John K Hallowell.

Gunnison, Colorado's Bonanza Co. online

. (page 1 of 14)
Online LibraryJohn K HallowellGunnison, Colorado's Bonanza Co. → online text (page 1 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook











1 ■






^^UJ B 3 bE5 D73


rice ^0 Cents.

O-eolog-ical IvJIoanogrrsLpls., ItTc. 2.




Go:drado's Bonanza Gohnty



'-czriEsr-isiinx; :s-:r rrxXZE


' I Subscription Edition Distributed io,ooo.

Author's Edition 5,000. - - Price 50c. Post Paid.


C. 1 Kelly. Printer, 406 Hollada>» Street, Denver. Colo.





Entered according to act of Congress, iVi the year 1S83, by John K. Hallowell, in
the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.


No excuse or apology is considered to be be in order for the
appearance of the following pages before my readers. It is some-
thing that was found to be needed, the object being to give real
and practical information regarding one of the richest sections of
Colorado, a territory about which much has been said through the
papers and by rumor during the last three years, but until the ap-
])earance of the following, there did not seem to be sufficient
actual knowledge of this described section shown by any writer.

The appearance of the work in two editions simultaneously,
is owing to the manner in which means was raised for its pubhca-
tion, and is as follows : Before leaving Gunnison^ in the fall of
1882, I was approached to know if I could not embody the in-
formation I had gained in some shape that would do the county
good, and asked what I would do. It resulted in the following
proposition, that my tune and expenses for five months' work, my
ten years' experience in geological work, and the time required to
prepare the manuscript for a pamphlet would be my contribution,
if the residents of Gunnison County would raise the money to
print and distribute free, 10,000 copies of the books. I to mail
8, 000 copies throughout the United States, the other 2,000 copies
to go to the subscribers, pro-rated according to the individual
sums paid, and thev to send such copies, personally, where they
thought the most good would be done.

This proposition appeared to met with more than favor every
where, and I felt encouraged to complete my work ; but, wdien the
time came to require the cash, I found from various causes that I
must, to make a success, go to the additional expense and time of
visiting all parts of the county and soHcit these subscriptions
myself. This I shrank from, and I can frankly say, that were I
able, this part would never have been asked for, as I would cheer-
fully pay and give the whole myself rather than take the time, and
meet what I did, but I am not cowardly and was not going to
back out on the last round, even if it did require a part from me
that should not have been mine.

To have this work accomplish all of the good possible, it
needed to be distributed before the opening of the Exposition at
Denver. This would require prompt and energetic work. Well,
I have given that much too, but at the end find I will have to pay
several hundred dollars to make the amount of printing and post-
age good, as I took certain responsibilities myself in order to save
time. I find no fault with any one, w^ishing to believe that all
have done all that they could, as I tried to do.

At the last moment 1 accepted a proposition that will either
make the above good, or make me more expense, that is to have



an extra edition of 5,000 copies, printed as an author's edition,
and placed on sale at the low price of 50c per copy.

This gives fifty per cent, more books than I agreed to pub-
lish, but I hope gives me a small chance to be reimbursed for the
extra cash I have had to pay out.

I feel that the reciting of the foregoing facts are due, under all
of the circumstances to myself, as from private reports already
given, very many thousands of dollars have already been brought
into Gunnison County, and that very many more thousands will
follow such investments when the knowledge I gave in private re-
ports, is thus made widely public.

To give such information in as practical a method as I could
think of, I have tried to make these pages a hand-book of the
described territory, so that the reader, if he so desired, could go
from mining camp to mining camp, and have recorded facts as I
found them, to judge by, and from his own observations as a prac-
tical business man realize himself, whether, in any part of Gunni-
son County, there was an opportunity for a fair profit for him
with the legitimate use of capital.

That I think there is, is proved by what I have herein said,
that others think there is, is proved already by what has been in-
vested on what I have already reported, and if the ratio should
keep up for three years more, Gunnison County will truly be
proved to be Colorado's Bonanza County.

