Lake County Colorado Gold Production

Posted July 16, 2009 in Gold Mining


Click here for the Principle Gold Producing Districts of the United States Index

Lake County lies near the center of Colorado in a mountainous area that extends from the crest of the Mosquito Range on the east to the crest of the Sawatch Range on the west. The Arkansas River heads in Lake County and flows south across the middle of the county.

Colorado's most important mining districts, Leadville and Climax, are in Lake County; however, only Leadville is important as a source of gold. Relatively small amounts of gold have come from placers in the Arkansas River valley. Through 1959 Lake County produced about 2,983,000 ounces of gold as well as large amounts of silver, molybdenum, lead, zinc, and copper.

Most of the placer gold production in Lake County has come from California Gulch in the Leadville district, but some has come from many other tributaries of the Arkansas River. The more productive of these were Box and Lake Creeks, which enter the Arkansas River valley from the Sawatch Range in southern Lake County.

Although many of the gold placers in the Arkansas River valley were found in 1859 and in the early 1860's, their discovery and subsequent history and production were obscured by news of the richer discoveries in California Gulch; consequently,, early production is unknown. No placers were worked in Lake County during 1886-1914. From 1915 to 1924 a bucket dredge, known as the Derry Dredge, operated successfully along the valley of lower Box Creek (Vanderwilt, in Vanderwilt and others, 1947, p. 126). These and later operations along Box Creek yielded about 39,000 ounces of gold. Total production of the district through 1959 was about 41,000 ounces. The placers were virtually idle from 1948 through 1959.

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Did You Know.......

A mine is a hole in the ground, owned by a liar.
-Mark Twain


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