Highlights from

The Herald Democrat

50 Years Ago

Vandals Desecrate Jewish Cemetery

September 3, 1970


Desecration in one of its vilest forms came to Leadville sometime during the last week of August with wanton destruction in the Leadville Jewish Cemetery that brings sorrow and shame to the hearts of everyone who cares. While groups do all they can to preserve much of Leadville’s fantastic heritage, some people made a shambles of the Jewish Cemetery, a burial plot near Evergreen Cemetery.

A majority of the tombstones in the Jewish Cemetery were knocked from their bases, a number of the gravestones were smashed to bits—especially the old sandstone monuments, and the even older wooden grave slabs were broken beyond repair. The action was the total desecration of this historical burying ground.

For many years, tourists, photographers and historically-minded persons have visited this cemetery with a deep and abiding interest in the unusual tombstones with their Jewish inscriptions. Many persons prominent in Leadville’s early-day history are entombed there. The cemetery presents perhaps one of the most interesting burial grounds in Colorado.

For the past three years, members of the Herald Democrat staff have been photographing these tombstones, hoping that the day would come when a detailed and meaningful story could be written. We have deliberately held off from doing that story and presenting those pictures for one reason: it was feared that bringing attention to the Jewish Cemetery would result in the very thing that happened a week ago. It was feared that ghouls would mark the cemetery as another spot to perpetrate their sacrilegious work. This they have now done.

Many persons in Leadville are unaware of the prominent and proud role that the Jewish people played in the early days of the Silver City, or the fact that Leadville at one time boasted of having two synagogues—one located at the corner of West Fourth and Pine, and the other at 111 West Fifth Street. Very many of the names prominent in the settling of Leadville have been associated with the Jewish community—Levi Z. Leiter, David May, Wolfe Londoner, Otto Mears, the Guggenheims, Dr. Elsner, Dr. Heimberger, Jacob O. Heimberger of the Herald Democrat, L. H. Guldman, Simon Nathan, the Schoenberg brothers, the Millers, Ben Loeb, Isaacc Baer, Nathan Cohen, Fred Jelenko, Isaac Kahn, Jacob Schloss, Jacob Sanduskey, Louis Greenwald, and countless others.

Here’s Your Chance to Get Even With Mayor Kerrigan

September 16, 1970


John Dunn of the Leadville Jaycees has come up with an unusual fund-raising project which gives citizens an opportunity to get even with a guy who is always telling them how the ball bounces. The citizens now have the opportunity to get even by working the tailbone off this guy who is making regular pronouncements about twice a month.

For the donation of $1, donors have the opportunity to win the Mayor. Winning the Mayor means that the lucky person can make him do anything in the way of hard labor for two hours. Such projects could include painting the roof or even a room with that new fast, roll-it-on latex paint; or how about having him clean the furnace to get it in good shape for winter? All the trash could be hauled from the premises. Then there are leaky faucets and toilets, jobs that husbands always seem to have trouble getting to. All the odd jobs that have been sloughed off by Father could be dumped on the Mayor, a youthful and energetic fellow.

“Win the Mayor” is a fund-raising promotion of the Leadville Jaycees under the chairmanship of John Dunn. Jaycees are badly in need of enriching their coffers to pay their portion of the Bur-Rodeo celebration, which amounts to about $800.

The drawing will take place October 16, which has been designated Candidates’ Night at the Lake County High School auditorium. State and local candidates will be present that evening to answer questions from the audience as to their platforms or any other unanswered subjects which may be in voters’ minds.

Candidates’ Night is under the chairmanship of Rudolph Frausto, a newcomer to the Leadville Jaycees. He became employed at Climax Molybdenum Co. about a month ago, and shortly thereafter joined the Jaycees.

Paper Earthquake Erupts in the Stringtown Area

September 18, 1970


The year of 1970 may possibly become known as the period when Lake County residents suffered “earthquakes.” The needle of the “seismograph” hit a high point in the Chicken Hill uprooting and wavered recently in lesser intensity in the Stringtown area.

The latest “earthquake” involved the Uintah Placer, which covers most of Stringtown, and which land is owned by Dan and Elizabeth McEachern.

Residents of Stringtown have been paying taxes on the homes occupied by them, but many of them were unaware that the land under the homes were mineral rights owned by someone else. The Uintah Placer became tax delinquent a number of years ago and was purchased at a tax sale by the Dan McEacherns.

