By Vickie McDonough
I visited Leadville, Colorado, when I was on a trip with my good friend, Margaret Daley, and was duly impressed with it’s quaint and colorful Victorian homes, majestic scenery, it’s historic buildings, and fascinating history. At an elevation of 10,430 feet, Leadville was often called “The Two Mile High City” or “Cloud City,” both fitting names. Located at the foot of two of Colorado's highest peaks, Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, Leadville is one of America's last remaining authentic mining towns.
|Colorfully painted house|
Leadville was founded in 1877 by mine owners Horace Austin, Warner Tabor, and August Meyer, setting off the Colorado Silver Boom. By 1880, Leadville was one of the world's largest silver camps, with a population of over 40,000.
|A Leadville church with mountains in the background.|
The desperate townspeople proposed a mammoth ice castle with the hopes it would draw sightseers, create jobs, and rescue the town's sagging economy. Charles E. Jay, an architect who had designed an ice palace in St. Paul, Minnesota, was hired as the designer, and Tingley S. Wood was hired to build the ice palace. The Leadville Ice Company got the contract to produce the ice.
|Leadville's Crystal Palace|
Construction began November 1, 1895 with a crew of 250 men working round the clock. The finished palace was more than 58,000 square feet—as big as a football field, and made of 180,000 board feet of lumber and 5,000 tons of ice. The palace was supported by a complex frame work of trusses, girders and timber, with the ice for appearance only. The ice was trimmed to size and placed in forms, then sprayed with water, which served as mortar to bind the blocks together. The towers reached 90 feet high by 40 feet wide.
Over 250,000 people visited the Ice Palace, which boasted a skating rink, a restaurant, a ballroom, a dance floor, gaming rooms, and a carousel house. Admission was 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children. But despite all, the Ice Palace was a financial disaster for its investors, so they abandoned plans to build one each winter, but it remains a fascinating part of Leadville's history.
When Sarah Marshall’s wagon breaks down near a stage stop on the Santa Fe Trail, marriage proposals fly in faster than the incessant wind, but only one man interests Sarah—and he’s not proposing.
Ethan Harper’s well-ordered life is thrown into turmoil when an uppity city gal is stranded at his family’s stage stop. Now his two brothers and every unmarried male in the county are wooing Miss Priss. When one brother proposes, Ethan is in turmoil. Is it because she’s the wrong woman for his brother —or the right one for Ethan?