|USGS 7.5' Map:||Empire|
|Adopted by:||Mile Hi Jeep Club, Patrol 2||P.O. Box 8293
Denver, CO 80202
|Managed by:||Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest,
Clear Creek Ranger District
|101 Chicago Creek Road
P.O. Box 3307
Idaho Springs, CO 80452
|Attractions:||Creek Crossings. Altitude.|
|Natural - closed by heavy snows.|
|Navigation:||From I-70 westbound, take Exit 232, US Hwy 40 to Empire. Turn right on Main St. (North Empire Road) and follow the road to a parking area, approximately 1 mile.|
|History:||North Empire was up Lion Creek about a mile above Empire at the fork where Lion Creek and North Empire Creek meet. In the fall of 1860 Henry DeWitt Clinton Cowles and Edgar Freeman discovered wire gold deposits on Eureka Mountain and Independence Mountain. Henry also discovered the first true fissure silver lode in Colorado naming it the Ida Silver. Silver Mountain was named for this discovery, but interestingly the mountain produced mostly gold with only a small amount of silver. North Empire became a tight camp crammed in the gulch along with the surrounding mines and mills.
Many mines were developed through the 1860s and 1870s. The Gold Fissure Mine was a large operation made up of five claims. Above the town was the Atlantic Mine and up the valley was the Conqueror Mine owned by Colonel John Dumont. The Conqueror mine and tunnel were developed in the 1870s. In 1910 W.S. Pryor expanded the Conqueror boarding house which sat near the mine and mill. In 1960 it still remained with its long porch and two story design. Since then it has burned down. The Benton Mine also put up a company owned boarding house for its miners.
In 1878 hydraulic mining arrived in North Empire. Timothy G. Negus, Frank M. Taylor and Robert S. Morrison organized the Empire Ditch and Placer Company to mine the soth slope of Silver Mountain. With capital of $400,000 they began washing the 40 acres owned by the company. The Negus Placer Mine produced $50,000 in 1878-1879. A few years later Judge R. E. Rombauer and Amos Morse worked the Pauline and Coupon mines with hydraulics.
In the 1890s with the mines producing large amounts of ore the Great Empire Cable Railroad Company announced plans to construct a cable railroad up the gulch from Empire to North Empire. The tracks of the Colorado Southern Railroad were extended to Empire, but the cable railroad never came to be. During the early 1900s when mining was bust, the Gold Dirt was producing enough to stay alive. In 1934 many properties merged to become the Minnesota Mines Company which created another flurry of activity until World War II when the government closed down gold mining with Order L-208.
|Data updated 03/19/11 4WD Road driven ?? Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2011|