Charles Leaming Tutt and his partners Spencer Penrose and Charles MacNeill helped make mining history in 1903 when they bankrolled a pilot plant for Daniel Jackling to test his theory that low-grade copper ore at Bingham Canyon, Utah could be profitably bulk mined. Jackling’s pilot plant was a success and sparked a revolution in mining practice.
Charles Tutt arrived in Colorado Springs in 1884, a young man from a prominent Philadelphia family. He tried his hand at ranching for three years, then sold the ranch and opened a real estate office in Colorado Springs. When the Cripple Creek gold rush began in 1891, Charles Tutt joined the crowd. Late in 1891, he located the C.O.D. mine in the new gold field behind Pikes Peak.
Cripple Creek boomed. In December 1892, Spencer Penrose, also from a prominent Philadelphia family and an old acquaintance of Charles Tutt’s, came to Colorado Springs to see if there might be something in it for him. Tutt invited Penrose to join him in his real estate business. The firm of Tutt & Penrose was established. Penrose opened a branch office in Cripple Creek.
Tutt & Penrose branched out into mining stock promotion, and in 1895, they established the Cripple Creek Sampling & Ore Company, buying ore from small miners. Also in 1895, they sold the C.O.D. mine for $250,000. The money provided start-up capital for their next venture, the Colorado-Philadelphia Reduction Co. mill, built to process Cripple Creek ores. Charles MacNeill, an experienced mill operator, came into their business to head up plant operations. The new mill started up in 1896. Within five years, Tutt, Penrose, and MacNeill owned seven mills and were processing the bulk of Cripple Creek ores.
In 1902, MacNeill hired Daniel Jackling to work as a metallurgist in the partners’ Canon City mill. Jackling had been in Utah, studying the porphyry copper deposit at Bingham Canyon. He thought that bulk mining could be profitably applied to the deposit, but he could not find backers to fund a test of his ideas. He needed $500,000. Knowledgeable mining people called it “Jackling’s Folly.” Charles Tutt, Spencer Penrose, and Charles MacNeill saw opportunity in Jackling’s ideas and formed the Utah Copper Company in June 1903 to back him, issuing 500,000 shares at $1 each. Almost all of the shares were taken up by the three partners, their milling company, or Penrose relatives. Jackling built his pilot plant and had it in operation by February 1904. It was an immediate success.
Charles Tutt sold his interest in Utah Copper to Spencer Penrose in 1905. He died in 1909, but not before establishing a family dynasty that lives on today. Generations of Tutts have been active in the management of the Broadmoor Hotel, built by Penrose, and in the management of El Pomar Foundation, established by Penrose in 1937 to support a wide range of good works throughout Colorado. Charles Tutt’s legacy is strong and reaches far beyond his success in the mining industry.