Leadville (lĕdˈvĭl) [key], mining city (1990 pop. 2,629), alt. c.10,200 ft (3,110 m), seat of Lake co., central Colo., near the headwaters of the Arkansas River, in the Rocky Mts.; inc. 1878. Some mining and smelting are still carried on (at nearby Climax are huge deposits of molybdenum), and farming, ranching, and the tourist trade have kept this famous city from becoming another ghost town. Rich placer gold deposits were discovered c.1860 in California Gulch. Oro City, the principal camp, flourished for about two years. The camps were virtually deserted until 1877, when the discovery of carbonates of lead with a high silver content again transformed Oro City into a boomtown. By 1880, two years after its incorporation, Leadville had become one of the greatest silver camps in the world. In 1893, with the repeal of the Sherman Silver Act, silver mining collapsed; but in the late 1890s, with the discovery of gold nearby, Leadville again revived. The spectacular history of Leadville is epitomized in the life of Horace Tabor. Points of interest include the restored Tabor home; the Matchless Mine, now a museum; and the Healy House–Dexter Cabin Museums.
See E. Blair, Leadville: Colorado's Magic City (1984).