Matchless Hoist House Slated for Rehabilitation

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum will partner with HistoriCorps to rehabilitate the No. 6 hoist house at the Matchless Mine in 2020.

This project will be paid for in part by a History Colorado State Historical Fund grant of $104,332 awarded to the NMHFM on August 1. In combination with a $29,000 grant previously awarded by the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation on behalf of the Climax-Area Community Investment Fund, as well as recent fundraising activities, the SHF grant will permit the NMHFM to rehabilitate and stabilize an important wooden structure that is in danger of collapse.

Hoist house at Matchless Mine.

The hoist house contained the hoist that raised and lowered miners and ore in the No. 6 shaft at the mine. The weight of snow on the roof during more than a century of Leadville winters, lateral soil movement causing pressure on the walls and wet conditions around the foundation have caused the building to sag and lean. Without rehabilitation, the building will not survive many more years.

The Matchless Mine produced large amounts of silver ore that helped to make Horace Tabor and his second wife, Baby Doe, fabulously wealthy. Horace served as Leadville’s mayor, Colorado’s lieutenant governor, and U.S. senator. The mine was associated with the Tabors from 1879, when Horace purchased it, until 1935, when Baby Doe died of heart failure in the former superintendent’s cabin. The Leadville Assembly gave the Matchless Mine to the NMHFM in 2006. The mine has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2010.

HistoriCorps will be the general contractor for the project. HistoriCorps is a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging volunteers in preserving and sustaining historic structures on public lands (including on private lands accessible to the public) for future generations. Since its founding in 2007, HistoriCorps has preserved more than 180 historic structures in 23 states and engaged more than 1,500 volunteers in more than 80,000 hours of service and training. All work will comply with The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring, and Reconstructing Historic Buildings.

Scheuber + Darden Architects will oversee construction to assure that the contractor completes work according to approved construction documents. Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers will be a subcontractor. Metcalf Archaeological Consultants will ensure that the project complies with all federal, state, and local cultural resource laws, regulations and requirements.

The hoist house project is just the latest effort to preserve the Matchless Mine for future generations. The State Historical Fund; Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety; and El Pomar Foundation financially supported rehabilitation of the mine’s powder magazine in 2014-2015. Grants from the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, El Pomar Foundation, and the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation enabled the NMHFM to partner successfully with HistoriCorps in 2017 to preserve the No. 6 headframe.

The Matchless Mine is open for self-guided surface tours from 11 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. daily through Sept. 29. Guided tours are available daily at noon, 1, 2, and 3 p.m. through Labor Day. From Sept. 3 through 29, guided tours will be available those times on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday or by prior arrangement for groups of ten or more.

See for more information about tours at the Matchless Mine.

This article was originally published in the Leadville Herald Democrat on August 21, 2019.