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June 12,2019

Matchless Mine Hoist House preservation event

100+ Years in the High Country Ravaging Colorado's Legendary Matchless Mine

Purchased in 1879 by silver king Horace Tabor, the Matchless Mine was one of the most productive silver mines of the era, estimated to have produced almost two billion dollars in today's monetary value.  Such is the significance of the riches discovered at the Matchless Mine to Colorado's and the nation's mining history, in 2010 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Matchless is notable for the silver bonanza it produced but is equally known for the infamous yet enduring love story of its most famous owner, Horace Tabor, his wife Augusta, and his mistress-turned-wife Baby Doe Tabor.   Enamored with the gripping tale of boom and bust, fame and fortune, and love and loss, numerous historians and authors have kept the legend of the Matchless Mine and the Tabors alive.  Their story is told through an opera, "The Ballad of Baby Doe," a movie, "Silver Dollar," and PBS's "Colorado Experience: The Tabors." Numerous books have been written as well, including "The Saga of H.A.W. Tabor"; "Baby Doe Tabor Mad Woman in the Cabin"; "The Silver Baron's Wife"; and, most recently "Frozen to the Cabin Floor, The Biography of Baby Doe Tabor 1854-1935," among many others.

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) is the custodian of this famed bonanza silver mine and for the past six years has been working to rehabilitate and preserve the few remaining buildings at the site.  After successful rehabilitation and preservation work on the powder magazine and the headframe at the site, NMHFM is preparing to move forward with the restoration of the site's hoist house, which housed the winch for the Number 6 shaft.

After 100+ years, the high country's harsh winters and intense sun have taken their toll on the hoist house.  The hoist house requires significant restoration to the foundation, framing and siding rehabilitation, roofing repair, and site grading.   The project will require architectural and engineering services, along with archeological monitoring.  As one might imagine, this will be an expensive undertaking. The Freeport-McMoRan Foundation on behalf of Climax Molybdenum has awarded a small grant to support hoist house rehabilitation, but more funding is needed before the project can begin.

In support of this preservation effort, Centennial Real Estate, First Mountain Bank, and Rocky Mountain Family Practice present A Day With The Tabors, Sunday, June 30.   The Tabor Home and The Tabor Opera House have partnered with NMHFM to provide .  Event line-up includes historic tours,  readings by best-selling Leadville historical fiction authors Diane Brotemarkle, Ann Parker, and Donna Baier Stein, musical duo Birds on a Line,  Chief Trainer Dave Ten Eyck and his burros, American Mountain Man Bill Bailey, gold panning, cookout, and a rousing patriotic performance by the 101st Army Band to lead us into the July 4 holiday.  Please join us in our fundraising endeavors to ensure the iconic Matchless Mine continues to stand as the important historic site and economic driver for the Leadville community that it is.

The  National Mining Hall of Fame And Museum, located in Leadville, CO is our nation's monument to the men and women who pioneered the discovery, development, processing, and protection of our nation's natural resources, giving us the raw materials needed to make the products of our everyday lives. The National Mining Hall of Fame And Museum is the only federally chartered (but non-tax supported) mining hall of fame and museum. A non-profit 501(c) (3), we rely on admission fees, benefactors, business partnerships, and other fundraising activities to tell the story about mining, its people, and importance to the American public.

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Visit the historic site of the Matchless Mine and learn the story of the infamous Silver King and Baby Doe.

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