Saturday, October 20, 2018

Silver Plume

Remember our trip on the train?  Well - while we were there we learned about a town called Silver Plume . The buildings were amazing, and old. And the history!! I always think I could live in the olden days, but in reality - I sorta like electricity!

Check out this one - what do you think it sold back in the day?

Silver Plume was founded in 1869 near the rich silver mines west of Georgetown, CO.  Only a couple of buildings were built in 1869.
By 1872 Silver Plume had become a town of around 500 residents, with a thriving commercial district. The town continued to grow as the silver industry boomed in the area, reaching over 2,000 residents before 1893.

Many other legends abound about the small "Living Ghost Town". One involves a citizen from the mining days, Clifford Griffin. 

According to legend, Mr. Griffin came from the state of New York, where he was raised. Griffin became engaged in New York, but his fiance tragically, and mysteriously, died the night before their wedding. Her death was contributed to unnameable "natural causes", and to escape the painful memories of his beloved, he moved to Colorado with his brother, who eventually became the owner of the 7:30 Mine (named because their day shift started a generous hour later than the other mines, who started at 6:30 AM).

Brewery Spring - the Brewery burned in 1889

Clifford became the manager of the 7:30, and was much loved by his miners for his kindness. 

According to local legend, every Christmas he bought all his miners a goose for their families, and every Fourth of July, he paid off every bar between Silver Plume and current-day Bakerville 4 miles to the west, so his miners could enjoy their holiday without spending their family's money. Not only did he take care of his miners, every evening he provided them with entertainment as well. Since he could not bear the daily sight of his men with their wives and families after his tragedy, he spent a great deal of time near the entrance to the 7:30, which sits about 1,500 feet  above the town of Silver Plume. Every evening he would sit near the edge of a nearby cliff and play his violin. Due to the incredible acoustics of the valley, the entire town could step outside and listen to his concerts.
Methodist Church

One evening, after a particularly beautiful recital, the residents heard a gunshot. Assuming the worst, the miners of the 7:30 raced up the trail to the entrance, and there they found Clifford Griffin, shot through the heart, in a grave he'd dug himself. A note in the nearby Manager's Office told the tale. It asked the residents of Silver Plume to leave him where he lay, because that's where he'd experienced the most happiness since his wife died. Not only did they follow his request, the town erected a 10-foot-tall Gunnison Granite monument in his honor, directly on top of his grave site. The monument can still be seen today, on the cliffs directly in front of the 7:30 Mine.

Disaster would strike the town in 1884 as a fire destroyed most of the business district, with damages said to reach $100,000 and several lives lost. With the local mining industry still enjoying prosperity, most of the town was rebuilt.
Disaster would return in 1899, but this time in the form of a giant avalanche. Newspapers reported that on February 12, "two mighty avalanches, combining into one, swept down Cherokee Gulch carrying away a dozen or more mine buildings, cabins, and machinery, and causing great loss of life. How many dead bodies lie in this great mass of show and debris will not be known before spring. Eight dead bodies are now at the morgue."

Many of Main Street’s false-front buildings were erected immediately after Silver Plume’s disastrous fire of 1884 ( like that below)

Former Silver Plume School

This is a  two-story, four-classroom, 1894 brick schoolhouse, where classes were last held in 1959. A sign proclaims that this school, is a “State of Colorado Standard School Approved Class.” Today the building is the George Rowe Museum, named for an eighty-seven-year resident of Silver Plume who donated much of the memorabilia inside. 

Silver Plume Jail
This is the Silver Plume Jail.  it was built in 1875. One of the Chief tenants was Jack McDonald, a scotch irish miner and previous owner of the 730 mine. The jail closed in 1915


julieQ said...

I love Silver Plume! Did you happen to get to go into the mine?

Barob Book Blog said...

Very interesting information and history in the I-70 corridor. It’s definitely on my list of things to do and your photos are inspiring. Thanks for showing us some very sites in CO.

Terri said...

I say it was a bakery... I remember the one in my little town, it had big windows showing off the breads and other goodies. We shared a cream puff.
Thanks for the stories from the old town.

Melody A. said...

love seeing this historic photos of a by gone era that most of us have little idea of how to survive in that time , lost skills. Happy Sewing from Iowa

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I've heard of Silver Plume, but not any of it's history. Thanks.

Quiltdivajulie said...

So many cool old buildings and stories to go with them. TERRIFIC post.

c said...

Thank you for sharing this

Farm Quilter said...

My parents were always of the opinion that back roads were always the best...because you could find wonderful places like Silver Plume. Old mining towns are so fascinating to me, probably because Virginia City is so close to where I grew up in Nevada. I'll have to put Silver Plume on my bucket list of places to visit in Colorado! Thanks for sharing your trip there!!

Kate said...

Looks like a very cool place to spend the day. Lots of history there.

The Joyful Quilter said...

You visit the most interesting places!!