Leadville, a historic mining town, came in at No. 10!
Leadville, an old mining town, was just named as the 10th "Best Historic Small Town" in the country in USA TODAY's The Reader’s Choice Travel Award Contest.
Twenty cities and towns were nominated by a panel of experts from USA TODAY and 10Best, and the choices were voted on by the public throughout June. Leadville was the only Colorado town to make the top 10 list.
“History is alive and well in Leadville, a former Colorado mining town. The legendary Tabor Opera House, built in 1879, is beginning a historic rehabilitation, and visitors can peer underground into the Matchless Mine. The downtown area boasts 70 square city blocks of Victorian buildings, and the Leadville scenic train follows a historic rail route through the scenic wilderness. The mining district's original headframes and mining equipment bring alive the Silver Rush days,” said USA TODAY.
Leadville, Colorado in 1881 | Courtesy of Historical Archives (Facebook)
Sitting at 10,152 feet, Leadville is surrounded by several of Colorado’s iconic 14ers and is a reminder of times long passed. With a current population of around 3,000 residents, the town is a remnant of what was once considered the second-most populated city in the entire state. Settled in the late 1870s as part of the Colorado Silver Boom, the town was originally called Slabtown—the name Leadville was chosen soon after when a post office was first established. The town had multiple newspapers and boasted gas lighting water mains, schools, churches, hospitals, banks, even a three-story opera house.
It has a somewhat scandalous history, complete with illicit affairs, feuds, political drama, bloodshed, and more. With deep ties to the history and development of the state, surrounded by gorgeous views that date back much farther than the town itself, Leadville is a fascinating place to visit for a look back at what once was. Today, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America and home to many outdoor recreation activities and is a popular place to visit year-round.
Have you been to Leadville? What is your favorite historic town in Colorado? Are there any hidden gems out there we should know about? Let us know in the comments.