Tag Archives: Leadville

Latest News – July 4


Obit_Spacer_ThinGeologic Mosaic Mural Spans Climax to Independence

When you’re in downtown Leadville Today for all of the July 4th fun and festivities, be sure to check out the new The Courthouse Geologic Mosaic Mural located off W. 5th Street. The mural features a cross section of the geology from Fremont Pass, through Leadville and ending at Independence Pass.  It was designed and installed under the direction of the Leadville Arts Coalition Public Art Projects Manager, Amanda Good.

It's a family affair: The mural features a cross section of local geology and is sponsored by the Leadville Arts Coalition. Photo: Leadville Today.

It’s a family affair: The mural features a cross section of local geology and is sponsored by the Leadville Arts Coalition. Photo: Leadville Today.

“Everyone was awesome!” exclaimed Good, speaking to the community involvement. “On Saturday, it was Standing Room Only, people were waiting in line to be a part of the mural.” The timing of the installation was nicely planned, as hundreds of people were downtown for the Inaugural Leadville BBQ and Brew Festival on Saturday, June 27, and happily became part of this community art project.

For those interested in participating and not able to make it down to place a tile, there was an opportunity through tile and stone donation which allowed them to put a special touch to the piece of art. Look closely throughout the design and you’re sure to find a sentimental piece of ceramic from an old plate, or perhaps on old Leadville bottle, so popular among local collectors.

Video of how the geologic mosaic mural came together:


Murals have made somewhat of a comeback in recent years in downtown Leadville. Thanks to efforts by the Leadville Arts Coalitions (LAC), local artists and Harrison Avenue business owners, the historic downtown corridor has been getting its sparkle back. You can read the 2014 Mural story published on Leadville Today: HERE.

So what’s next? Word is the LAC is in the advanced planning stages of another new downtown mural installation. Here’s a hint to the theme: Giddy up, Ski Jorers! Stay tuned to Leadville Today as more details become available.

Latest News – July 3

A July 4th Pass to Celebrate  –  Independence Pass!

So much of Colorado history is associated with mining. Ultimately, it’s the reason that so many flocked to the region in the late 19th century. So it should come as no surprise that notable Independence Pass has a mining connection as well.

Thanks to HB-1021, getting stuck on Independence Pass will cost you . . .more!

Independence Pass at 12,095 feet.

In 1879, two prospectors – W.M. Hurst and Isaac Gadded – struck a rich ore vein on the west side of what is presently known as Independence Pass.  The two lucky miners named their claim for its date of discovery, July 4th – Independence Day! In the end, a newspaper article chronicling the discovery dubbed the pass “Independence,” and the name has remained ever since.

When it was first mapped out in 1873, Independence Pass has known as Hunter Pass, more than likely because it was an un-traveled game trail used to cross the Continental Divide down into the Roaring Fork area.

Of course, once word got out that there was “gold in them thar hills,” miners began to arrive at a rate of over 30 a day. The initial claim indicated that the ore assayed out at $400 in gold and 20 ounces of silver to the ton. Before long, what was once a precarious footpath became a more developed route, allowing burro teams to haul the ore down from the mountain into Leadville smelters and return with supplies and mining materials.

The long, and winding road - Independence Pass' east side

The long, and winding road – Independence Pass’ east side

Now for anyone who’s ever traveled Independence Pass on a good day, in summer, the idea of traversing the route as part of a mule train in colder weather seems like a dangerous trek, requiring many days exposed to the harsh elements that a lofty 12,095 feet in elevation can offer.

Add to that the fear of retaliation from the Ute Indians who had already showed their disdain for the white man encroaching on their sacred territory with the well-known Meeker Massacre, and most miners were content to wait out the harsh winter in Leadville until travel conditions were safer.

However, it didn’t take long for someone to realize the business opportunity of increased travel over Independence Pass. In spring of 1880, the Twin Lakes, Roaring Fork & Grand Colorado River Toll Road Company was formed, clearing a 12-mile passage west from Twin Lakes up to the rich ore veins.