To have this proved by the work of one man principally,
might be considered glory enough, perhaps it is, but the air is to
rare at these altitudes to live upon "glory" alone, hence the strong
advertising I give myself, that I may get my share of the branch
of mining that I follow for a living, viz : reports, purchases and
sales of mining property. Cash from this source means addi-
tional work of this kind in future years of my residence in Col-

There is one thing in connection with all this, that I sin-
cerely regret, but could not help now, although I do hope to be
able to remedy it in the future, by publishing a supplement to
this. That is, I could not add Tin Cup and the Taylor Park
country to the present work, it was utterly impossible. In five
months I traveled over 1,500 miles on foot and on horseback, to
accomplish what was done. I thoroughly examined 3,000 square
miles, and certainly am not to blame that Gunnison County is so
large and so rich.

To amend this as much as possible, I insert here the Tin
Cup product, which talks for itself Within a year I think rje
will have an outlet to Gunnison City, thus making more of her ore
products available.

The following is taken from the Denver Tribune of April 16,
1883, and while I cannot say that of my own knowledge, I can
verify all that is stated. I am quite confident that it represents


in a compact and clear manner the value of Tin Cup as a mining
district, and as before stated hope to be able to prove it per-

Tin Cup, Colorado, April lo. — About thirty miles east and
north of Gunnison City, within Gunnison County, lies the Taylor
River basin. This basin is formed by the Continental range to
the east, the Taylor range to the north. Elk range to the west and
Fossil range or Gold hill range to the south. It is forty miles
north and south, with a mean breadth of fifteen miles. The con-
tour of the basin is open and level. Within this basin is the head-
waters of Taylor River, quite a large stream of water the year
round. Ties and sawlogs can be floated down in the spring.
The entire basin is very heavily timbered, except a strip along the
river from two to five miles in breadth. The body of the basin is
of fine gravel formation. Taylor River proper, Texas and Willow
Creeks, unite near the point where Taylor River enters the canon,
forming a large stream of water. Seventeen miles west of where
Taylor River breaks through the Elk range, running west, Taylor
and East Rivers unite and form Gunnison River (near Fisher's)-
Every part of the several ranges that form the basin are rich in
silver, gold, iron, plumbago and lead. The formation of Elk
range is principally lime, with porphyry dykes running through it.
Within this range (Elk) we have the mining camps of Spring
Creek, Italian Mountain, Forrest Hill, Head of Taylor River or
Emma. Ashcroft is near the junction of Elk and Taylor ranges,
but its present and most accessible inlet and outlet is through
Taylor basin. Along the Taylor range we have the camps of
Beauman and Telluride. The formation of Taylor range is lime,
porphyry and granite. Telluride lies at the junction of Taylor
and Continental ranges and extends from this junction south to
the intersception of Fossil or Gold Hill range. Just south of
Telluride, following the divide for ten or twelve miles, is a broad
gold belt, in granite formation. This has very little development,
on account of being under a heavy deposit of gravel. But all
gulches coming down from it, some eight or ten in number, show
up very well in free or placer gold, several of which have been
worked, and are paying well. South of this gold belt, still follow-
ing the range, is Chin's camp, or main district. The gold belt
and Chin's camp are both of granite formation. Texas Creek
Mining District lies south of Chin's camp. The formation there
is granite with Hme dykes or ledges. South of this we have the
American Mountain District of granite and gneiss formation. This
brings us to the Tin Cup Mining District. All of these districts
are well timbered, well watered and of easy approach, from the
basin by firm gravel wagon roads.

While these camps are all easy to get at from within the
basin, they are hardly accessible from the outside. The Cotton-
wood, Alpine and Pitkin passes all cross a rough and rugged road,



Alpine pass being the best of the three. The most natural and
easiest approach is down Taylor River to Gunnison, thirty miles
to the nearest part of the basin, and from thirty five to fifty miles
to any of the districts herein mentioned. The grade up Taylor
River will average from Fisher's, where Taylor and East River
unite, to the canon, where Taylor enters the Elk range, or outlet
of the park or basin, about 126 feet to the mile, as shown by the
grade stakes of the Denver & Rio Grande railway survey. The
river makes a canon where it leaves the basin for nearly four
miles. Then the canon opens out to considerable breadth on
each side of the river. A railroad can easily and cheaply be
built up through this canon, with a cost not greater than $3,500 to
$4,500 per mile, from where the track now lies at Fisher's to
within the basin (seventeen miles). The grading is principally
gravel work. There is no danger of snow slides and no danger
of the river ever "gorging" to interfere with the road bed. Where
the river enters the canon (seventeen miles from Fisher's) is the
town site of Taylorville, on magnificent placer ground. From
Taylorville all the above named mining claims are of easy ap-
proach, and for the railroad to reach any of these only a road bed
need be thrown up, little or no grading being required. By re-
ferring to the accompanying hst of mining claims, the revenue to
the railroad can be easily seen. It is twenty-eight miles from
Taylorville to Gunnison City. Below I give the distances from
Taylorville to the different camps within the basin; the popula-
tion of last season, in which will be doubled this; also the output
last season, which was secured by only doing the required assess-
ment for the year, and which output can be increased five to ten
fold this year, if these camps have the outlet given them by a
railroad. Ashcroft is not within the basin, but her inlet and out-
let is through it

