01 April 2009

Boulder County, Colorado Mining Camps

Balarat - North of Jamestown, the site of the Smuggler mine. The post office application was submitted in 1879 and was to serve 125 residents. This camp had miners' cabins, a boarding house, post office, and school. (1-2N-72W)

Cardinal - Southeast of Caribou, this camp was platted in 1870, and two years later it reportedly had 200 inhabitants. When a post office application was submitted in 1904, the population was "about one hundred". (10-1S-73W)

Caribou - In a letter to the Rocky Mountain News, dated 15 July 1871, the location of Caribou was described as "Close under the snow line, twenty miles west of Boulder City, and four thousand feet higher - north of Central City and about one thousand feet above it - in the center of a rich gold and silver district, a bright cluster of seventy buildings of but little over a year's growth..." A post office application was submitted that year, to serve the 400 residents, who endured a very brutal winter environment. Nothing remains to mark the spot. (8-1S-73W)

Copper Rock - Copper Rock, located between Wall Street and Sunset in Four Mile Canyon, it was named as early as 1873, but a true settlement did not occur until January 1892 when there was a rich strike in the Orphan Boy mine. This boom town lasted only a couple of years. Today, a single cabin remains. (22-1N-72W)

Crisman - Established in April 1875 with the name Camp Tellurium. A year later, after learning that there was already a Colorado town by this name, it was changed to Crisman, after Obediah Crisman who built a mill at the camp. In Four Mile Canyon, a few homes remain. (20-1N-71W)

Eagle Rock - According to the Colorado Banner of 27 January 1876: “Persons who have traveled up [Boulder] canon know that the real beauty thereof begins just before reaching the narrows. A large rock to the left, bare and rugged with variegated colors, standing as a sentinel at the narrows, is the beginning of the grand passage of the canon. This rock has been named Eagle Rock because on its top an eagle reared its young for six successive years.” The Eagle Rock Post Office application was filed on 25 April 1876 by William Bomberger who operated the Eagle Rock Hotel. The camp of 80-100 people was located in Boulder Canyon on the route to Caribou. (31-1N-71W)

Eldora - This mining camp was originally named El Dorado until post office confusion forced them to shorten it. The Daily Camera reported on 4 May 1897: "In speaking of the town of El Dora, Mr. M. D. Morrison says that business is very quiet there owing to the controversy for the right of the land on which the town stands, and many are contemplating the removal of the town in the event of the victory of Mr. Kemp. Until the matter is finally settled, very little will be done." Most of the early cabins still stand, and the Gold Miner Hotel offers visitors a place to stay. (20-1S-73W)

Frances - A mining camp located south of Ward. Settled circa 1894 and originally called Dew Drop after a mine. The name was changed by 1898 to Frances, named for Frances Daniels, the daughter of the Big Five Mining Company's President. At that time, there were 200 people living in or near the camp. (12-1N-73W)

Gold Hill - Established in 1859 near Gold Run, the creek in which gold was discovered by the "Nebraska City Boys". The settlement was destroyed by fire in October 1860, and rebuilt down the hill to the southwest, next to Gold Run. Many pre-1900 structures built at the second site still stand today. There is an elementary school, general store, and restaurant still in operation. (12-1N-72W)

Jamestown - Often known as "Jimtown", and located thirteen miles northwest of Boulder on James Creek. In 1860, George Zweck had a cattle ranch at the site. In the mid-1860s, when gold was discovered in the area, prospectors descended upon the valley, and the settlement became known as Elysian Park. The residents applied for a post office to serve the 400 inhabitants, in 1866. They wanted the name, Jimtown, but federal officials returned the application with the name Jamestown instead. (24-2N-72W)

Lakewood - The application for a post office for this settlement, located two and a half miles north of Nederland, was submitted in 1912. Named after Chauncey F. Lake, this was the location of the Primos Mill, the largest tungsten mill in the world during World War I. Foundations of the mill are still visible on the west side of Peak to Peak Highway near where it intersects with Boulder County 124E. (6-1S-72W)

Langdell - Named after John Langdell who arrived in Four Mile Canyon circa 1876 with his family, and built a boarding house at the base of Poor Man Hill. There were no businesses, no school, and no post office; and after Langdell's boarding house burned down the name quickly faded into oblivion. (27-1N-71W)

Magnolia - Boulder News 7 January 1876: "Magnolia and the Waggoner Camp were unknown as mining ground until mid-summer, yet that section is now regular bullion producing, and towns springing up where there was nothing but a long lonesome hill, and unclaimed pastures and forests a few months ago." Magnolia had a grocery store, assay office, dry goods and drug stores, three hotels, ore mills, and a post office. In 1896, the population was 175. (5-1S-71W)

