April 19, 2014
Today I took a photographic tour of Silver Plume. Silver Plume, incorporated in 1880, was once a silver mining camp along Clear Creek in the Rocky Mountains. The town neighbored a more glamorous Georgetown. What it lacked in elegance, however, it gained in mines. During the silver boom, Silver Plume was home to more than forty mines with a terrific output. The profits tended to flow two miles down stream to Georgetown where the mine owners lived, while mine workers lived Silver Plume.
The European immigrants of Silver Plume not only worked in the mines, but also started their own businesses including a newspaper, a brewery, and the 7:30’s mine cornet band. Legend has it that the mine owner was so proud of his band, that he hired miners that were better at playing music than mining!
After the silver crash in 1893, Silver Plume and Georgetown struggled to survive. It wasn’t until the 1960’s when locals recognized the historical and architectural value of the towns, preserved local buildings and created the Georgetown-Silver Plume National Landmark Historic District that the town’s began to showcase their history and attract tourism. The District also includes the Georgetown Railroad that still runs between the towns today.
Silver Plume is about 50 miles west of Denver in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains is home to many gems. I strolled along the town’s dirt roads past a handful of homes, a few businesses, and a significant amount of history including an old jail, the spring used for brewing, a church, a generator, and many other rusted remnants of the mining days. Up on the hill just east of town, I explored the outer structure of an old mine.
While once home to several thousand, now Silver Plume is a sleepy town home to a few hundred. It was a pleasure to stroll Silver Plume’s quiet streets and to soak in Colorado’s mining history just as a thunderstorm rolled through the mountains. The thunder sounded quite ominous as it echoed through the valley, but it was enjoyable to hear as it is a rare occurrence in the Denver area. Happy Easter! ETB