Purchased in 1879 by Silver King H.A.W. Tabor, the Matchless Mine was one of the richest silver mines of the era, with production rates surpassing the Comstock Lode of Nevada. With the extraordinary wealth they accumulated, Tabor and his mistress-turned-wife, Elizabeth "Baby Doe" Tabor, lived in high style.
They were married in Washington DC in 1883 during Tabor's term as United States senator. Their wedding invitations, fashioned from solid silver, and Elizabeth's elaborate wedding dress, flaunted their fabulous wealth. The couple enjoyed a few brief years of extravagance, staying in suites in the finest hotels in the nation and returning occasionally to their mansion in Denver.
Tragically, the Tabor's high-flying life style was not to last. With the depletion of high-grade silver, coupled with extravagant spending, the Tabor fortune vanished. Tabor died in 1899 leaving his family nearly penniless.
For nearly thirty six years following Tabor's death Elizabeth struggled to profit from the Matchless Mine. She was able to lease the property for various iron, zinc, manganese, and silver ore mining operations, though it never produced what it had during Leadville's great silver boom days. In her later years, Elizabeth became somewhat of a recluse, preferring to spend her time in a small cabin on the Matchless property. During her long vigil, she was occasionally seen on the streets of Leadville, her feet wrapped in burlap sacks to keep out the cold. Sadly, her body was discovered frozen in the cabin in March of 1935, Elizabeth was 81 years old.
For a more detailed account of the Matchless Mine's history, check out the Timeline!
Take a tour to experience this tragic story and see the historic mine - a true legacy of the American West.