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
Silver Boom
› Ore City
› Leadville and other Silver towns
› Silver King and other Success

Silver Bust
› Boom and bust cycle

Ranching
› Cattle kings
› Counting sheep
› Range wars
The 1870’s ushered in the silver era in
Colorado
 Discoveries were made from Boulder
county to Dolores county

› Leadville comes into its own

Started in Boulder County at Caribou
Mine
› 1869




The initial findings were at California Gulch, in the
Mosquito Range near the Arkansas River headwaters
northeast of what was to become Leadville.
At first, this original discovery didn't seem like it was going
to amount to much,
› late April of 1860, placer gold was found in
abundance.
By July, 10,000 people inhabited the spanking new town
of Ore City.
Over a period of seven years, miners had brought ten
tons of gold to light.
Oro City had a second
lease on life when silver
was discovered in the
late 1870's
 Newly-founded Leadville
ended up with most of
the recently arrived
prospectors and those
that follow along with
them.
 Come 1890, a mere 222
people occupied the
once-thriving town.
Today, all that remains of
Oro City are abandoned
buildings and ghosts.


Leadville soon becomes the secondlargest city In Colorado
› Known as the Cloud City
› Sits 2 miles above sea level

Silver in the San Juan's
› Developed
› Silverton, Telluride, Ouray and Rico
› Durango would be a major supply town for
these towns

Horace Tabor
› Moved with his wife Augusta to Leadville
› Offers to Grubstake two prospectors
 To give supplies in return for a part of whatever
the prospectors dig up
› Prospectors hit the jackpot!
 The little Pittsburg mine was on of the first big
silver discoveries in Leadville
› Horace bought more mines and made lots
of money
› People began to call him “The Silver King”

Moved to America from Germany
› First store was in Boulder
› 2nd store was in Leadville
› He worked in the Hardware business
› “ Hardware. Hard goods. Hard cash”
The boom was largely the consequence
of large scale purchases of silver by the
United States Government authorized by
Congress in 1878.
 The boom endured throughout the
1880s, resulting in an intense increase in
both the population and wealth of
Colorado, especially in the mountain
valleys

In 1878, responding to pressure of western
interests, the United States Congress passed
the Bland-Allison Act authorizing the free
coinage of silver
 The government demand raised the price
of the mineral substantially to the point
where many additional mines were
profitable
 The boom continued unabated throughout
the 1880s, a decade that gave the state
many of the historic structures throughout its
cities and towns

The boom also drove many extensions of the railway
network in the mountains,
› such lines as the Denver, South Park and Pacific,
which built an early narrow gauge line to Leadville
 Extension of the railroad network up the Roaring Fork
Valley to the previously failed mining town of Aspen in
the late 1880s
› Made The extraction of silver ore there economically
feasible, and saved the town from near extinction.
 The government’s purchases of silver were nearly
doubled by the 1890
 Sherman Silver Purchase Act, further extending the
boom into the early 1890s.


The repeal of the Sherman Act in 1893
› led to a collapse of silver prices
After 1893, many mining camps became
ghost towns
 Collapse in state-wide economic activity
was amended

› by the emergence of agriculture, previously
mocked as not feasible, as a large
component of the state economy.

Spanish people moving north brought
the first livestock
› Horses, cattle, and sheep
› Many settled in the San Luis Valley along the
Rio Grande
› Starving animals that made the journey west
were turned out and allowed to graze on
the wild prairie grasses
 They soon gained back their weight and grew
stronger and fatter over time 

John W. Prowers
› Raised cattle on what

John W. Iliff
› Originally ran a store
› Allowed people to pay
with animals
 Turned the animals out to
graze
› Decided to sell the store
and get into ranching
› Sold beef to miners,
settlers, soldiers and
railroad crews
› Eventually ran a ranch
with 35,000+ cattle that
was along the South
Platte River and was100+
square miles!!!
use to be Cheyenne
land
› His cattle herds
competed with Iliff
› Had a ranch that was
400,000 acres of land
› Used differ cattle to
try and find the best
one that fit the plains
of Colorado

Southern Colorado
› Ranchers raised
sheep
› Companies would
buy the wool from the
ranchers
› Ranchers used
herding dogs to help
› Introduced the
Australian
shepherded to
Colorado




Cattle Ranchers
didn’t like Sheep
Ranchers
Sheep ranchers
didn’t like Cattle
Ranchers
Sheep ate too much
grass and left none
for the cattle
No one wanted to
share land or water!

Problems between
the groups got worse
› Poisoned and killed
animals
 Ran sheep off cliffs

Problem with
Farmers
› No more open
range
› Barbed-wire and
laws stopped the
open range