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The highest incorporated city in North America at 3,179 meters (10,430 feet) above mean sea level. It is still sometimes called Cloud City, the name it was founded under in 1878. Leadville (pronounced "led" as in the metal lead, not "leed" as in "lead a horse to water",) was dubbed this because its silver was found in a heavy carbonate of lead ore. I do not know why they picked Leadville over Cloud City, but they thought there were already too many towns in Colorado with "silver" in their names to go with any of those suggestions.

As already alluded to Leadville was founded on a wealth of silver. Some of the richest ores ever found were here and created the fortunes of J.J. & Molly Brown, H.A.W. Tabor, the Guggenheims, and the Boettchers. So great was the wealth and industry that it was the second largest city in Colorado in the 1880’s and considered for state capitol in 1876. But it, like all the silver towns, went bust in 1893 when falling silver prices forced the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.

For a long time afterwards it was a very quiet town subsisting on low level mining. But it is gradually becoming more popular due to tourism. Like so many things it is both good and a bit sad to see it changing. Going trendy after so many years of being a small town. Still better than the fate of Bute Montana, being eaten by the mines that gave it life.

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