The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado, 1859–2009

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The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado, 1859–2009
Series Title:
The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado, 1859–2009
Fell, James E. Jr.
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Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
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Auraria Library
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Auraria Library
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The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado, 1859 | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 11:45:18 AM] Home The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado, 1859The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado, 1859Submitted by jainlayconley on 3-3-2011 11:07 AMAuthor: Duane Smith Publishing: Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, 2009. xii + 282 pages. Photos, endnotes, bibliographical essay, index. 6 x 9. $22.95 paperback. Reviewer: James E. Fell, Jr. Reviewer Affiliation: University of Colorado Denver Duane Smith has long been known as the dean of mining historians. In a career stretching back fifty years, he has taught at Fort Lewis College in Durango, given innumerable talks, even more lectures, and authored or coauthored something approaching fifty booksa legendary achievementand that is to say nothing of articles, reviews, and other writingseverything well-received. A founder of the Mining History Association, he has served and guided that organization since its inception. These achievements have all come while teaching full-time at Fort Lewis College, single-handedly out-publishing entire history departments whose faculties teach little or next to nothing under the guise that they are engaged in research and writing. Among friends he is equally renowned for suffering from the failures of the Chicago Cubs, now in a second century of futility since their ancient World Series Championship in 1905. This latest book, The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado, 1859 2009 is in many ways a capstone work. It brings to bear nearly a half century of research, most of it on Colorado, and provides an overarching history that supersedes the much earlier, now long-outdated Mining in Colorado, by Charles W. Henderson, published in 1923. Henderson the geologist and statistician had a different approach than Smith the historian. And so Hendersons important compilations will not disappear as an essential resource for Colorado mining history. Smiths work instead concentrates on people and historical development per se, and brings the industrys development and decline down to the near-present time. The focus of The Trail of Gold and Silver is that sector of the minerals industry that produced those two metals and also (most forget or dont know) the associated base metals, notably lead, zinc, and copper, along with some iron. The story begins with references to the undocumented rumors, reports, and no doubt tall tales of gold and silver in the Rockies, stories that stretch back to the early 1700s, if not earlier, but the book as a whole marches forward from the Pikes Peak gold rush of 1859, a surge that transformed a sparsely settled region and led to the creation of Colorado Territory in 1861. From the rush, the book traces the larger contours of gold and silver miningthe gold boom to the mid-1860s, the bust that followed (reflecting Colorados general boom-and-bust economy), the gradual recovery in the 1870s, the sensational Leadville and Central Colorado bonanza from the late 1870s until the silver crash of 1893, the recovery and Cripple Creek boom to 1900, and then the long, steady decline through the twentieth century, a decline punctuated by World Wars I and II, the Great Depression, the Cold War, and the rise of the environmental movement in the later twentieth century. EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanWithin Colorado boundaries are lands once claimed by Spanish kings and Mexican governors.


The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado, 1859 | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 11:45:18 AM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us These large, important themes notwithstanding, The Trail of Gold and Silver is essentially the story of peoplepeople caught up in the great drama of surging mineral development and its steady, more torturous decline. Smith mentions the famous, but his focus is on people of lesser renown or others of virtually none. The Trail of Gold and Silver will long hold a prominent place in the historiography of both Colorado and western mining history. It offers the large, overarching story of mineral development and small personal details of lives evolving in that vast landscape of development. It looks at the successful and those of more limited achievement. Since most people interested in the West think that the world ended in 1893 with the silver crash and the end of the so-called frontier, the book offers a powerful antidote as it traces the story of precious metals into the twenty-first century. Its well-written and based on sound research and its place in the historiography of both Colorado and western mining history is well-grounded for years to come. While the Cubs seem destined to flounder in the millennium ahead, this book will stand as the major work on the subject for decades to come. Reviewer Info: James E. Fell Jr. is originally from Fall River, Massachusetts. He attended Colby College, the University of Rochester, and the University of Colorado where he received his PhD in history. Fell has taught at the University of Colorado Denver for the past twenty years. His publications include Ores to Metals: The Rocky Mountain Smelting Industry, 1860 and Mining the Summit: Colorados Ten Mile District (with Stanley Dempsey). Add new comment