Leadville Monday News – Miners and the Virgin Mother
The Moolick Library in the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) was standing room only on Saturday as friendly locals gathered in to watch the “highlight reel” from the first of the living history mining videos. The series of videos was recently produced and highlights a variety of people who worked underground at The Climax Mine during its 20th century heydays.
NMHFM Director Steve Whittington opened the presentation with an introduction to the people featured in the video series who were present at the event, including Bob Calder, George Webster, Lisa Dowdney and Brenda Miller
“My grandfather was a coal miner,” said Lisa Dowdney one of the first ten women underground at the molybdenum mine located 12 miles north of Leadville. “So he would be rolling over in his grave to know that they were allowing women underground, especially me, his granddaughter.” Of the many mining superstitions, one bad omen for miners was having a women work underground. But it seems at a mine like Climax, the norm was not the rule.
Brenda Miller, another woman highlighted in the series echoed similar sentiments in her video, indicating that the “boys” would give her a hard time on a daily basis – your basic teasing, she described. Miller also talked about her wrestling match with the old-school jack-leg drill used at Climax during the 1970s, the kind you can still see at the mining competitions at Leadville Boom Days every August.
It seems she was always bound to drill into the part of the rock face that was hard enough to seize up the 9 foot tall piece of equipment, resulting in a vibration from the drill that was sure to “knock me to the ground, every time.” Fortunately, Miller was eventually relocated to a more friendly zone by a member of Climax management where she continued to work for many years.
The series is a part of the museum’s living history mining videos. Leadville film maker, Jaya Lange, interviewed miners with ties to Leadville and produced twelve 30 minute videos for the museum. Eventually the videos will be played at various displays through the museum as well as available for view on the Lake County Public Library’s You Tube Channel. Until then, here’s a video the library conducted with Leadville native Carl Miller back in 2013.
By the way, it was great to see so many families taking advantage of the FREE Locals Appreciation Day at the museum last Saturday. Often dubbed as the “Smithsonian of the West” the museum really does maintain top-notch displays with state of the art technology and interactive display that make it engaging for today’s younger generation. Plan your visit today!
In the meantime, keep an eye out for the new videos featuring Bob Calder of Leadville, Ken Chlouber of Leadville, Stanley Dempsey of Golden, Lisa Dowdney of Leadville, George Fields of Lakewood, Bob Kilborn of Buena Vista, Dan Larkin of Salida, Brenda Lacy Miller of Buena Vista, Carl Miller of Leadville, Howard Tritz of Leadville, Glen Wilder of Buena Vista, & George Webster of Leadville. All worked at Climax Molybdenum Mine for part of their careers, but also at other mines near Leadville or in other parts of the world.
Guadalupe Procession Sees Cold and Blowing Snow
Near blizzard conditions met up with the Our Lady of Guadalupe Procession yesterday, Dec. 11 as it made its 4-mile journey into Leadville.
“Remember last year it was so cold they just came up from the 6th Street Gym” said Deacon Tony Werckman with Holy Family Parish in Leadville. But yesterday the group braved the weather making their way to Leadville’s historic Annunciation Church where the day continued with a Mass at high noon followed by a fiesta in the 6th Street Gym.
While the 3-day celebration officially began Saturday night and wraps up this morning, it was Sunday’s procession and dancing in front of Annunciation Church that captures the attention and admiration of locals and visitors.
“It’s so great to see,” said one business owner along the procession route. It was also great to see local fire department, law enforcement and the Colorado State Patrol providing the procession with a safe escort into town. Good work and most motorists were courteous and understanding.