Leadville, Colorado
the Silver Boom
of the 1880's


Harmon and a partner invested in silver mine at Leadville, Colorado. When the mine came in rich, he and his wife went to Leadville. It was a wild frontier town... Harmon lost one eye in a mine accident. The two traveled back and forth between Colorado and Iowa and finally brought their family to Leadville. On one occasion Louisa (his wife) and the children were on the train when it was stopped by robbers… the women and children were told they would not be harmed if they kept quiet.


Next they moved to the Grand Valley, near Palisade, Colorado, where Harmon had peach orchards. He was influential in getting irrigation started, and was director of a bank.” “Later they moved to California where he developed lemon orchards at Whittier.


mouse over pictures for captions - click for expanded view

"Farming is not for the

weak-of-heart. Like gambling, today’s fortunes can quickly

become tomorrow’s losses."


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When to Hold and When to Fold

Leadville claimed it created more millionaires in a ten-year period than any other city in the world. Amidst the gaudy nighttime atmosphere, a high-society of upper-class social life arose. Harmon and his partner bought and sold the Little Johnny Mine very quickly and profitably. Although Leadville had produced more than $200 million in silver ore, repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1893 made silver almost worthless. (Photos courtesy of www.miningartifacts.org)