1 . Taylorville to Spring Creek

2. Taylorville to Italian Mountain

3. Taylorville to Forrest Hill.

4. Taylorville to Head of Taylor River

5. Taylorville to Ashcroft

6. Taylorville to Beauman

7. Taylorville toTelluride

8. Taylorville to Gold Belt

o Taylorville to Chin's camp -.

10 Taylorville to Texas Creek District
II. Taylorville to Tin Cup




200 to 300 25 20 to
125 to 150I 8120 to

lOD to 1251 S130 to

180 to 250 io'30 to
200 to 350 30125 to

100 to 180
100 to 125
75 to 100

TOO to 125


10 25 to 10

3 35 to 4c
513° to 12

25 to 1751 8J25 to
:So to 40040.35 to

Galena & carbonates


Free gold and galena

Galena and chlorides

Sulphides, carbonates

chlorides, galena

Chlorides and galena
Galena and <;ulphides
Sulphurets, chlorides,

galena and free gold


^^'hat a railroad wants to know in projecting a branch or line
is, what it will cost and what revenue it will have. The answer
here is evident.

A branch line from Fisher's up into this basin would be less
that eighteen miles in length with no hea^y grades, and a safe and
solid road bed all the way, with no blockades in winter from snow.
It would enter a country that would demand supplies, at the
lowest calculation, for 1,500 to 3,000 miners, and it would have
the handling of from 100 to 150 tons of ore per day. If a railroad
was built within reach of the ten camps here shown, in less than
three months 5,000 persons woiild be added to their population
and the output of ore would rise to from 800 to 1,200 tons per
day. Within this basin there is all character of ores — lime, plum-
bago, iron, lead and copper. The entire basin is covered with
good saw-timber and timber for ties, etc. There would be more
revenue to a railroad that would build to it, which is within the
near reach of both the Denver & Rio Grande railroad and the
Denver, South Park & Pacific railroad, than any other line they
can build of 100 miles in extent.

I further promise that, if I can get sufficient encouragement
to make a special work of the Tin Cup, Taylor Park, Ashcroftand
Aspin sections, during the year 18S3, and let the results of such ex-
aminations be known next winter.

I can only add, that very much work has been done during
the past winter and since my personal visits to sections, and in
every instance, the results so far surpass anything that the most
sanguine could have expected in these few^ months.

To Mr. John H. McCoy this work is respectfully dedicated,
as he is doing more than any other one man for Gunnison City
and county, and to him, personally, I owe much for encourage-
ment and aid, to enable me to accomplish what I have done.



Denver, Colo., June i, 1883.





Chapter I

Former Ideas of Gunnison County — View from Marshall Pass, Etc., Etc.

Chapter II 13

Evans' Basin — Ideas on Prospecting— Colorado Anthracite Coal Co , Etc.

Chapter III 18

Fourth of July, 1882— Washington Gulch and Placer Mines of 1859, 'Etc.

Chapter IV 22

Poverty Gulch — Crest of Elk Mountain Range — Little Nell Mining Claim.

Chapter V 28

Iron Swamp. Irwin. Pioneer Mill Forest Queen Mine,

Chapter VI 40

Elk Basin. Geology. Elk and Micawber Claims. Anthracite Coals of
Irwin. Bitun.inous Coals of Ohio Creek. Gunnison City, Etc., Etc.

Chapter VII 55

Durango and Mexico Claims. Iron Basin. Silver Basin. Swan Basin. Etc.

