|Information Entries for Mt. Sherman and Mining|
Mining (Mt. Sherman)
Title: Sherman Mining History
Entered by: BillMiddlebrook
Added: 05/01/2010, Last Updated: 05/01/2010
Sources: Climbing Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners by Walter R. Boreman and Lyndon J. Lampert Colorado Mountain Hikes For Everyone by Dave Muller
This area is rich in gold, silver, and zinc mining history. From around 1860 to the silver crash in 1893, both the east and west side of Mt. Sheridan hosted some of the most productive mining operations in Lake County, Colorado.
On the east side of Sheridan, the mining town of Leavick sprang up in 1881. Leavick was named for prospector, Felix Leavick, and in its heyday, boasted a population of more than 200. The largest mine in the Leavick area was the Hilltop Mine located on the southern slopes of Mt. Sherman. The Last Chance mine was located on the east slope of Sheridan. Other mines and shafts include the Dauntless Mine, Miller Shaft, Rob Roy Shaft, and Badger Boy Shaft. A mill in Leavick processed silver ore brought by an aerial tramway with 125 buckets at 400 pounds per bucket. After the silver crash in 1893, zinc was mined there until 1938. At one time, a railroad spur reached the town of Leavick due to the high volume of zinc being produced. Today, remnants of the town and mines are very evident. Several of the buildings in Leavick remain as well as several of the mine shafts. Visitors are reminded that the buildings are fragile and the mine shafts are dangerous.
Earlier, in 1860, gold was discovered near the historic town of Oro City in California Gulch, west of Mt. Sheridan. Placer mining was the norm, where gold was panned or run through water-filled sluices. More than $8,000,000 in gold was mined from California Gulch during this time, but gold quickly ran out, and Oro City seemed doomed to history. By 1878, Oro City was all but abandoned and the town of Leadville was established. It was then; however, that the silver boom started when silver ore was discovered in the carbonate of lead in the black sand. Silver mining continued until the silver crash of 1893. There are dozens of mines and shafts around Oro City, and in Iowa and California Gulchs. As you drive up County Road 2 to the trailhead, Oro City is passed with several signs indicating the historic site.
Strong evidence of mining exists on both sides of Mt. Sheridan. Some of the evidence may appear to be unattractive and distracting from the wonderful views. However, realizing that the mining remnants are part of the rich history of the area will actually enhance your view of these mountains. Visitors must be wary of cables, mine shafts, fragile buildings, and other hazards. In addition, some of the items are historical artifacts and should not be disturbed for that reason. Climbers are invited to look into the history of the area and make yourself familiar with it to enhance your overall experience of Mt. Sheridan.