History Colorado staff and other writers chronicle the latest preservation success stories, share new perspectives on the past, and peer behind the scenes into the care and documentation of our collections. Read on to learn about how rare collections of historic artifacts and photographs are stored, cared for, and put on view. Find out what Colorado communities are doing to preserve their past for future generations. And, read in-depth histories of Colorado people and events of the past that still matter to us today.
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In search of gold, Horace Tabor and his first wife, Augusta, settled in Denver in 1859. After a number of years in Oro City (an early mining town near Leadville, now abandoned), the couple moved to Leadville in 1877. A year later, Horace struck it rich—in silver, not gold. With his new wealth, he established newspapers, a bank and the Tabor Opera House in Leadville and the Tabor Grand Opera House and Tabor Block in Denver. He also bought the Matchless mine in Leadville (1879), earning for a time $2,000 a day from its high-quality silver.
Growing up in Denver, I knew Leadville as a destination for our family to take out-of-town relatives who came to visit Colorado. I still have fond memories of eating ice cream cones on summer days while walking with my cousin through the streets of the Old West. The rocky mountains of Colorado instilled a deep sense of wildness, strength and independence in my 12-year-old mind in the early 1970s. My cousin Mark, from Illinois, was exactly the same age as me, and if I’d looked him in the eye while we ate our ice cream in the middle of Leadville, I’d have considered us equal in every way. How little did I know how hard-fought my attitude came from a history of so many women before me. And in the West were a number of women whose stories tell us the truth about privilege, hardship and endurance.
Two years ago the Preservation Communications team here at History Colorado put out a press release about a Multiple Property Documentation Form for historic sites along the Santa Fe Trail. We were very excited about the significance of this milestone. Hooray! we said. This is great press for preservation! we said.
RACE: Are We So Different? may not be here at the History Colorado Center any longer—the exhibit, which was produced by the American Anthropological Association left on January 4—but that doesn’t mean we’re done talking about race and its implications. Race is always a topic of discussion in the United States and the world, for that matter, particularly within the last year, and as a history organization, it’s part of who we are to think and talk about how our country’s ever-changing cultural attitudes affect how we see and preserve the past. Indeed, there’s no better time to continue the conversation than on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.