Nederland - Settlers lived here as early as 1861. At an altitude of 8,067 feet, it was a much more hospitable environment than nearby Caribou, at 10,000 feet. This helps explain why the first Caribou Mill was built near the mine at Caribou, but the second was built in 1871 at "Middle Boulder" (an earlier name for Nederland). When the Caribou mine and mill was sold to a Dutch company, they renamed the town Nederland, meaning "low land". This mining camp still exists with a thriving business district, though only limited mining is done in the area.(13-1S-73W)

Orodelfan - A camp at the mouth of Four Mile Canyon, established in 1865 following the construction of a sawmill. The camp was first known as Maxwell's Mill, then Hortonville, Hunt's Mill, and Orodelfan in 1876. "Oro" is probably a derivation of "ore", and “delfan” from the Old English, meaning to dig up. For a brief time in the 1880s the settlement was known as Cooper City or Cooperville. Nothing remains of the early structures, and the site is now often found on maps as Orodel or Orodell. (27-1N-71W)

Primos - Located four miles northeast of Lakewood, named after Primos, Pennsylvania. (34-1N-72W)

Puzzler - A small camp east of Ward, named after the Puzzler mine. Robert Duncan discovered this mine, rich in gold, in 1885. Two years later he established a mill site. In 1898, a post office was established to serve the 125 inhabitants, and the Switzerland Trail of America railroad extended their rail through the camp on its way to Ward. (13-1N-73W)

Rowena - The original 1877 post office application for this settlement of 81 people, asked for the name of Rockville. When a new application was submitted in 1892, the name Rowena was used, and the inhabitants numbered only 40. Located north of Gold Hill, on Left Hand Creek, it was the site of the Prussian mine. (6-1N-71W)

Salina - Established on 21 April 1874 by a surveying party from Salina, Kansas, led by Oliver Perry Hamilton. Almost five miles up Four Mile Canyon, many of the mining era homes, the 1885 schoolhouse, and the 1902 church still stand today along Gold Run Road. (18-1N-71W)

Springdale - Built around a natural spring, near Jamestown. The Seltzer House opened on the 4th of July 1875 and became quite popular as a health resort where people could relax and drink the Springdale Seltzer Natural Spring Water. The buildings suffered severe damage during a flood on 31 May 1894. (28-2N-71W)

Sugar Loaf - First known as South Sugar Loaf, this camp began to form in the 1870s. In 1895, South was dropped from its name. Now the location is often spelled as a single word, Sugarloaf. See Wall Street. (25-1N-72W)

Summerville - Settled in 1872 after the discovery of the Victoria mine by Alice and James W. Robinson. At that time, it was known as Victoria Camp. On 31 July 1877, 75-80 residents chose the name Summerville. Between Salina and Gold Hill, along Gold Run Road, many early cabins still stand. (13-1N-72W)

Sunset - In 1876, this camp was known as Pennsylvania (or simply Penn) Gulch. On October 3, 1883, the Herald reported that the post office name was changed to Sunset. It took about a year for the new name to catch on. A few historic cabins remain in this location, ten miles up Four Mile Canyon. (21-1N-72W)

Sunshine - Settled in 1873. On October 19, 1874, Nathan Hayden filed an application for a post office, and stated that there were two hundred residents in the camp. (8-1N-71W)

Wall Street - Henry Blake built the first cabin in this area in 1860, but it was not until the arrival of Gardner P. Wood that a settlement was established on Four Mile Creek. It was first called Sugar Loaf, named after the mountain that loomed above the camp. On April 14, 1877, one hundred residents in the area chose a new name for the camp, Delphi, but the name was not used in the newspapers or county directories. During a post office location dispute in 1891, the people living on Four Mile Creek kept the Sugar Loaf name, while the families near the mountain's peak used South Sugar Loaf. In 1895, the creekside camp finally proclaimed its name to be Delphi, allowing the mountaintop camp to drop "South" from its name. In 1897, Charles W. Caryl changed the name to Wall Street. The camp name is often spelled as a single word, Wallstreet. Many mining cabins, the assay office, and the foundation of the big mill remain at this camp six miles up Four Mile Canyon. (19-1N-71W)

Ward - Settled by Calvin W. Ward in 1860. Altitude: 9,450 feet. The arrival of the narrow gauge railroad at Ward was celebrated on 28 June 1898. Much of the town was destroyed by fire on 23 January 1900, but was rebuilt. The town endures today with a post office, general store, and restaurants. (1-1N-73W)

Williamsburg - A settlement south of Ward. Boulder County News 18 February 1876: "In the fall of 1872, Bolus Mitchell and George Williams, well known prospectors, had blossom samples assayed at the area now known as the Washington Avenue mine at Williamsburg. The new camp was the excitement of the season." (30-1N-72W)