Historical Markers in
Mineral County, Colorado

The town of Leadville, Colorado, located at an elevation of over 10,000 feet, was once the second-largest city in Colorado and home to the richest silver mine in the world. It also has the distinction of having the highest airport in North America, at an elevation of 9,927 feet.
Mineral County, located in the southwestern part of Colorado, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area has long been inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Utes, who roamed the region for centuries before the arrival of European settlers. These tribes used the land for hunting, fishing, and gathering resources.

In the mid-19th century, prospectors began flocking to Mineral County in search of valuable minerals. The discovery of gold in the area sparked a gold rush, leading to a significant influx of miners and settlers. The town of Creede, which was founded in 1889, became the center of mining activities and quickly grew into a bustling community. Numerous mines were established in the area, extracting gold, silver, lead, and zinc.

The mining industry played a vital role in the county's economy, with the population reaching its peak in the early 20th century. However, as the minerals began to deplete, the mining industry declined, leading to a gradual decline in population. Nevertheless, remnants of the mining era can still be seen today, including historic buildings and mine shafts that serve as reminders of Mineral County's mining past.

Despite its declining population, Mineral County has continued to attract visitors due to its stunning natural beauty. The county is home to the Rio Grande National Forest, which offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing. Additionally, the area provides access to the San Juan Mountains, renowned for their scenic landscapes and recreational opportunities.

Overall, Mineral County's history is a tale of discovery, settlement, and the rise and fall of the mining industry. Today, it remains a picturesque destination for outdoor enthusiasts, while also preserving its historical significance through its architecture and cultural heritage.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Mineral County, Colorado.

  • 1873 - Mineral County is established.
  • 1874 - The first mining claims are staked in the area.
  • 1877 - The town of Creede is founded following the discovery of silver.
  • 1890 - The population of Creede reaches its peak at around 10,000 people.
  • 1892 - A devastating fire sweeps through Creede, resulting in the loss of many buildings.
  • 1942-1945 - During World War II, the Vanadium Corporation of America operates a mill in Creede for the production of vanadium used in steel production.
  • 1976 - The Underground Mining Museum opens in Creede, showcasing the town's mining history.
  • 1979 - The Silver Thread Scenic Byway is designated, showcasing the area's natural beauty.
  • 1985 - The historic Creede Repertory Theatre is founded, becoming a renowned theater company in the region.
  • 1992 - The Bachelor Loop Historic Tour is established, highlighting the historic mining sites around Creede.