This is a highlights of our trip to Colorado. On our second day in Durango, we took a mining tour in Silverton about 30 miles from Durango. It's every interesting tour, we have learned how dangerous, and hard work for these miners have to perform in the dark places. Also, in late 1800's these workers only earned $3 -$4 a day.
Silverton Co. History:
Captain Charles Baker was the first miner to lead a party into the Silverton area in 1860. Baker had been involved in Colorado's first gold rush at Cherry Creek. With the financial backing of his employer, S.B. Kellogg, Baker lead a small party into the area that would later become Silverton. Baker's Park, as the area was known, served as a winter camp for the men while they explored the area that is now Eureka. They found some color in the placer deposits with as much as 25 cents to the pan being an average. Kellogg brought a party of 300 people into area the following year to help with the work. The coming of the Civil War brought the venture to an abrupt halt when all interested parties returned home to their respective sides of the conflict. The discovery of the treasures hidden in the San Juan Mountains would have to wait for the end of the Civil War.
In 1868, the Ute Indians signed a treaty opening the San Luis Valley to settlement. This brought a renewed interest in the San Juan Region's mineral resources. Prospectors made their way back into the Silverton area. The Utes, who still held title to the area, protested the attempts and killed those who would defy them. In 1870, another party made up of some original members of Baker's group, returned to the area of Arastra Gulch. They discovered the first significant find in the area, the Little Giant Mine. The Little Giant Mine produced $4000.00 in its first six weeks of operation.