It was an era referred to around the world as the era of "Top Hats
and Tenderloins" and there was no place in the world that better
depicted that marvelous era than Leadville, Colorado during its
Silver Boom years in the late 1800's.
Although Leadville's first boom was in 1860 with Abe Lee's discovery
of gold, which he named the California Gulch, it was a temporary boom
that lasted only a few short years. Gold was suddenly discovered over
the Mosquito Range at Buckskin Joe (near present day Fairplay), and
the Leadville area quickly became virtually deserted as thousands
headed for the new-found gold fields over Mosquito Pass.
It wasn't until 15 or 16 years later in the late 1870's that the
discovery of massive quantities of lead carbonate (rich in silver
content, and much of it in the tailings left from the countless holes left in
the mountains from the earlier gold mining activity), caused the Leadville mining
district to explode into a community of instant millionaires, (now
wearing their stylish top hats so popular back east). Leadville became a community composed
of a thriving red light district, countless saloons and miners willing
to spend their wages for the pleasures of a wild night out. Although
prostitution was never really legal in Leadville, its red light district was huge...
and the streets of
Leadville were lined with saloons. It was estimated that during its peak,
Leadville residents were consuming over 200 kegs of beer alone... EVERY DAY!
It is said that every legitimate (and illegitimate) western character
came to Leadville at one time or another... and although names like the
Cole-Younger Gang, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Texas Jack, Oscar Wilde,
and countless others are known to have stayed in the wild Leadville
community, there are other names that perhaps tell best why Leadville
truly was a community of "Top Hats and Tenderloins..."
Horace & Augusta Tabor, who became millionaires overnight from a
grubstake at the Little Pittsburg Mine in Leadville, later
became the subject of an international story of scandal as then Senator
Tabor became involved with Baby Doe in a love tryst that made front page news
across the country... it is perhaps the most famous story of
rags-to-riches-and-back-to-rags in the annals of early western history.
There was Doc Holliday of Tombstone fame, once a noted dentist from Georgia,
who dealt faro
at Leadville's famous Hyman's Saloon (still located on
Harrison Ave in Leadville) and who was involved in his final shoot-out at
that same saloon with Billy Allen... a broke and dying man, Holliday spent
54 days in the Leadville jail after the shooting, unable to post bond...
Big Nosed Kate, a prostitute who long claimed to have been married
to Doc, was at his side when he eventually died from his nagging tuberculosis.
Margaret (Unsinkable Molly) Brown and her husband JJ Brown found instant
wealth in the mines right here in Leadville. Although Molly Brown is
perhaps best remembered for her role in the Titanic disaster, her roots
are right here in Leadville.
And perhaps one of the most infamous of all documented con-artists of the
early west... Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith, who ran cons on the streets
of Leadville with his "tender" wife, until asked "politely" to leave... and
was later shot dead by a vigilante group in Skagway, Alaska...
There is no place like Leadville, Colorado where you can experience
these past tales of days gone by... visit the world famous Matchless
Mine, the Tabor Opera House
and the Tabor Home... the National Mining Hall of Fame will keep you
entertained for hours, and the Healy House and Dexter Cabin will take
you back to yester-year as no place in Colorado can... and yet, there's
one more place you CAN'T miss...
Stop in at the Golden Burro Cafe Lounge located at 710 Harrison Ave for a
REAL step back in time. Here you can enjoy a delicious breakfast, lunch
or dinner, or relax in our lounge for a break from your travels.
If you're into Olde Tyme Photos, play the part of Leadville's most famous
personalities... Custom made costumes provided which depict the most famous
(or infamous) of Leadville's amazing history. Portray the part(s) of:
- Tycoon Horace and Baby Doe Tabor...
- rainbow riches
- Gunslinger Doc Holliday and his self proclaimed wife, Big Nosed Kate...
- Con man Soapy Smith and his "wife"...
- J.J. and Margaret (unsinkable Molly) Brown...
These one-of-a-kind olde tyme photo sessions can only be found at the
Golden Burro CafĂ© & Lounge in the one and only Leadville, Colorado!
Into melodramas? Here's nightlife in Leadville at its best. Dinner served
in our historical restaurant, followed with cocktails or soft drinks in our
"Brass Ass" theatre, while you boo, hiss and cheer in the "not-so-true"
adult world of Leadville's past (we're really not so sure that Doc Holliday's
mistress, Big Nosed Kate was actually friends with Augusta Tabor, but what
the heck... it's adult fun at it's best!). Enjoy an evening of dinner and
entertainment as a "dinner-theatre package" or just come by for the performance.
(Reservations suggested - because of adult theme, children under 16 are not advised).
Click here for performance dates and times.
Poker is also played on selected nights here (Texas hold'em). Because
of Colorado gaming laws, these games are just for fun and there is no charge
of any kind to enter the games, but we feature the dealers, cards, chips
and tables, and you'll enjoy playing in historic Leadville where the honky
tonk piano and bubbly waitresses will make your poker playing a true Leadville
experience you won't soon forget. We'll even snap a photo of you playing
at the table if you'd like, to show your friends you gambled in the nation's
highest poker game at 10,186 feet above sea level!
For more information on dates, prices and options please drop us a line.
We'll respond quickly with answers to any questions you might have. Olde
tyme photos are taken all day and walk-ins are welcome. Our performance
schedules for our melodrama and other exciting entertainment features
like our "Discover Leadville" production featuring Gretchen Scanlon;
musical and comedy acts...
photo cut out. If you'd
Contact Thomas E Cooke,
folding reading glasses