Chapter VIII 64

Anthracite Range and other Mountains. Description ol Coal Measures, Etc

Chapter IX 73

Coal Creek and Redwell Basin Divide. Cause of Iron Swamp and Iron
Spring Peculiarities of the Ruby Silver Belt. Concentration, Etc.

Chapter X : 77

Return to Crested Butte. Mining Claims in 0-be-Joyful Basin, Etc., Etc.

Chapter XI 86

Slate River. Geology of Treasury Mt. and Vicinity. Hawk-Eye Mine, Etc.

Chapter XII 92

Elko a Cash Market for Ores. Copper Creek. Pass to Conundrum Gulch

Chapter XIII 104

Crooke's Station. Tomichi Dome. Hot Springs Park. White Pine, Etc.

Chapter XIV 116

Good-Bye to Crested Butte. From Howville into Gunnison City, Etc., Etc.

Chapter XV 125

A prettily Situated Town. A Superior Railroad Outlet. The Mineral
Farm, a Geological Puzzle. The Silver Islet and Fairview Mines.

Chapter XVI 131

First Knowledge of Tomichi. Fissure Veins of Gold and Silver, Etc., Etc.

Chapter XVII 137

"Misled" Capitalists. Soft and Hard Coal Found in Gunnison. Defini-
tion of "Anthracite," "What Is It?" Beautiful Building Stone, Etc.

Chapter XVIII 15.S

The Final Summing Up of the Work Done.

Gunnison, the Bonanza County.


Former Ideas of Gunnison County — View from Mar-
shall Pass — Gravels at Gunnison City —
Crested Butte — Tertiary Fos-
sils — Crested Butte
Mt — A Dream.

Had anyone said to me in the year 1881 that in 1882
you will be in the Gunnison country, looking it over, the
same as you have done other portions of Colorado, I
would have laughed at them, and replied three to five
years from now will be time enough for that. For the
reason that heretofore it has taken five to ten years to prove
practically the worth of a mining country, that capital
might be induced to invest in means of transportation ; have
mines enough opened to prove to capitalists that there was
sure returns for their investments, as well as possible large
profits ; and on that basis I have always maintained that
the older counties of Colorado were much the best for the
investment of large capital, as they had the following ad-
vantages, viz : mines opened, so that the country was
proved to a point, that the investor could judge, relatively,
what expenditure on an undeveloped property would re-
sult in ; transportation by rail, making in most instances a
cash market at the railroad shipping point ; also a perma-
nent mining population in numbers enough that labor
could be depended upon at fair wages, and last, but not
least, organized sources of supplies, which are brought to
the mining camps and through competition vended at the
lowest possible profits.

Such were my personal ideas and I was free to so express

4 •'••.' ■'- GUNlflSOiVT'HE'' BONANZA COUNTY.-

them ; but this spring I had to acknowledge, that what it
used to take ten years to accomplish in the State of
Colorado is now done in three. That the Gunnison coun-
try has railroad transportation and cash markets for
ores produced; that already it has developed mines proving
the different mining camps; that this year will see it teeming
with a permanent resident mining population; that competi-
tion in the sale of supplies will naturally follow, and the prob-
abilities are,that the next three years will see a greater propor-
tionate demand for Gunnison County mines by capitalists
than any other section of the State.

That at least seven years' time has been saved to the
miners and prospectors of this county is almost wholly due
to the energy, foresight, and business capacity of the mana-
gers of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company. Their
energy is shown in the fact that there is not a mountain canon
that they needed to go up, but they said to their engineers,
"find us a way through," and no matter what the difficul-
ties, it was done. No mountain range has been too high
for their workmen to find a way over. Their foresight is
evidenced by the fact, that their surve}'ing parties passed
into each portion of the State along with, and sometim^es
ahead of the prospectors, so that when they built into a
new country, it was with an almost absolute knowledge of
its resources. Their business capacity is recorded in the
fact, that they have organized and maintained a large and
successful corporation, independendent of any Eastern
clique, but which belongs to the State of, and really repre-
sents Colorado as a railroad organization, and is not the
tail of anything else. To these men much is due in honor
and esteem, as well as profit, by the people of Colorado as
a whole. This is no paid tribute to men who hold promi-
nent positions in the State, for no man nor company pays
me for this kind of work ; and I claim the right to find
fault where I think I can point out the better way, as well


as express my admiration and esteem of men whom I be-
lieve are worthy of it, and have, as I can see, done well.

