Thousands of tenacious miners, living a wild and woolly life in Leadville during the boom era of the late 1800’s and beyond, are often forgotten when more famous (and often infamous) names of past Leadville residents and visitors are mentioned… names like Susan B. Anthony (lectured here for woman’s suffrage), John Henry “Doc” Holliday (dentist-turned-gambler who had his final shoot out here at Hyman’s Saloon), U.S. Senator Horace Tabor and his wife Baby Doe (perhaps the nation’s most famous rags-to-riches-and-back-to-rags and love triangle story), the Guggenheims (famous for charitable and philanthropic endeavors), Oscar Wilde (who lectured here), Texas Jack (infamous gunslinger and member of the Wild Bill Cody show), David May (founder of the May Company which later became Macy’s/Foleys), David Boettcher, Charles Dow (founder of today’s Dow-Jones).
Horace Tabor made (and lost) a fortune from silver mines during Leadville, Colorado’s boom days, becoming one of the most famous of the Colorado Silver Kings. Although Tabor’s first silver discovery wasn’t the Matchless Mine, it’s story remains as one of the most famous documented stories about the Silver King mines in the entire country.
In 1878 Horace Tabor grubstaked two German shoemakers with two picks, two shovels, enough food for a week, and a jug of whiskey... and in doing so soon found himself on the road to millions with their discovery of the Little Pittsburg Silver Mine
Horace went on to own partial stakes of other successful mines in the area, before he purchased the Matchless Mine in 1879. The Matchless Mine was the first he owned entirely himself, and for quite some time there was truly no mine that was it’s "match" as it produced for Tabor up to $2,000 per day in high quality silver ore.
The Story of the Matchless Mine isn’t only about riches. The unfaithful Tabor would fall in love with Elizabeth McCourt Doe, better known as "Baby Doe", and in doing so, created one of the most famous and publicized love triangles of the century. Horace and Baby Doe Tabor lived in luxury until the repeal of the Sherman Silver Act in 1893 left them nearly broke, struggling to hold on to their beloved Matchless Mine.