Logo and image of 2 men and a burro in Parrott City

Part 1, video of Zoom webinar recorded March 12, 20202 at the Animas Museum.

Part 2, video of Zoom webinar recorded April 9, 20202 at the Animas Museum.

Map Details

Map of La Plata Mines

Detail of mines in the La Plata Mountains.

Closeup of La Plata District

Map showing Durango and the mining camps in the La Platas.

table of ore deposits in the La Platas

Table of ore deposits in the La Platas.

Closeup of 1911 directory

1911 directory for Mayday and La Plata City.

Closeup of 1915 directory

1915 directory for Mayday and La Plata City.

Closeup of 1921 Directory

1921 directory for Mayday and La Plata City.

What is a patent?

In 1872, Congress passed a General Mining Law that governs mining on public lands that is, for the most part, still in effect. When a prospector found a potential "mine," he would literally stake his claim (300 feet wide by 1500 feet long) and had thirty days to file that claim with the local mining district. Once the claim was filed, the prospector had to make $100 of improvements a year on it to keep it active, which in the 1880s, was about a month's work. The prospector was essentially leasing the land for mineral rights as long as the claim was active. To patent a claim took more time and money but gave the holder of the patent ownership of the land. A patented claim had to be surveyed, assayed, required at least $5000 in improvements, something beyond the reach of most prospectors.

Source: "Mines, Miners, and Much More" by Don Paulson


Pioneers of the San Juan Country by Sarah Platt Decker Chapter, NSDAR

Many More Mountains Vol. 2, Ruts into Silverton by Allen Nossaman

An Empire of Silver by Robert L. Brown

Geology and Ore Deposits of the La Plata District Colorado, Geological Survey Professional Paper 219, 1949

Picture Maker of the Old West, William Henry Jackson by Clarence S. Jackson, 1947

The 1875 William Henry Jackson Diary, An Illustrated Journal of Discovery edited & Annotated by Alan C. Terrell

Song of the Hammer and Drill, The Colorado San Juans 1860-1914 by Duane A. Smith

History of Colorado Vol. II by Frank Hall, 1890

A History of Montezuma County by Ira S. Freeman, 1958.

Frontier in Transition, a History of Southwest Colorado Bureau of Land Management Colorado, Cultural Resources Series #10 by Paul M. O'Rourke.

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