Owning “placers” is nothing new for the McEacherns, who fell heir to the Starr Placer located in California Gulch, and much of which is still in the Starr family. Mrs. McEachern is the former Elizabeth Starr, and her brother, Tom, lives in the family residence located in California Gulch. The McEacherns have disposed of portions of the Starr placer, and recently sold ground below Bucktown to the Leadville Sanitation District to enable them to proceed with sewer expansion plans.

The Stringtown transaction, which the McEacherns do not consider and hope it will not become a bone of contention such as Chicken Hill, is a move to quiet title to land under Stringtown homes and also clear unoccupied areas of the Uintah Placer so that sales of ground can be made when the occasion arises.

The first notice of the quiet title action for Stringtown residents came when letters came with a disclaimer form to all taxpayers of that area a few weeks ago. The matter is known as the owner of the home vs. Acoma Bail Bonds, Inc.

The disclaimer notice states that the case has been filed with the district court of Lake County, the purpose of the complaint being to clear title by the owners of the land. All owners of homes in that area, which is described generally as most of Stringtown, are made parties to the complaint.

The disclaimer states further that Mr. and Mrs. Dan McEachern are willing to enter into an agreement to give the title to the ground occupied by the homeowner if each owner is willing to pay a small share of the quiet action cost.

The quiet title proceedings are in the hands of the law firm of Cosgriff and Dunn. All those receiving disclaimer notices are asked to get in touch with Attorney John Dunn. From him they learn the actual cost of acquiring the lots and the procedure to be undertaken.

With many taxpayers failing to understand legal proceedings or analyzing what the tax bill covers, there has been a minor “earthquake” in Stringtown, but the “quakes” have not reached the intensity of those experienced by “squatters” on Chicken Hill, who received an ultimatum of much stronger wording last spring.

A few of the Stringtown householders who have already been in touch with the law firm handling the action report the cost is minimal in return for owning the ground situated underneath their properties.

The McEacherns do not wish their action to be known as being the same type as the Chicken Hill uprising. The McEacherns own so many acres of ground to which they want a clear title. With houses situated on a major portion of this acreage, they wish the householders to take action to assure that the ground as well as the house is theirs. The cost is pro-rated on a fair share of the total amount.

This will allow the McEacherns to sell lots which are unoccupied. For the home owners, the move is also a wise one since modern-day sales hinge on the land being a part of the house transaction.

The McEacherns purchased the Uintah Placer about ten years ago. All land which is not purchased at this opportunity by Stringtown home owners will revert to the McEacherns.

It is understood that Leadville Lead has also purchased land for their operation in this area. “Squatters” do not have the opportunity to purchase the mineral rights under their residences unless it is offered to them by the owner. It is quite probable that those who “squat” on Leadville Lead holdings may have to purchase land for their homes from owners of the Uintah Placer.

The “ghosts” of old-time mining in Lake County have come to life.

Plane Crash In Pass Area

September 21, 1970


Two Texas flyers, John V. Marinko, 25, of Amarillo, and P. Vance Smith, 34, of Dumas, walked away from a plane crash that totally destroyed their 1968 four-passenger Beechcraft Musketeer. The crash occurred about 11:15 pm today about four miles from the Independence Pass Highway.

The plane, owned by Flying Inc. Tradewind Airport, Amarillo, Texas, was on a mountain training flight from Amarillo to Aspen via Pueblo. Marinko, a commercial pilot and instructor, was in command, while Smith had been making the flight to gain mountain flying training, leading to securing his commercial license. As the plane headed toward Independence Pass, it unaccountably lost power, with the engine RPMs dropping from 2600 to 1900.

Knowing that a crash was inevitable, Marinko nosed the plane uphill, and as it reached stall speed, it crashed headed up the mountainside. As it crashed, the plane’s nose gear caught in boulders and flipped the plane over on its back. There was no fire. The craft, however, is a total loss.

The men climbed from the craft, secured their survival gear, and began to walk to the highway. Along the way, they met Roger Habighorst of Twin Lakes, who had seen the plane crash. He assisted them to the highway where they were met by the State Patrol and Sheriff. Both men were taken to St. Vincent Hospital. Marinko was suffering from a massive lump on the forehead and hurt pride. Smith suffered superficial bruises and bumps, but complained of abdominal pains.

Marinko, a former Air Force Staff Sgt. with duty in Vietnam, is a commercial instructor and charter pilot. This was his first crash.

Today’s Chuckle


A small town is a place where a person with a private phone is considered antisocial.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.