The first crossing of the pass in a wagon occurred on May 25, 1880. Four mules pulled the wagon as far as they could, switching out to sleighs once they reached the deep snows. It would take a week for the wagon to reach Aspen.

Easier by car or pack train? Hard to say! Photo: cogenweb.com

Easier by car or pack train? Hard to say! Photo: cogenweb.com

The Leadville and Aspen Toll Road Company formally opened its Independence Pass Toll Road for through traffic on November 1, 1881. And it’ll come as no surprise to locals, that it also promptly closed the passageway to all but sleigh traffic due to heavy snow. Snow removal outfits worked constantly throughout the winter to clear heavy snow brought on by avalanches, and winds creating drifts on both sides of the summit. And conditions didn’t seem to improve much over time either.

In fact, the Leadville Chronicle newspaper published an interview with freighter John Borrel regarding a hellacious 14-day mid winter crossing of the Pass to Aspen in 1885:

“It was the dead of winter and snow had been falling until it was ten feet deep. Although traffic was heavy, the snow drifted so badly that the road was not kept open. We were near the top of the range for three days and nights in a traffic jam. Someone got stuck in the snow, teams began to line up, unable to pass, until they reached in both directions for a great distance. We finally cleared the jam by carrying sleds, stages and wagons and their loads out of the road and to new positions. It was mighty labor and we were all exhausted.”

Regardless, the toll road was still profitable, charging round trip rates from Twin Lakes to Aspen at a buck for a pack animal, $6.50 for a double team, and $9.00 for a four-horse team.  Not small change in those days, eventually leading to increased competition.

Businessman and explorer Kit Carson.

Businessman and explorer Kit Carson.

In 1881, famed mountain man Kit Carson established the Leadville, Twin Lakes and Independence Stage and Express Company. One of two express companies providing regular stage service, Carson’s vehicles fought for position with over 50 freight wagons crossing Independence Pass daily. The narrow path, perched on steep mountainsides offered little chance to pass, and combined with the spring mud, made travel an arduous process.

In addition to the traffic, were roadside thieves taking full advantage of the slow moving freight wagons carrying high-grade silver ore. Although rewards were often posted for their capture, none was ever claimed because, quite simply, any thieves caught in the act were simply shot to death on the spot!

But as the story goes with so many stage companies, the railroads were not far behind and by fall of 1887, the Denver & Rio Grande’s rail line between Leadville and Aspen was operating, followed shortly by the completion of the Colorado Midland line to Aspen through the Hagerman Tunnel, putting the first nail in the coffin for the Independence Pass Toll Road. Carson’s last stage crossed the pass on October 24, 1887.

It wasn’t until 1927 that there was any interest in reviving the passageway linking Leadville and Aspen, prompted mainly by an increase in automobile travel. Eventually the interest prompted the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to extend Hwy 82 across the Divide as a graded, gravel road.  It would be another 40 years until CDOT paved the road, although only open seasonally, as it still is presently.

Thanks to hard-working CDOT crews, Independence Pass is traditionally cleared by Memorial Day. Photo: CDOT

Thanks to hard-working CDOT crews, Independence Pass is traditionally cleared by Memorial Day. Photo: CDOT

Today, Independence Pass stands as North America’s highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide. And tomorrow – July 4, 2015 it will celebrate the 136th Anniversary of the lucky gold strike that gave the high top it’s name! Have a great safe Independence Day weekend!

© Leadville Today

Latest News – July 2

It’s Time to Sparkle Red, White & Blue, Leadville!

Happy Independence Day! Leadville will be celebrating the country’s birthday in its usual two-mile-high style! Here’s the line-up for this Saturday, July 4.

8:30 a.m. – Firecracker 5K 

The Firecracker 5k starts at the corner of W. 5th and Harrison Avenue on Saturday, July 4 at 8:30 a.m.

The Firecracker 5k starts at the corner of W. 5th and Harrison Avenue on Saturday, July 4 at 8:30 a.m.

This fun community event usually has folks dressed in their most patriotic attire as racers walk or run the 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) course which does a small loop through town, ending where it begins at the Lake County courthouse.

