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Leadville's history began when placer gold was discovered in California Gulch in 1860, during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, and the town of Oro City sprung up near present-day Leadville. The boom was brief, however, and Oro City never became a major settlement. The placer gold mining was hampered by heavy brown sand in the sluice boxes.

In 1874, gold miners at Oro City discovered that the heavy sand that impeded their gold recovery was the lead mineral cerussite, that carried a high content of silver. Prospectors followed the cerussite to its source, and by 1876, had discovered several lode silver-lead deposits. The discovery of the new silver deposits set off the Colorado Silver Boom and by 1880, Leadville was one of the world's largest silver camps, with a population of over 40,000. Leadville was a very influential boomtown — it was almost named as Colorado's capital city.

Well-preserved, Leadville has 70-square city blocks of Victorian buildings, all part of a designated National Historic Landmark District, along with 20-square miles of a preserved mining district. More than 50 buildings date back to the 1870s.

Map: Leadville

Region: Colorado South Central Regional Information

County: Lake

Proximity to other towns: Located 87.7 miles from Lakewood, 15.9 miles from Alma, 20.3 miles from Fairplay, 23.8 miles from Breckenridge, 26.5 miles from Frisco

Population: 2,705

Elevation: 10,152 feet

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