Leadville's Lustrous Beginning

The discovery of gold, by Abe Lee, in the California Gulch during the 1860’s sent hundreds of gold seekers to Colorado.

The gold seekers began populating an area that became known as Oro City, just a short distance from Harrison Avenue. As the placer gold that lay on top of the ground for the taking was depleted, Oro City was deserted and the scene was desolate. However, another rush began in 1877 when silver was discovered in the upper California Gulch. Hardy souls lured by the discovery of rich silver lead to Leadville earning its name in 1878, when the population reached 25,000.

The mining district is credited with producing over 2.9 million troy ounces of gold and 240 million troy ounces of silver. When the city’s fortunes declined with the repeal of the Sherman Act in 1890, mining companies turned to lead, zinc and molybdenum. In the late 1970’s the Climax Mine north of Leadville produced 75 percent of the world’s molybdenum.

Crown Jewel
of Leadville

Today: A Historical Hotel of the Rockies

Leadville embraces its history while celebrating its surrounding natural beauty.

At 10,125 feet elevations, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America. A mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs, Leadville remains authentic, friendly Colorado. For the vacationers and community The Delaware Hotel is the social hub in the center of historic Leadville, CO.


The Denver and Rio Grande Railroads arrive in Leadville.


Construction of The Delaware Hotel begins with George King as the architect and the Callaway brothers as the financial backers.


The Callaway brothers, merchants from Denver, establish a branch of their business on lower Harrison Ave.


Ghost in Residence – Mary Coffey is shot in a jealous rage by her husband and is said to wander the halls of The Delaware.


The Callaway brothers retire from the business and return to Denver.