Colorado is famous for its gold – our State Capitol dome is clad in the precious metal, and the Pikes Peak Gold Rush was one of the major reasons settlers started moving to our state. But did you know that in the 1870s through the early 1890s, Colorado’s economy was much more dependent on silver than on gold? Silver was a hot commodity during that time because it was purchased by the federal government for use in making coins. Then, in 1893, Congress repealed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, sweeping Colorado into the Panic of 1893, one of the worst financial panics in the Nation’s history. Many mines were forced to close, and the great silver boom era was closed. It was, however, a colorful time in Colorado’s history, giving rise to a number of legendary millionaires and causing the birth of numerous towns, many of which are still thriving today, albeit through different industries, such as tourism. You can read more about Colorado’s silver mining towns in these books, available from our library:
- The Rise of the Silver Queen: Georgetown, Colorado, 1859-1896.
- Silver Saga: The Story of Caribou, Colorado.
- Aspen: The History of a Silver Mining Town, 1879-1893.
- History of Leadville and Lake County, Colorado.
- Mining Among the Clouds: The Mosquito Range and the Origins of Colorado’s Silver Boom
Also see the following resources on silver mining in Colorado and its relationship to gold mining:
- The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado, 1859-2009.
- The Quest for Gold and Silver: Including a History of the Interaction of Metals and Currency.