The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) will temporarily close the Matchless Mine to the public starting August 20 due to earthmoving operations that are part of a project to rehabilitate the No. 6 hoist house.
The site will remain closed through the first week of September; the exact reopening date will depend on how quickly the work progresses. After the site reopens, tours led by trained guides will be offered through the end of September. No self-guided tours will be available after the site reopens while rehabilitation work continues.
NMHFM and HistoriCorps are partners in the rehabilitation project. The project is funded in part by a History Colorado State Historical Fund grant of $104,332 and a $29,000 grant from the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation on behalf of the Climax-Area Community Investment Fund, both awarded to NMHFM in 2019.
The project’s focus is to rehabilitate and stabilize the No. 6 hoist house, an important Matchless Mine structure that is in danger of collapse. The hoist house contained the hoist that raised and lowered miners and ore in the No. 6 shaft at the mine. The weight of snow on the roof from more than a century of Leadville winters, lateral soil movement causing pressure on the walls and wet conditions around the foundation have caused the building to sag and lean. According to NMHFM, the building will not survive for many more years without rehabilitation.
The Matchless Mine produced large amounts of silver ore that helped to make Horace Tabor and his second wife, Baby Doe, fabulously wealthy. Horace Tabor served as Leadville’s mayor, Colorado’s lieutenant governor, and U.S. senator. The mine was associated with the Tabors from 1879, when Horace Tabor purchased it, until 1935, when Baby Doe died of heart failure in the former superintendent’s cabin. The Leadville Assembly gave the Matchless Mine to NMHFM in 2006. The mine has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2010.
HistoriCorps is the general contractor for the project. HistoriCorps is a nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging volunteers in preserving and sustaining historic structures on public lands, and private lands accessible to the public, for future generations. Since its founding in 2007, HistoriCorps has preserved more than 180 historic structures in 23 states and engaged more than 1,500 volunteers in more than 80,000 hours of service and training. All work will comply with The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring, and Reconstructing Historic Buildings.
Scheuber + Darden Architects will oversee construction to assure that the contractor completes the work according to approved construction documents. Metcalf Archaeological Consultants will ensure that the project complies with all federal, state and local cultural resource laws, regulations and requirements. Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers, Digger Dan and All Angle Construction are subcontractors.
The hoist house project is the latest effort to preserve the Matchless Mine for future generations. The State Historical Fund, Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety and El Pomar Foundation financially supported rehabilitation of the mine’s powder magazine in 2014-2015. Grants from the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, El Pomar Foundation and the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation enabled NMHFM to partner successfully with HistoriCorps in 2017 to preserve the No. 6 headframe.
The Matchless Mine is open for self-guided surface tours from 11 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through August 19. Guided tours are available at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. All visitors to the Matchless Mine are requested to maintain social distancing and wear a face mask to protect the staff and other visitors from COVID-19.
Visit www.mininghalloffame.org for more information about tours at the Matchless Mine.