Summit County, Colorado: 
Mining History

**If you are unfamiliar with mining, the Glossary may be helpful.**

Mining Camps & Descriptions

The following is a transcription from Historic Sites in Summit County, Colorado, A Consultant Report to the Board of County Commissioners,
written by Douglas S. Walter. Published in May, 1976 by the University of Colorado.

Pages 57 -
This remains a work in progress.


    The quest for riches from the earth is as old as civilization itself. There are few known cultures in which the search for and use of precious metals did not play a part. Few endeavors held out such promise of great reward to the citizens of a vigorous 19th cen-tury America. The California Gold Rush had destroyed thousands of mens lives, but it had richly rewarded many others. The odds at succeeding in this sort of adventure were steep, but the gambling instinct ran strong. In 1858, tales began filtering back to "the States" from prospecting parties in the Pike's Peak region. Exag-gerated reports of gold strikes spread like wildfire in cities and towns of the east and midwest, and thousands came west to seek their fortunes, with little experience but plenty of enthusiasm to sustain them.
    The Rocky Mountain foothills could not long contain the human flood of prospectors, and the mountains were quickly penetra-ted by prospecting parties. The richness of the Blue River Valley was discovered with Ruben J. Spalding, a miner who had worked the California goldfields, putting a pan in the Blue on August 10, 1859. (Hall, 1895, p. 326)  Spalding and two dozen other hardy souls stayed at their work throughout the first winter, discovering the fabulous-ly rich Gold Run and French Gulch diggings. Stores that reached Denver and mining camps in the foothills brought a general stampede to the Blue River diggings, and by September, 1860, some 2000 miners had settled in Spalding's and adjacent camps. (Fiester, 1973, p. 17)
    Breckenridge has the distinction of being the first townsite, but it did not gain pre-eminance right away, as explained by Phyllis Dorset:
The upstart town of Parkville set out to
outshine Breckenridge as the major camp of
the valley be setting up a mint, enticing
Jack Langorshe to bring his gold camp rep-
ertory troupe to town on a monthly basis,
persuading the politicos to name it the
county seat, and inviting Parson Chiving-
ton over to dedicate the second Masonic
lodge established in all of Colorado in a
gala celebration that drew the elite of
the pick and pan society on both sides
of the Park Range. (Dorset, 1970, p. 106)
But by mid 1860, Parkville had passed its zenith and in a very few years was abondoned and forgotten. This was the case with many of the mining camps and towns in the County - a flurry of activity focused on one small area would result in "instant" towns being created, then if prospects did not pan out, they disappeared just as quickly. Only Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Montezuma had real staying power. The first three because of geographical loca-tion on major transportation routes to supplement mining activities, and the latter by sheer stubbornness.

(To be continued...)

"Doughnut" shaped pile around an abondon mining site.
Photo taken in the Boreas Pass area.

PAGES 64 - 66

(Adapted from Henderson's Mining In Colorado, 1926 pp. 63 - 68)

NameOther Names UsedApprox. Location
ArgentinePeru, MontezumaT5S R75W
AvalancheCarpenter, Bald Mtn., Lincoln, Swan RiverT6S, T7S R77W
Beaver DamSnake River, MontezumaT5S R76 & R77W
BevanUtah, Miners, Minnesota, McBarnes, BreckenridgeT6, T7S R77W
CarpenterLincoln, Georgia PassSecs. 5&6, T7S R76W
Secs. 1&2, T7S R77W
CongersInc. in BreckenridgeSecs. 17&18, T7S R77W
Consolidated TenmileKokomo, Robinson, FriscoT5S R78 W
T7&8S R78&79W
Consolidated UnionUnion ConsolidatedT6S R77&78W
FriscoPart of TenmileSecs. 16,17,20,21 T63 R78W
Georgia PassSecs. 7,12,13 T73 R76W
GenevaSnake River, MontezumaSecs. 29,30,31,32 T5S R75W
Secs. 25,26,35,36 T5S R76W
Hoosier GulchOverlaps PollackSecs. 6,7 T8S R77W
Secs. 1,2 T8S R78W
Jo DavisNear Delaware FlatsSecs. 16,17,20,21 T6S R77W
LincolnOverlaps South Swan River, Avalanche, MinnesotaSecs. 1,2 T7S R77W
McBarnesMinersSecs. 8,9,16,17 T7S R77W
McKayUnionSecs. 18,19 T6S R77W
Middle SwanRexford, MissouriSecs. 20,21,28,29T6S R76W
MinnesotaUtah, Bevan
MissouriMiddle Swan
MontezumaSnake RiverT5S R76W
Secs. 1,2,3,4,5,6 T6S R76W
North SwanSnake RiverSecs. 7,8,17,18 T6S R76W
PeruIncl. Argentine & Snake RiverT5&6S R75W
PlatteIncl. part Park Co. Sec. 17,15 T6S R76W
Pleasant ParkOverlaps UnionSecs. 7,8,9,16,17 T6S R77W
PollackPollardSecs. 21-29, 32 T7S R78W
Secs. 19, 30, 31 T7S R77W
Secs. 1,2 T8S R78W
Quartz MountainOverlaps Union & SpauldingSecs. 23-26, T6S R78W
RexfordMiddle Swan
Slide MountainOverlaps Tenmile & WilkinsonSecs. 9,10 T6S R78W
Snake RiverIncl. MontezumaSecs. 1-6 T5S R76W
T6S R76W
South Swan RiverSecs. 31-33 T6S R76W
SpaldingIndependence, Stillson PatchSec. 36 T6S R78W
Sec. 31 T6S R78W
Swan RiverSecs. 15-18, 22-24 T6S R77W
UnionConsolidated Untion
WilkinsonT4&5S R74W
T5S R78W south into
T6S R78W

A "typical" strand of placer gold, common to the Summit County area in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  
Picture Source:

Corbett, Thomas B. The Colorado Directory of Mines, Containing A Description of the Mines and Mills, and the Mining and Milling Corporations of Colorado, Arranged Alphabetically By Counties, And A History of Colorado From Its Early Settlement to the Present Time.  First Edition. Rocky Mountain News Printing Company, Denver. 1879.
This text covers several counties in Colorado, but the highlights included in this site are for Summit County.

"February 23, 1879 map of placers in Breckenridge area - part of unti-tled map found in Summit County Court House vault."
Page 6, Southern Summit: A Geographer's Perspective by Sandra F. Pritchard. Summit Historical Society, 1984.

Fifteenth Biennial Report, Colorado Bureau of Mines, for 1917 and 1918.
Review by: D. J. F. The Journal of Geology, Vol. 29, No. 1 (Jan - Feb, 1921), p. 88. Published by: The University of Chicago Press.
Stable URL:

Marshall, Thomas Maitland. The Miner's Laws of Colorado. Source: The American Historical Review, Vol. 25, No. 3 (Apr, 1920), pp. 426 - 439. Published by The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the American Historical Association.
Stable URL:

Meade, Edward S. "The Fall in the Price of Silver Since 1873". Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 5, No. 3. June 1897, pp. 316-339. Published by The University of Chicago Press. Made available online by JSTOR:

Gold Mining Activity in Colorado by T.A. Richard. The North American Review, Vol. 162, No. 473. April, 1896, pp. 473-480. Published by University of Northern Iowa.
Made available online by JSTOR:

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