Mining History Association

 

18th Annual Conference, June 7-10, 2007

National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum

Leadville, Colorado

 

 

MATCHLESS MINE PHOTO GALLERY

The Matchless Mine on Fryer Hill in Leadville was the source of wealth for Horace A. W. Tabor.  In the 1870’s, Tabor and his wife, Augusta, ran a general store in Leadville.  He grubstaked the prospectors who discovered the Little Pittsburgh Mine, a rich silver producer.  He sold his share of that mine and purchased the Matchless.  With his earnings from the Matchless he became one of the richest men in Colorado.  He established a number of businesses in Leadville including the Tabor Opera House. Later he pursued a career in politics and served briefly in the U. S. Senate.  After a divorce from Augusta he married Elizabeth “Baby Doe” McCourt.  He lost his fortune in the 1893 silver panic and died in 1899.  Legend has it that he told Baby Doe to “Hold on to the Matchless” which he believed still contained rich ore.  She tried to heed his advice but eventually lost control of the mine.  She continued to live at the mine until the winter of 1935 when it was discovered that she had frozen to death.  Her story inspired the opera “The Ballad of Baby Doe.”

 

Today the Matchless Mine with the building in which Baby Doe lived and died is a popular tourist attraction.  We are grateful to Johnny and Dawn Johnsson and their children for sharing their photographs of their visit to the Matchless.

CLICK ON A PHOTO TO DISPLAY A LARGER IMAGE


The mine building that served as Baby Doe Tabor’s home at the Matchless Mine.

The headframe of the Matchless Mine which produced the silver that made H. A. W. Tabor one of Colorado’s richest men.

Inside Baby Doe’s restored cabin at the Matchless Mine.

Newspaper offered little insulation for the cabin in the winter of 1935.

Period furnishings in Baby Doe’s cabin.

View of the Matchless shaft, headframe, and ore car.

The mine hoist for the Matchless shaft.

The powder magazine at the Matchless Mine.


Photo Credits: Johnny Johnsson


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