Leadville, Colorado - A “No Limits” City at 10,152 feet Above Sea Level!
From rags... (Tabor’s Rise to Wealth - Page 1)
August Rische, born in Minden, Prussia in 1833, came to the United States at age
19, and after serving in the Civil War, came west to Colorado Territory to become
a shoemaker. But the vast wealth being enjoyed in the gold and silver mines just
over the Mosquito Pass Range near present day Leadville enticed him to accomplish
far more than making shoes the rest of his life. Forming a partnership agreement
with another shoemaker he had med in the area, George Hook who had come west with
his parents from Pittsburgh around 1876, the two began to dig into the rich, rocky
soil of Lake County where new silver discoveries were being made almost hourly. But
it cost money to buy food and supplies, and the two realized they needed a “backer.”
At the time, Fryer Hill (just outside present day Leadville), had exploded with mining
bonanzas and new discoveries, particularly now that silver had become a valuable
commodity, and these ongoing discoveries kept emotions and hopes high. Rische had
previous experience in mining, although not a great deal, and Hook had made the acquaintance
of the well-known Horace Tabor who was Leadville’s postmaster and who operated a
mercantile store in Leadville and the surrounding towns of Oro City and Malta - two
critical factors which helped make Rische and Hook instantly rich.
Needing tools, food and other supplies to continue their mining efforts, the two
decided to locate a local merchant willing to “grubstake” them... a common practice
in the mining camps where miners would exchange a portion of their findings, should
any be made, with someone who would provide them with the necessary tools and supplies
needed to explore the hills and valleys for precious ore.