I came to this part of the country partly on business
for others, with a faint idea I could do a little for myself,
and to get a personal knowledge, as I could work it up, of
the geology of the mining districts on this side of the range.
This part I desire to make public as fast as I can learn it
myself, hoping it may be of benefit to others, of good to
the State as a whole, and a portion of the results fall to me

At Marshall Pass one gets the first view of the country
west of the Continental Divide. On a fine, balmy morn-
ing, a few day since, I stood on the depot platform look-
ing over miles upon miles of country ; diversified by large
valleys, smaller enclosed parks, beautiful winding streams,
far-stretching woodlands, open grass-covered grazing sec-
tions, softly-rounded elevations among the foothills, all
with snow-clad mountain peaks rising heavenward for a

To stand on the edge of all this at an elevation of over
10,800 feet, in such a clear bracing atmosphere, with such
sunlight and gentle breezes as only Colorado can have ; to
look outward and beyond with the feeling that here was a
new country where much was to be learned and told ; to
feel what it possibly might be to the world at large, was to
be overcome with an awe that was mingled with a rever-
ence devoutly thanking God that one was alive, able and
willing to do in this day and year of the Nineteenth

The first thing observed in the decent into the valley
below was its apparent abruptness ; as instead of the long
laborious ascent from the eastern foothills over miles of
uptilted, hard metamorphic rocks, to get to the central
axis, or primitive granite nucleus of the Continental Divide,
here the more recent formations, such as post cretaceous


and tertiary, appear to abut directly against the primitive
granite. These rocks being generally built up of strata of
soft friable sandstone and shale, with intermingled strata of
limestone, most of them not very compact. The rocks
being of this character, the great erosion of these
valleys is accounted for, as well as the low, rounded,
heavily timbered hills making the dividing ridges of the
numerous small valleys of this geologic section. The coun-
try along the railroad appeared to have much of a same-
ness, as to its geology, after descending the mountain slope
through to Gunnison City. Nowhere could I be sure that
I recognized the heavy bedded metamorphic rocks of the
eastern slope, although studying geology on a railroad
train at the rate of fifteen miles an hour is not a method
that insures accuracy.

Having to wait at Gunnison nearly two hours, I took
time to examine the open gravel bed near the depot, feel-
ing sure that here I would find an accumulation of samples
of the country rocks brought down from the heads of the
streams centering here. What struck me first was the great
variety of the boulders representing eruptive rocks, making
fully nine-tenths of the whole, from the earliest granite
porphries, down through the rhyolytes to the most recent
lavas, represented by black vesicular boulders, with very
large air cells, or blebs, in fact a very coarse pomice stone.
Intermingled with these were some of the sandstones evi-
dently only moved a short distance, and occasionally a
black limestone pebble saying, "at my home we have layers
of coal."

All of these samples to me meant business, and were
the first alphabetical letters of my future knowledge, and
gave me the idea of what I ought to find, which would be
outlined in this manner. In places the granite porphyry
outcropping through eroded sedimentary rocks, with pos-
sibly more recent volcanic rocks beyond and higher, caus-


ing- b\' their eruption fissures through the earHer eruptive
as well as the sedimentary rocks. The filling" of these
fissures would be like the ore bodies and mineral veins of
tht)se at present known in other sections, the granite-por-
phyr\' being really the countr)- rock, and only lightly over-
laid with sedimentar}' material. I ought to find these
veins large, continuous, with abundance of mineral, and the
ore possibly of an average high-grade. That is what the
pebbles of the gravel pit said to me ; it remains for future
work to prove how near I read them aright.

Leaving Gunnison Junction, the. railroad follows Slate
river westward for about thirty miles, gradually climbing in
that distance nearl}' 3,000 feet, and having for its terminus
on this branch, the town of Crested Butte, the place taking
its name from the most prominent landmark at the
entrance to this geological basin. This town is located in
one of the finest Colorado valleys that I have seen, Avith
every evidence of natural wealth second to none, to be re-
alized upon by the labor and capital of the future. Just

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryJohn K HallowellGunnison, Colorado's Bonanza Co. → online text (page 1 of 14)