This Late Victorian, wood mining table belonged to J.J. Brown; husband of the “Unsinkable Molly Brown”. The Brown’s wealth was acquired when J.J., a mining superintendent, made a fortuitous discovery of gold in the Little Johnny Mine. J.J. owned this table while he and Molly lived in Leadville on 7th Street. The legs of the table are carved to resemble seahorses that form an X shape. The table top was easily removable allowing it to collapse for transport on the back of a mule or horse. JJ would carry the table with him when he travelled into the mines.
This mining table that belonged to one of Colorado’s most prominent miners stands as an icon for the influence that mining had on the state of Colorado. In the last half of the nineteenth century Colorado experienced rapid industrial growth that permitted extraction of an abundance of mineral resources. Gold and silver rushes brought an influx of fortune seekers to Colorado where the fortuitous few found immense prosperity. The instant nature of western cities such as Denver relied on their connection to mining which resulted in urban areas where the newly affluent displayed their status.
While in Leadville, J.J. Brown progressed from miner to superintendent and part owner of the Ibex Mining Company. After the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1893, the price of silver plummeted and the ensuing panic left Colorado in a deep economic depression. Consequently, J.J. engineered a technique to mine a gold vein in the Little Jonny Mine. The discovery of gold just outside of Leadville was one of the largest in the nation at the time and revived the mining town’s economy; the Little Jonny discovery also significantly aided Colorado’s financial recovery.
The Molly Brown House Museum
1340 Pennsylvania St
Denver, CO 80203