Cost is $15. Participants can pre-register at Melanzana, 716 Harrison Ave. or on race day registration on court house lawn from 7 til 8:15 a.m. Race start is 8:30 a.m. 

Proceeds support nonprofit Leadville/Lake County Sports Hall of Fame and Skyline Baseball

10 a.m. – July 4th Parade. 

Sponsored by the Leadville/Lake County Chamber of Commerce this old-fashioned parade will sparkle with hometown pride!  

Line up begins at 9:30 at the top of capitol hill and the parade will proceed down Harrison Ave. at 10 a.m., with Leadville’s finest all decked out in their red, white & blue!Obit_Spacer_ThinParade_July_4


11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – FREE BBQ and Root Beer Floats

There are a few changes to the “After Parade” July 4th celebrations this year. The annual Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue root beer float celebration has been moved up to the BBQ at the airport.

Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue's 1928 model fire truck  will be on display at airport

Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue’s 1928 model fire truck will be on display at airport after the parade.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the Leadville/ Lake County Airport staff will be serving up some hot dogs and hamburgers for the 7th Annual FREE 4th of July Cookout. The fire department will be topping things ff with their famous root beer floats!

This event is a Fly-In /Drive-In event so there will be some cool aircrafts on display for the day. In addition, they are adding some great classic cars to the mix. The fire department will also have their 1928 model fire truck on display and is also providing a public education trailer.


Obit_Spacer_ThinDusk – July 4th Fireworks

The Tony Hren Memorial Fireworks sponsored by the Leadville Lions Club will begin at dusk. The recommended place to watch the fireworks is the Lake County High School football field, or make a night of it with green chili and margaritas on The Grill’s patio!


Latest News – July 1

Give Blood….For Life at Tommy Taylor Blood Drive!

Don’t forget, the Tommy Taylor Replenishment Community Blood Drive is tomorrow THURSDAY, July 2 at the Lake County High School gym. If you did not make an appointment, Organizer Bunny Taylor said they still have slots available from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Call 719-486-8742. This year, donors will get a t-shirt!

Frank Bradach gives blood at last year's Tommy Taylor Blood Drive. This year the event is Thursday, Dec. 6 @ NMHF

Frank Bradach gives blood at the Tommy Taylor Blood Drive. This year, the event is Thursday, July 2 @ LCHS gym.

This blood drive is named after Leadville’s Tommy Taylor. In 2007, Tommy survived a terrible car accident, requiring several surgeries and need for many units of blood. This blood drive was established by the Taylor family to help replenish blood centers to help save other lives.

“We were so grateful for the community support we received during that difficult time,” said Bunny Taylor, Tommy’s wife. “Everyone kept asking what they could do to help and this seemed like the best thing we could do.”

If you can’t make this blood drive, but would like to donor blood at another time, please contact Bunny at btaylor@lakecountyschools.net or you may also contact the Bonfils Blood Center at www.bonfils.org. or  (800) 365-0006, ext. 2.Obit_Spacer_Thin

The Local Take: Obamacare Supreme Court Decision

Submitted by Full Circle of Lake County

Coloradans across the political spectrum warily awaited the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on King v. Burwell earlier this week. At issue was a key provision of the Affordable Care Act: whether all Americans have access to federal tax credits that make health insurance affordable. Or, whether the tax credits are only available to those who bought health insurance through a state-based marketplace.ACA

Monday’s decision has no immediate impact on Colorado. By establishing Connect for Health Colorado in the early days of the Affordable Care Act, the state exchange protects every Coloradan from the direct results of the ruling.

Nationally, the U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold federal tax credits for all Americans marks the second time that the high court has upheld key elements of the Affordable Care Act.

Alice Pugh, Director Full Circle of Lake County

Alice Pugh, Director Full Circle of Lake County

“We are breathing a sigh of relief today for the nine million Americans who will continue to receive the benefits of quality, affordable health insurance that Coloradans were already able to count on,” said Alice Pugh, Director of Full Circle of Lake County. “I’m proud of Colorado’s foresight to create its own health insurance marketplace, as well as expand health insurance to working families and individuals, that has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of previously uninsured Coloradans.”

