HISTORIC HOUSES IN LEADVILLE
Leadville is rich in history. Gold was first discovered here in 1860 and by the fall, Leadville’s population peaked, reaching 10,000. Many of the houses have been standing since people were mining silver and gold here in the 1800s.
The Delaware Hotel has some serious history in Leadville. It was built in the 1800s during the Gold Rush by the Callaway Brothers when they came to Colorado to get rich as merchants. George King was the architect of this $80,000 project. He also designed the hotel across the street that is now used as housing. They finished the construction of Delaware Block in 1886 and sold the store on the first floor in 1890. They sold the whole building in 1946 for $40,000. It was sold a couple more times until 1986 when it finally reopened as a hotel. Now it’s being renovated and will feature a new restaurant, bar, and cafe.
The hotel is said to be haunted by Mary Coffey who was shot by her husband outside the hotel in 1889. She is said to wander the halls of the hotel and some staff even say they have seen one of the Callaway brothers around with her.
The Governor’s Mansion is the house of Jesse F. McDonald. He moved to Leadville from Ohio to start his career in mining in 1879. Within five years, he became the owner of the Harvard, Penrose, and El Dorado mines. He was the mayor of Leadville from 1899-1905 and was elected state senator representing Lake County. In 1904, he was elected as Lieutenant Governor. On March 16, 1905, Colorado had three governors in one day. Alva Adams won as governor and took office in 1905, but when the legislature met a few days later, his opposing candidate, James H. Peabody, contested his election. Peabody replaced Adams under the condition that he immediately resign thus yielding his position to McDonald. He remained the governor of Colorado until 1907. He built the house to entertain guests that would travel to Leadville and it is now part of Leadville’s Historic District.
The Mayor’s Manor was named after James (Jim) E. Martin who served as the mayor of Leadville and a Lake County Commissioner in the 1980s. Jim was instrumental in creating the Mineral Belt Trail and cleaning up the water from mining drainage alongside the Environmental Protection Agency. The architect, E.H. Dimick designed Mayor’s Manor and its neighboring house. It was built in 1898 and still has some of the original hardware on the windows and fireplaces. The house was bought by Jim and his family in 1969 and his five children still own it today. All 17 members of the Martin family use the house when they ski, snowshoe, run, and hike around Leadville.