Leadville, Colorado

lcsrrTo encourage our readers to visit this year’s winners of our Top 10 True Western Towns award announced in Jan/Feb, each issue will showcase the local flavor at one of these towns.

Make no mistake about it, Leadville is not a Cowboy town. Local historian Neil V. Reynolds often introduces his lectures

by sharing how miners look at life differently than ranchers would. So what’s a cowboy to do? Make sure you bone up on your mining history before you step into this burg.

Best Cowboy, er, Mining Bar: Pastime (120 W. Second St.), Manhattan (618 Harrison Ave.) and Scarlet Tavern & Inn (326 Harrison Ave.) are big hits with the locals, whereas the Silver Dollar Saloon (315 Harrison Ave.) offers up drinks and authentic mining decor and history.

Where to Buy Mineral Specimens: The Rock Hut (706 Harrison Ave.); National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (120 W. Ninth St.); and in the summer, local kids
sell them on street corners. Over 119 different marketable minerals can be found.

What’s a decent house run?: $65,000 for a fixer-upper Victorian (1,200 square feet) to $350,000 for new con-struction outside of town. Some customs are as high as $750,000.

Where do all the locals eat?: Casa Blanca (Mexican: 118 E Second St.); Quincy’s (Steakhouse:  416 Harrison Ave.); and Zichittella’s (Italian: 422 Harrison Ave.).

Best Bookstore: The Book Mine (522 Harrison Ave.).

Best Route to Historic Downtown: U.S. Highway 24 is Leadville’s main street, Harrison Avenue.

What historic site do the school-children visit?: National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (which also houses the town’s best Western art gallery).

Favorite Local Event: Boom Days, held this year on August 5-7. This mining heritage celebration includes a 21-mile pack burro race, an annual gun show and a parade.

What attraction should not be missed?: The Heritage Museum for strictly local history; National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum for mining exhibits.

Sports Fishing: Leadville Fish Hatchery, first established in 1889, is a great source for Snake River cutthroat trout.

Local Train Stop: The Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad follows the Arkansas River to Fremont Pass and even gives a look at the Climax Mine and Colorado’s highest peak, Mt. Elbert (runs from May-October).

Advantages to Living Near the Rocky Mountains: Access to outdoor activities, recreation, clean air and a small community.

Rumor Mill: Although this mining town has no operating mines now, the rumor is that Climax Mine (13 miles north of Leadville) may be reopening for limited production.

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