The Affordable Care Act has moved 22.8 million Americans from the ranks of the uninsured, according to a recent study (Rand, May 2015).  This includes 5.7 million young adults that have maintained coverage due to the provision that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26. Additionally, 129 million people with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied health insurance.

To date, nearly half a million Coloradans have used Colorado’s efforts to gain coverage they previously couldn’t afford. Colorado’s health insurance marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado, and other health reform efforts have reduced the state’s uninsured rate from 17 percent to 11 percent, the 5th largest drop in uninsured rate among all states.

About Health Equity: The Local Take

Leadville:  Full Circle and Build A Generation have combined efforts to enhance health equity in our local community. 

Alison Bujanda assists with the monitor as Amanda Stinnett with Rocky Mountain Family Practice, checks her blood pressure. Photo: AnnaMarie Valdez

Alison Bujanda assists with the monitor as Amanda Stinnett with Rocky Mountain Family Practice, checks her blood pressure. Photo: AnnaMarie Valdez

Health Equity is a broad term to describe social determinants of health including: access to quality health care, housing, racial bias, poverty, transportation, etc.  Your zip code says more about your health outcomes than any other factor.  Currently Full Circle/Lake County Build A Generation are increasing advocacy and civic engagement through the Family Leadership Training Institute and the Civic Design team.  The two Leadville organizations are currently piloting a health equity assessment for local businesses and organizations to complete a self-assessment.  Finally they are building the field of health equity in partnership with the Colorado Trust. 

Contact Alice Pugh for more information.  director@fullcircleleadville.org, 719-486-2400 x 10


Latest News – June 30

Leadville Student “Lifted” to National Podium

Submitted by Leadville Lifts Coach Ben Wells

On Friday, June 26, Lake County High School student Kaytlin Sprague of the Leadville Lifters stepped on to the USA Weightlifting National Youth Championship’s National Platform in Bloomington, MN. She was one of 14 youth national competitors in the 35kg weight class and 13 and under age group.Obit_Spacer_Thin

Kaytlin Sprague attempts snatch move which propelled her the USA Weightlifting National Youth Championship's National Weight Lifting Platform. She is a member of the Leadville Lifters, a Lake County High School sports team. Photo: Lifting Life.

Kaytlin Sprague attempts the “snatch” which propelled her to the USA Weightlifting National Youth Championship’s National Platform. She is a member of the Leadville Lifters, a Lake County High School sports team. Photo: Lifting Life.

Obit_Spacer_ThinSprague has been training with the Leadville Lifters for over a year and qualified for the Youth Nationals competition twice, once in the 35kg weight class and once in the 39kg weight class. Although this was her first national competition, she did well.

If you ask her, it was “really scary and nerving” to be on the platform with hundreds of spectators watching. Of the two movements, the snatch and the clean and jerk, Sprague completed the snatch movement with a 20kg lift. For her clean and jerk movement, unfortunately she did not complete any of attempts. All three of the clean and jerk attempts were very close. Sprague also learned that the referees at the national level judge every hard.

USAW-Youth-270x250The Leadville Lifters wants to thank you for everyone who donated to Kaytlin’s trip, she was able to raise $1,500 to cover all of her expenses. Overall that experience of going to the Youth Nationals was a great one and Sprague cannot wait for next year’s Youth Nationals, which will take place in Austin, Texas.

This year there were over 600 youth competing and every one competing under the age of 17. Olympic Weightlifting has grown incredibly over the last couple of years. Some of the growth is due to Crossfit, a weightlifting/cardio/active movement type of workout program. It is also that colleges are including functional strength in their programs for their athletes and high schools have begun to include it as part of their curriculum and workout programs for the athletes.

Leadville Lifters is entering its third year and continues to help all of the athletes of Lake County during the summer. If you would like to follow their efforts, connect: HERE.Obit_Spacer_ThinRecNewsletter