This week in Summit County history: Two Leadville miners killed when cage plunges 600 feet |

This week in Summit County history: Two Leadville miners killed when cage plunges 600 feet

Compiled by Breckenridge
Heritage Alliance
This Week in History
A pack burro stands at the top of Grey's Peak. The inscription reads "The Colorado 'Ship of the Desert' at anchor on the summit of Grey's Peak." Pack burros were an important form of transportation in early Frisco.
Courtesy Frisco Historic Park & Museum |

This week in history as reported by the Summit County Journal 100 years ago, the week of Feb. 5 through Feb. 11.

Two Leadville miners met death instantly Wednesday morning at the Robert Emmet shaft of the Empire Zinc company when a cable broke, droping the cage in which they were working 600 feet to the bottom of the shaft.

Striking the bottom of the shaft with a terrible impact, the cage collapsed. Only the crushed bodies of the two miners held the top and floor of the cage apart. One man’s skull was split through the middle nearly the full length. The impact partially scalped the other and cut open his skull behind the ear. The legs of both men were mangled.

Rich silver and gold ore deposits discovered on claim

On a well known Gibson hill property, a strike has been made that reminds old-timers of the days when rich finds were the order on Gibson hill. The recent ore find is interesting because of the high gold and silver values the assay returns indicating a gold content of two ounces and 180 ounces in silver.

The property is being developed by former Idaho Springs men and Monte Blivins, a well known North Park cattleman is one of the backers of the enterprise. The work under way is being pursued enthusiastically, with every indication of a profit-paying mine resulting.

Many enroll to study prospecting

With one or two under 30 years of age, the majority grizzled miners and three women enrolled in the 1917 class in prospecting at the school of mines organized Monday. One enrolled from Pennsylvania, another from Alabama, a third from Wyoming, the others coming from Colorado and other intermountain mining states.

The course of instruction has been amplified considerably since the course was made part of the curriculum of the school three years ago. Eight members of the faculty will give instruction in the various phases of prospecting and mining.

The men and women seeking to qualify as gold-seekers will study conditions governing places where mineral ores occur, will pursue practical chemistry study, receive instruction in assaying and will pry into the mysteries of modern processes of flotation and other phases necessary to the development of the successful prospector and miner.

The German blockade and the American mining industry

The New York commercial says: The Kaiser’s blockade order, as it affects mining securities and the metal markets, must be looked at from two distinct sides. On one side, its effects on shipments of metal and metal-munitions abroad must be examined. A second subject for study is the effect on American neutrality and the possible change therein and what effects these may have on metal markets and mining corporations.

The immediate effects of the blockade order have been to paralyze shipping and further congest already congested condition of metal exports abroad. For some months past there has been a lack of sufficient bottoms to carry American copper and munitions to Europe.

The direct effect of the blockade order is much more important as affecting business and particularly through the possibility, which it endangers, of bringing about a change in our condition of neutrality. If the country be drawn into war, this will naturally upset business for a while, but will stimulate business in the metal and other industries immediately after the first dislocation.

But whether or not we be drawn into the caldron — whether we continue a benevolent or modified neutrality, or whether we go into war actively or passively, the new program will necessitate more revenue for the government and render practically certain some sort of excess-profits tax. To this extent mining companies, as other corporations, will suffer. Indeed, mining companies may feel an excess-profits tax more keenly than other corporations, because the average profitable mining company in America is very conservatively capitalized; its profits loom large alongside capitalization and therefore a tax of 8 percent or some other percent of excess-profits is practically (in many cases) a tax of 8 percent (or other percent) on almost actual profits. This is well illustrated by the Utah Copper, which earned $40 million in 1916 on a capitalization of $16.25 million.

Breckenridge should capitalize its snow banks

The sixth annual winter sports carnival will take place at Hot Sulphur Springs Feb. 15 and 16. The two days will be devoted to ski jumping, ski racing, sled races, a cross-country ski run and other sports incidental to winter where snow abounds. Without desiring to suggest invitation of our energetic and live Grand County neighbors, the enthusiasm of Hot Sulphur Springs reminds us that Summit County might do well to arrange an annual event of some kind that would furnish entertainment for our own people, enable them to get together occasionally, and perhaps attract visitors from other parts of the state.

We can have no strawberry, peach or watermelon day; we have no county fair; what would be more appropriate than turning our snow banks to some account other than swelling the spring streams below us?

Summit is one of the few counties in the state that does not have an occasional get-together event of some kind. We not only fail to maintain acquaintance with each other, but we are overlooking an excellent opportunity to remind those other parts of the state of our existence.

The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance is a nonprofit founded to promote and protect Breckenridge’s unique heritage. The organization offers year-round guided tours and hikes. Go to or call (970) 453-9767.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User