The Idaho Springs mining district forms an important segment of the Front Range mineral belt, a northeast-trending zone of coextensive intrusive rocks and hydrothermal ore deposits of early Tertiary age. This belt, which is about 50 miles long, extends from the region just west of Boulder southwestward across the Front Range.
From 1859, when placer gold was discovered in Idaho Springs and lode gold in Central City, through 1959, ores valued at about $200 million were shipped from a 50-square-mile area that includes the Idaho Springs and adjacent districts to the north, west, and southwest. The adjacent Central City district, which produced ores valued at more than $100 million, is clearly the most important district in the mineral belt. The Idaho Springs district from 1860 to 1959 produced ores valued at about $65 million, and the districts to the west and southwest produced smaller amounts. Gold has accounted for about 60 percent of the value of the ore, but in some areas silver provides the chief values, and copper, lead, and zinc add value to the ores in most areas.
Mining activity in the Idaho Springs and adjacent districts was at its 'heyday' in the late 1800's, it declined sharply after 1914, it was somewhat renewed during the 1930's, and it greatly declined during World War II. In the 1950's uranium prospecting stimulated some mining activity. No uranium was produced, however, and at the close of the decade only one mine--the Bald Eagle--was being worked for its precious- and base-metal ores.
In this report, 135 mines and prospects are described. The mines and prospects described are those that were accessible at the time of this study, as well as a few inaccessible properties for which some information was available. Most of the data for the inaccessible or unimportant properties were obtained from Bastin and Hill (1917) and Spurr, Garrey, and Ball (1908). The following list shows, in alphabetical order, the names of about 325 openings of mines and prospects, their coordinate location on the district map (fig. 1), the page of this report on which their description starts, and the number of the illustration, if any, referring to them.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Mines and Prospects, Idaho Springs District, Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties, Colorado - Descriptions and Maps