Leadville Weekly Democrat. Volume 2. January 1, 1881.
Leadville, Colorado: No publisher. 1881. Printed on rather fragile newsprint. Never bound. Small edge tears and very occasional minor stains. One horizontal fold which is slightly darkened. Tape (archival?) reinforcement of spine. Unobtrusive tape repair on page 2 as well. Small area of loss in blank margin at mid-gutter of all sheets, probably rodent-related, not causing any loss of text. Overall, good. Item #3752
The discovery of silver at Leadville was the beginning of the Colorado Silver Boom (1879-1893). Leadville was founded in 1877 by mine owners Horace Tabor and August Meyer. As the numerous images in this newspaper demonstrate, it had become a thriving metropolis by 1881. Indeed, its population at the time was more than 20,000, making it the second largest city in Colorado behind Denver.
This issue of the newspaper has a “year in review” flavor. It provides an enormous amount of detail of the mining operations of the area, as well as the business, transportation and banking activities that supported it.
Among the highlights of the paper:
• Four full pages of steel-engraved images of 49 mines and public and commercial buildings.
• A full page of “History of the Year that Has Gone,” with hundreds of short entries that demonstrate the tumult and lawlessness that prevailed in the boom town environment -- robberies, claim jumping, murders, suicides, etc. (One of my favorites: “Dec. 5. ‘Crummy Bill’ found dead near Birdseye gulch.”)
• A “biographic” page that includes a long and perhaps overly-flattering biography of Horace Tabor, Leadville’s founder and Lieutenant Governor of Colorado, “the man who unlocked our treasure vaults.”
• A large map (15 x 10”) titled: Map of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway Showing Stage Lines and All Principal Mining Camps and Pleasure Resorts in Colorado.
An exceptional source document for the beginning of the Colorado Silver Boom at ground zero.