Located in Black Hawk at the junction of Gregory Gulch and Clear Creek.
Mile Post 36.00
The following quotes are from Black Hawk by Roger Baker.
And it even seemed like the continuing sage of the battling mines on the Bobtail and Gregory lodes was about to come to a happy conclusion. Further consolidation had brought nearly all the mines—fifty, in total—under the control of one company. Investors came out to view the properties in June, 1906, in a cavalcade the Register entitled, “A Visit of Millionaires:”
Never before in the history of the state has such a large party of wealthy eastern capitalists visited this region for the purpose of investing in the mines of this section, as on Monday last… The party was organized in the East, for the purpose of investing in the property of the Fifty Gold Mines company in Black Hawk, and were bought out on a special train to see the property and investigate for themselves fully as to its standing and future prospects.
There were 85 in the party, and their combined wealth is estimated at nearly $300,000,000…E.N. Stanley, of New Britain, Connecticut, and one of the most conservative, stated that he was completely satisfied with the proposition, and that he was of the opinion that the vast majority of those who came to Colorado were equally well satisfied. “We made a complete inspection of the property,” said Mr. Stanley. “I am not a judge of minerals, but I am of machinery. There is a first-class equipment for the mine, and a first-class mill there. I believe that under the modern methods of treating ore that the proposition can and will be made a profitable investment….
The visit even caught the attention of the Denver papers, the Republican declaring: “As a result of the visit of the 85 Eastern capitalists who yesterday viewed the properties of the Fifty Gold Mines corporation at Black Hawk, Colorado will have invested in the old producing mining properties of that camp $1,000,000 to be used in the new development of these properties…”
Certainly the company never spent nearly that much in the county, but they did make some needed improvements. The following year, the Register reported that a “new building is being erected adjoining the offices of the Fifty Gold Mines company, to be fitted up for analytical purposes and when furnished will be one of the most complete in the state.” More impressively, the paper said it was “the intention of the Fifty Gold Mines company to install new machinery of a heavier kind, for more economical operations of their consolidated properties. The new machinery will include electric pumps, a compound condensing engine, new high pressure boilers, and an electric hoist, the latter to be installed at the Cook shaft.”
Another long-running Black Hawk soap opera came to a conclusion (if only, perhaps, of yet another act), when the Fifty Gold Mines company emerged from bankruptcy in June, 1913. The properties, some of which had once sold for $1,000 or more per foot, sold to Kansas City capitalists for $61,500. The Register, of course, welcomed the deal: “All the large mines are equipped with extensive shaft buildings and plants of machinery, which can be put in proper shape for working in a few weeks. There is an 80 stamp mill, boiler house, assay office and a complete equipment for the handling of this extensive property, and in the hands of experienced and practical business men, can be made a good paying proposition.”
Of course, the Register had used similar language when the properties were last sold, in October, 1911 (“Some of the claims are the oldest locations made in the state, have produced millions in gold, and can be made to duplicate their former records by good management and practical mining men to look after the affairs of the company”), so one would be entitled to view this latest sale with skepticism. And, in fact, the sale fell through, when the Kansas City buyers failed to come up with the required 25 percent down payment. The next highest bidder was an experienced Central City mine operator, Henry P. Lowe; his bid was $56,000.
The giveaway of the once-mighty property pushed one old timer into despair: Oliver Thompson, 62, had been the last manager of the group of mines before their closing. Though he lived in Denver, he “attended the sale of the property held in this city a couple of weeks ago, and was also here on Thursday of last week, when the announcement was made from the Court House steps that the property had passed into the hands of Mr. H.P. Lowe of this city. Tuesday morning’s Republican says that Mr. Thompson committed suicide with cyanide of potassium, and left a letter, in which he stated that he ‘was tired of life.’”
This page was last updated 01/27/07
Copyright 2007 by Mark Baldwin