Thomas F. Walsh: Progressive Businessman and Colorado Mining Tycoon

Material Information

Thomas F. Walsh: Progressive Businessman and Colorado Mining Tycoon
Series Title:
Thomas F. Walsh: Progressive Businessman and Colorado Mining Tycoon
Noel, Thomas J.
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
Publication Date:

Record Information

Source Institution:
Auraria Library
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text


Thomas F. Walsh: Progressive Businessman and Colorado Mining Tycoon | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 1:16:40 PM] Home Thomas F. Walsh: Progressive Businessman and Colorado Mining TycoonThomas F. Walsh: Progressive Businessman and Colorado Mining TycoonSubmitted by nwharton on 9-1-2007 12:00 AMAuthor: John C. Stewart Publishing: Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, 2007. Photos, maps, appendices, endnotes, bibliography, index. xv + 230 pages. Reviewer: Thomas J. Noel, Prof. of History, UCDHSC Reviewer Affiliation: University of Colorado Denver The full story of Colorados kindest mining tycoon is told for the first time by John C. Stewart, a Denver attorney, civic activist and trained historian. Stewarts grasp of mining law and technology make this a lucid, exemplary book. Stewarts book is reader friendly with its clear, crisp writing and helpful appendix Glossary of Mining Terms. It belongs on the shelf with Colorado mining history classics by Harriet Fish Backus, Anne Ellis, James E. Fell, Andrew Gulliford, Duane A. Smith, Marshall Sprague, Wallace Stegner and Frank Waters. Of Colorados gold mining millionaires, Thomas Francis Walsh is one of the most obscure, yet the most admirable. Fellow tycoons Horace Tabor and Winfield Scott Stratton are better known, perhaps because of Tabors affair with Baby Doe and Strattons notorious carousing. A faithful family man, Walsh doted on his wife and children. He also paid his miners well and spent his millions helping out poor animals and people, including struggling relatives back in County Tipperary. He presided over the Colorado Humane Society, supported passage of the federal Income tax and preached to astonished fellow tycoons: Treat your men with humanity and justice. Provide them with clean, comfortable quarters, wholesome food and medicine. Money spent for their comfort is well-spent . you will be prospecting in human hearts and may discover beauties of character little suspected. Unlike many mining moguls, Walsh did not unload exhausted holes in the ground on gullible investors, fleece stockholders, or squander his assets. Indeed, he remained a wealthy philanthropist until his death in 1910. To fully tell this heartening story, Stewart scoured Ireland for family and tombstones to document Walshs obscure origins. His formal education ended at age 12 when he became an apprentice carpenter. He joined Father Matthews Abstinence Society and avoided the drinking problems that plagued some of his countrymen. Walsh came to America at age 19 in 1869. He knocked around Colorado bonanza towns Central City, Nevadaville and Leadville before striking pay dirt in the San Juans. 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 AmericanIn 1893, Colorado became the first state in the union to allow women the right to vote through popular election.


Thomas F. Walsh: Progressive Businessman and Colorado Mining Tycoon | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 1:16:40 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us Where others had looked for silver, Walsh found gold in the Camp Bird Mine six miles southwest of Ouray. Set in spectacular Alpine scenery, the 12,000-foot-high mine named for a food-snatching Camp Robber (Gray Jay) ultimately produced more than $20 million. This two square mile complex operated from 1896 to 1995. Walsh shared his good luck. He gave Ouray its still useful Walsh Library and anonymously set up town poor funds both with the sheriff and the local priest. He endowed the Sisters of Mercys fine stone hospital (now the Ouray County History Museum). After selling the Camp Bird in 1902 for $6 million, Walsh built one of Washington, D.C.s most extravagant mansions. His four-story, 60-room show home at 2020 Massachusetts Avenue is now the Indonesian Embassy. There Walsh and his wife hosted lavish parties decorated with presidents, congressmen and visiting royalty. They rented the Vanderbilts Newport Cottage in summer and bought Littletons famed Wolhurst estate. Walsh led a charmed life that turned dark for his two children. He spoiled Evalyn with the Hope Diamond and a new Mercedes. Younger brother Vinson took her for a joy ride that killed him and badly injured Evalyn, who became addicted to pain-killing alcohol and morphine. Walshs Camp Bird Mine proved to be the richest, most efficient and long lived of all Colorado gold mines. Its famous three-story boarding house offered workers steam heat, electric light, hot and cold running water, and superb meals, as well as smoking, reading and pool rooms at a time when most miners lived in squalid conditions. Walshs humane treatment of workers paid off. His men never struck during the many labor wars that crippled most Colorado mines. This handsome six-foot tall, trim, dapper dresser with steel blue eyes and a rich reddish walrus moustache had a heart as well as a mine of gold. Stewart convincingly shows in this first rate, even-handed biography that Tom Walsh does deserve a pedestal. Coloradans should enjoy this book and for exploitive, overpaid executives it should be required reading. Reviewer Info: Thomas J. Noel, professor of history at the University of ColoradoDenver, is co-editor of the Colorado Historical Societys online Book Review Center and a member of the Societys Board of Directors.