From the Vault: Best of the West |

From the Vault: Best of the West

by the Aspen Historical Society
One 4.5" x 5" b/w photograph of the Mollie Gibson Mine. The Silverking Shaft House and ore house are in the foreground. The Little Nell Mine is visible on Aspen Mountain at the far right. 1895-
Kelley |

“Two of Aspen’s best,” declared the Aspen Evening Chronicle (in reference to the Aspen Mine and the Mollie Gibson Mine) on Oct. 20, 1889. “Two of Aspen’s mines — the two which overtop all the others in development and consequently in output and importance, are doubtless already known by name to most of our readers. The Aspen mine was opened by lessees in 1884, and at the time of reaching the ore chute they had but sixty days of their lease remaining. That seemed but a short time, and those who were not familiar with the wonders of the belt were fearful that it had been found entirely too late to do the lessees any good, but they hoisted and took out of the mine during the next few days over six hundred thousand dollars’ worth of silver, a real bonanza. Since then it has been much developed, and careful estimates place the amount of ore now in sight at more than eight million dollars. The Mollie Gibson is in one sense a recent find. Lying idle over half a decade for want of machinery to hoist the water, the old mossback owners were induced to sell out to an enterprising syndicate, and the work of development began. Last February a fine chute of red spar was encountered about the middle of the contact from side to side, and continuing downward and intermingled with it was the richest of stephanite — almost pure silver. This mine’s ore runs from 10,000 to 20,000 ounces of silver per ton. Each of these loads is about a mile from the city of Aspen, one on Aspen mountain and the other at the foot of Smuggler mountain. Neither of them appear better than those which surround until development made them so. Develop the rest and they will be as rich.” The photograph above shows structures at the Mollie Gibson Mine at the base of Smuggler Mountain, with Aspen Mountain in the background.

This photo and more can be found in the Aspen Historical Society archives at