Time Machine Tuesday: Tungsten Mining in Colorado

Colorado mining isn’t just about gold and silver. There are many other metals, minerals, and elements that have been mined in our state; one of these is tungsten. Tungsten has the highest melting point of any known metal – more than 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit! It’s an extremely hard substance, so is frequently used for strengthening […]

The Hope Diamond’s Colorado Connection

One of the world’s most famous diamonds has a Colorado connection. The dazzling blue Hope Diamond, weighing 45.52 carats, is now in the collection of the National Museum of Natural History. A century ago, however, the diamond was owned and worn by a Colorado mining heiress. The Hope Diamond has a long history. It was […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Mine Accidents and Safety

Explosions. Cave-ins. Blasting accidents. Gas leaks. Floods. Carbon monoxide. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, mining was one of the state’s top industries, employing thousands of workers. Yet every day, each of these workers entered the mines not knowing if they would ever return. Mining was an extremely dangerous job, and hundreds of workers […]

Georgetown Loop Railroad

Looking for a fun activity this summer? The Georgetown Loop Historic Mining & Railroad Park® is located just 45 minutes from Denver and provides a great way to enjoy some great mountain scenery as well as learn about railroads and mining, two of our state’s most important industries in the nineteenth century. Originally constructed in […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Minerals and Geology

One of the most frequently accessed publications in our library’s digital collection is The Minerals of Colorado and Area Locations. Published in 1960 by the Colorado Bureau of Mines, this resource lists the various minerals found in Colorado and exactly where in the state they have been discovered, including by county and by mine name (if […]

Time Machine Tuesday: History of Aspen, Colorado

Today, Aspen’s riches come from the ski industry — but they used to come from silver mining. Aspen was founded in 1879, during the glory days of Colorado silver mining — the same era when mining boomtowns like Leadville and Georgetown were being established. With seemingly endless amounts of silver in the nearby Elk and […]

How Geology Helped Build the Moffat Road

Our library recently received a fascinating new document for our collection that will be of interest to historians researching Colorado’s railroads as well as to those interested in our state’s geology and mineral resources. Exactly one hundred years ago, in 1918, a special committee of the Denver Civic and Commercial Association asked State Geologist Russell […]

Time Machine Tuesday: The Victor Labor War of 1903-04

Victor, Colorado, near Cripple Creek in Teller County, is one of Colorado’s most historic mining towns. Incorporated in 1894, Victor flourished during the gold mining era that followed the Silver Crash of 1893. The repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act meant that silver mining, which had been a huge part of Colorado’s economy, was […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Uranium Mining

Uranium was discovered in southwestern Colorado in the late nineteenth century.  It comes from carnotite ore, which also produces vanadium.  When these elements were first mined, vanadium was considered to be the more valuable of the two; it was used as an alloy to strengthen steel.  In 1921 the Colorado Geological Survey issued Radium, Uranium, […]

Colorado Coal Resources

Coal is one of Colorado’s most significant mineral resources, and over the years has played an important part in our state’s history and economy.  You can learn about Colorado coal in numerous publications available from our library.  Some highlights from our collection include General resources: 2006 Colorado Coal Fact Sheet  Active/Licensed Coal Mines in Colorado, […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Leadville Metals Exposure Study

Leadville is one of Colorado’s most historic mountain towns.  Though a small mountain town today, in the 1870s and 1880s Leadville rivaled Denver for the state’s most prestigious city and many millionaires were made through Leadville’s silver mines.  Following the Crash of 1893, most of Leadville’s silver mines were abandoned, although other mining activities such […]

Time Machine Tuesday: The White Ash Mine Disaster

This fall the Colorado School of Mines unveiled a new memorial dedicated to the victims of the White Ash Mine disaster of 1889.  Ten miners lost their lives in the accident near Golden, Colorado. The White Ash Mine was located adjacent to the Loveland Mine, which had been shut down in 1881 following a fire.  […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Molybdenum

When most people think of Colorado mining, they think of gold or silver, or maybe coal.  But one of Colorado’s most significant mineral resources of the past century is molybdenum.  Today, however, demand for “moly” is declining.  Plans were recently announced to shutter Clear Creek County’s huge Henderson Mine — the world’s largest primary producer […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado's Coal Mines

While Colorado was founded on gold and silver, coal mining became the state’s most significant mining industry by the turn of the 20th century.  The State of Colorado had a designated Inspector of Coal Mines, and each year he issued a report to the governor.  The Annual Report of the State Inspector of Coal Mines […]

Colorado Mining Towns

In our library’s collection you can find a number of books and websites that tell the story of Colorado’s mining towns.  A sampling of these resources includes: Aspen: The History of A Silver-Mining Town, 1879-1893 (University Press of Colorado, 2000) Coal People:  Life in Southern Colorado’s Company Towns, 1890-1930 (Colorado Historical Society, 1999) Denver:  Mining Camp […]

More Information on the Animas River Spill

The State of Colorado has set up several new information sites where you can find out what is happening with the Animas River/Gold King Mine release.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has a new webpage which includes up-to-date information on public meetings, water sampling and data, frequently asked questions, health recommendations, and […]

Animas River Spill Situation

Yesterday the governor issued an Executive Order declaring a disaster emergency for the release of toxic chemicals from the Gold King Mine into southwest Colorado’s Animas River.  The accidental spill by the EPA caused the river to turn an orangey-yellow, shutting down the river to tourists and potentially impacting the river’s aquatic species.  Further information […]

Time Machine Tuesday: The Vulcan Mine Explosion

This week we use our digitized historical documents to travel back to 1896 and one of the state’s worst mining disasters.  On the morning of February 18 of that year, an explosion at the Vulcan coal mine near New Castle, Garfield County caused the death of forty-nine miners.  Among those killed were the mine’s foreman, […]

Ludlow 100th Anniversary

Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre, which took place April 20, 1914.  On that day, the State Militia was called in to deal with striking coal miners, who wanted recognition of their union.  The Militia fired on the Colorado Fuel & Iron laborers at the Ludlow tent colony for 14 hours.  It […]