Highlights from 

The Herald Democrat

50 years ago

300 Millionth Ton Produced At Climax

January 23, 1973


Monday morning, employees of the Climax Molybdenum Co. mine located at Climax, Colorado, produced the 300 millionth ton of molybdenite ore from Bartlett Mountain, near Leadville. The Climax Mine has produced more ore than any other underground mine in North America and continues to produce nearly 14,000,000 tons of raw ore each year.

To visualize the volume of 300 million tons of rock is difficult. The company’s engineering section released the following comparison.

“The excavation of 300 million tons of rock would permit the driving of a tunnel, in the diameter of the Straight Creek Tunnel, from the Colorado State Capital building in downtown Denver, westward beneath the Continental Divide to a point 35 miles beyond Salt Lake City, Utah. That’s 300 million tons.”

The Climax Mine, operated as a division of American Metal Climax Inc. (AMAX), has been the world’s leading molybdenum producer since the mine began operations in 1918. Molybdenum is a prominent metal throughout the industrial world. Moly, as it is commonly called, is used primarily as an element in upgrading iron, steel and nonferrous superalloys. Substantial amounts of molybdenum compounds are also used as lubricants, additives, pigments and catalysts.

According to production figures from the Climax mining engineering section, the 300 millionth ton of ore was produced from the Phillipson level of the mine. After more than 40 years as a producing area supplying a major portion of the mine’s total production, the Phillipson level is nearing exhaustion. Continued operations from the mine’s main producing level, the Storke, and from the new 600 level will maintain Climax production at its 43,000-ton-per-day capacity.

In announcing the production milestone, Climax Resident Manager Donald B. Achttien paid tribute to each of the nearly 1,700 Climax employees. “Every Climax employee since our mine began producing nearly 55 years ago has a share in the significance of this production achievement,” Achttien said.

The 200 millionth ton production mark was gained less than seven years ago, on January 27, 1966. Ore reserves of the Climax molybdenum deposit have been estimated to provide the Climax Mine with an additional 30 to 40-year life span.

Truce Observed Solemnly In Leadville

January 29, 1973


The hurrah of the Armistice was absent. The gay celebrating of the end of World War II was conspicuous by its absence.

The 5 p.m. observance of the Vietnam peace truce on Saturday, January 27, was a solemn affair. The handful of mothers present had dewy eyes as they looked at their sons present and at the young Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts who participated in the flag raising and lowering at the Elks Home. Their eyes hopefully expressed the prayer that the young men will never again have to see action on foreign shores.

Respect for the flag was registered boldly when a young Cub Scout late for the ceremony came dashing at top speed down Fifth Street to the Elks Home. As he spied the flag, he raised his hand to his forehead and let it remain there all the time he was running.

This was an impressive part of the entire ceremony for American Legion and VFW members present who in their time have been sickened by desecration of the flag.

The brief ceremony consisted of Scouts Robert Key and Kerry Warford raising the flag to the top and then lowering it. Once the flag was lowered, it was presented to Charles Weber and Joe Dwyer, two Elks officers and Vietnam veterans. The two then presented the folded flag to Exalted Ruler Chet Magill. Magill said the flag would be placed in the display case of the Elks for posterity.

The flag which was lowered Saturday represents the eighth flag which has been flown constantly — day and night — since Nov. 15, 1967. On that date a motion made on the floor of the Elks Lodge by Roy Longwell, seconded by Norman Nellson, was to the effect that the American flag would be flown day and night until peace was declared in Vietnam. Both men were present, as was Roger Pierce, exalted ruler at the time the motion was passed.

Participating Boy and Cub Scouts, Troop 69 and Pack 68, are sponsored by the Elks Lodge.

From now on it will be the duty of the Boy Scouts to raise the flag in the morning and take it down each evening. To make it convenient for them, the flag will be stored during the night in the sheriff’s office.

During the five years of the Elks flying a flag, three of those flags were stolen. In the weather continuously a flag lasts about a year.


Jack Longwell said of the truce “Since I have a son that would be subject to call to the Armed Services four years from now, I hope it lasts.”

Chuck Weber: “As long as there is a lasting peace, we obviously didn’t go over there for nothing.

“For 12 months I carried the Elks flag which was given to me at my initiation into the Lodge in Alamosa. I carried it with me to Vietnam where it hung on my wall during that time. I brought it back with me.”

Weber served with the 268th aviation battalion. Upon his discharge, he settled in Leadville to become an employee of Public Service Co. His service in Vietnam was from August 1969 to August 1970.

Joe Dwyer served with the 189th Assault Helicopter group from April 1967 to Feb. 1968. The ceremony brought him mixed emotions. He remarked, “I hope we accomplished something, but I am not so sure. I am glad it is over and hope it is over.”

Joe was working at Climax when he entered the Armed Services.

Upon his discharge he returned to Climax where he is a programmer in the computer operations of the company.

For Frank Hinman the ceremony marked the third time he witnessed the ending of a war. He was a youth living in Buena Vista when the Armistice of World War I was declared. He saw the celebration in Denver when World War II ended. He was a member of the 10th Mt. Division in World War II. On Saturday’s ceremony he said sadly, “And I don’t think it is over with yet.”

World War I veteran Milt Thelin wanted to talk more about the respect he had seen paid to the flag on Saturday afternoon than he did about his participation in the first conflict, or seeing a daughter do her part in World War II and a grandson in the Vietnam fracas.

Milt said, “I have been a flag waver all my life. I don’t like to see the flag desecrated. It warmed the knuckles of my heart to see so much attention being paid to the flag after it has been spit on.”

For Lorraine and Norman Nellson, the Elks flag ceremony was a combination of many memories. Norman was a member of the 10th Mt. Division in World War II. Lorraine Thelin Nellson was with the 1st Air Force in World War II.

Doug Brown, son of Lorraine Nellson, was in the Air Force four years serving in Thailand during the Vietnam conflict.

Kenneth Nellson, son of Norman Nellson, was discharged from the service in May 1972 after serving two years. He was stationed in Germany where he worked on B-52 bombers.

Lorraine Nellson is commander of American Legion Post No. 7. Doug Brown is senior vice commander of VFW Post 859.

Norman Nellson said, “The truce will not be complete until we get our boys home and get our prisoners of war home. This was worried me getting the POWs home.”

This was “end of the war” 1973 fashion. Any celebrating done in the bars was a quiet, serious discussion among friends engaging in lifting one or two as a memento of a significant event.

Today’s Chuckle


Typing isn*t bad? once you get the hangk ofjit.

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