With legs and lungs in need of a break from the vertical realities of this part of the Rocky Mountains, Bobbie and I suggested a "strolling exploration" of some old mining ruins and ghost towns up on "Red."
Ironton was't even on the map back in the early 1880's when the "boom" hit. Silver and lead and gold, oh my. Within three weeks, three hundred buildings went under construction. Boom! In its brief "heyday," Ironton's population peaked at over 1000, and two daily trains made their way up over Red Mountain Pass from Silverton to service the demand. Gold fever, it seemed, was a highly contagious disease, still is to some extent as a few mines around here are beginning to reopen… betting that Govie's massive debt will eventually inflate the "dollar" out of any practical worth.
Ironton's Demand for building and mining supplies was so immediate that shop owners in Silverton and Ouray threw up branch stores, trying to keep pace with the boom and "opportunity." Silly little things like picks and shovels and wheelbarrows will fetch ridiculous prices when demand is lined up out the door. Good old capitalistic economics… "Guns and Butter," baby. Gold fever usually turns into a race, and as with any race, there are few winners and lots of losers.
Most of Ironton has collapsed under the weight of a century's worth of snow or succumbed to fire. At near 10,000 feet, 8 to 20 feet of the white plague was not uncommon, and fire, well, it loves to consume wooden towns. Understandable, if not understated, it was an obscenely difficult life. Some of the dwellings have layers of old newspapers plastered on interior walls, no doubt to keep drafts to a minimum. It's always fun to read them. Sadly, I've notice they are being peeled away and carted off, probably as souvenirs.
|Above, an old Kansas City newspaper. Note the new two seater carriage for only 45 dollars.|
Below, a Colorado newspaper.
Get Jim and Gayle's perspectives over at Life's Little Adventures… some of which seem to be getting a whole lot bigger lately :)
|What a difference a few months makes…|