Idaho Springs History 101: Everything You Need to Know
Picture this: It’s cold, January 1859, and you’re out and about in the Colorado wilderness looking for some gold – casually, of course. You stumble upon what is now Idaho Springs and run across exactly what you’ve been looking for. You’ve struck gold.
At the Start
George Jackson discovered gold right off of the Clear Creek River. Once word got out, the Colorado Gold Rush began. Where there’s gold, you’ll find people too. Just a few months after Jackson’s discovery, a settlement began and the population grew into thousands over the next decade. All of the town’s people needed a way to sit back and relax – that’s where the hot springs were first used as a business. The Indian Hot Springs we enjoy today have certainly been a long time coming.
Where did the name Idaho Springs come from? It began as simply “Idahoe” – a derivative of an Arapahoe word that meant “gem of the mountains.” Very fitting. After the hot springs became such a big part of the town, springs was added onto the name, bringing us to where we are today. Idaho Springs’ history is brimming with adventure and discovery that is just waiting to be uncovered anew!
It’s All Mine(s)
A big part of Idaho Springs’ history are the mines that made the town. Something special about the area is that a great deal of the gold was discovered within the rocks inside the hills, making it difficult to extract due to excessive amounts of water. Enter the MIGHTY ARGO MILL and TUNNEL. It was created to drain the excess water and easily extract iron ore from land. The ARGO, while no longer acting as a mine, is now a top historical attraction in the town.
Other mining highlights in Idaho Springs’ history include the Stanley Mine – which is turning into the town’s newest attraction. The Phoenix Gold Mine is another great stop to take a step back into an enthralling Idaho Springs history lesson. With mines abounding and a story around every corner, you won’t want to miss a thing in this mountain mining town.
In the Swing of Idaho Springs
Striking gold in this mountain town is incredibly easy – not just because of all the mines. The quaint downtown area, the many outdoor adventures, and, of course, the rich Idaho Springs history come together for the perfect storm of exciting fun and a history lesson.