COBWEB CORNERS: Gold and silver claims near Woodland
By Mel McFarland
In the rush to Cripple Creek gold, other areas claimed to have prospects as good. In 1891 gold was found in Ute Pass as well as in Woodland Park. In 1892 the area around Manitou Park was next. Manitou Park had already become known as a resort, with a hotel and several dozen cabins, fish pond and even a race track!
A mine was started after a sample of fine ore was found a few miles north of Woodland Park. The camp, named the Manitou Park District, was eight square miles, bordered on the east by the granite hills, and the west by the stream near the old railway line. The discoveries ran about four miles through the district.
The first exploration was at the Leonetti Claim. Located by Jack Templeton and others in about 1890, it was abandoned until the spring of 1892. A Mr. Jenson of Colorado City reopened the workings. Miners also found silver, and as the hole was deepened more was found. The hole went down about 100 feet.
Several other prospect holes were started during the summer and fall. Examples of claim names were the Lizzie W., Savage, Red Bug, Robins Nest, Orphan Girl, Teller and Colorado City. The camp was busy as winter approached.
Stock in the Leonetti was set at $1 million, with shares a dollar each. Many prominent Colorado Springs businessmen invested in the claim, and stock was also offered at 10 cents a share to build a mill to process the ores found. Potential investors were invited to visit the claim that December. Some 60 people made the trip. They took the Colorado Midland to Woodland Park, followed by a carriage ride to the camp. The group inspected the Leonetti and its stockpile of ready ore and looked at plans to build a generator and install electric lights in the mine. They also visited several prospect holes up to 25 feet deep.
Through the winter, the mines worked continually, but the Leonitti Claim seems to have been very short-lived. The Cripple Creek mines overshadowed it, as well as the camps in Ute Pass. Plus, in 1893 a great financial crash caused the price of silver to tumble. There was even a slowdown in the gold fields. I am still reading old newspapers about these discoveries. As I learn more, I will put it in this column!