Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Lowdown in Leadville

Leadville's Tabor Opera House, built in the heyday of the silver boom.

When I researched and wrote Baby Doe Tabor: Matchless Silver Queen, my award-winning biography of Elizabeth Tabor, my search for information about The Tabors and their Matchless Mine took me to the nooks and crannies of Leadville’s mining district. 
This June, I was invited by Bob Hartzell, former director of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in Leadville, to present Elizabeth Tabor's story during a special event. The plan was to invite museum members to a banquet honoring Mrs. Tabor, followed by my PowerPoint presentation about the Tabors’ life in the boom town and my research findings. Guests were invited to wear period clothing, which motivated participants, including myself, to show off Victorian finery. A signed copy of Baby Doe Tabor was included at each place setting.
After the banquet, the group of twenty people drove to the shack at the Matchless Mine where Mrs. Tabor lived her final years. We shared more stories in the dimly lit cabin. Although we witnessed no supernatural occurrences, we felt strongly that Mrs. Tabor’s spirit was present.
The next morning, we met again at the Matchless Mine for a tour of the site. Our guide was retired geologist Fred Mark, a remarkable researcher who combined a passion for history with his professional knowledge and expertise in geology and mining. After hiking over some rough terrain to study the property, we returned to the restored headframe where I signed more books.
The weekend was easily one of my most fun and fascinating experiences as a writer. Leadville is still working its magic, and I look forward to more adventures there.
Leadville, 100 miles west of Denver, boasts many historic attractions. Stop by the visitors’ center on Harrison Avenue to pick up brochures and maps, for current access, hours, and road conditions. They can provide directions for a walking tour in town as well.
Joyce B. Lohse is administrator for Women Writing the West. When she is not writing historical biographies, she enjoys lurking around in cemeteries and archives looking for stories.


Unknown said...

Great photo at the Matchless cabin and a great event. Go Baby Doe!

M. M. Justus said...

I haven't been to Leadville since I was a teenager. One of these years...

Renaissance Women said...

Joyce, as usual you bring the area and the event to life. I could see it all in my mind. Thank you. Doris

Heidiwriter said...

What a great experience! Congratulations again on your book!

Jane said...

I love the cover, Joyce. And great idea to give people a signed copy. I hope the museum purchased those from you or your publisher. That's always a nice bonus.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, all, for nice comments! This was a gratis event, to support restoration efforts to the cabin. I pushed for books at place settings. Locale precluded folks outside of Leadville from attending. I enjoyed the event for ambiance, interaction, and historical significance. My publisher calls these "intangibles."
-- Joyce