878 is still an active theater venue.
Miners in a stope of a Idaho Springs gold mine ca1910.
(Photos courtesy Colorado School of Mines and the Library of Congress)