The Pike's Peak Gold Rush

Take a trip back in the mid-19th the days of the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. Join the Lawrence Party on their trek to the mountains in the spring of 1858. Climb Pikes Peak with the Bloomer Girl, Julia Holmes. Be there for Green Russell's discovery of gold on Dry Creek. Experience firsthand the frenzied Rush of 1859. Get to know the stories of the first Pike's Peakers, the men and women who left home and family in search of Colorado gold.

/pictures/whiteball.gif Chapter 1 - The Mountain

The late-1850's rush to the Rockies was called the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, even though the mountain by that name lay some sixty miles distant from the main diggings.

Pikes Peak (as seen from the Garden of the Gods)

/pictures/whiteball.gif Chapter 2 - The Rumormongers

The Pike's Peak Gold Rush began with rumors: rumors of old Spanish mines and Rocky Mountain gold.

Sangre de Cristo Pass - Gateway to Spanish Gold

/pictures/whiteball.gif Chapter 3 - The Argonauts

In the spring of 1858 four parties of gold seekers followed the Cherokee Trail to the Front Range of the Rockies. Their discovery of gold precipitated the Great Pikes Peak Gold Rush.

Gold Seekers

/pictures/whiteball.gif Chapter 4 - The Promoters

As the first of the argonauts returned home in the early fall of 1858, they discovered that stories about their gold finds had already been spread eastward by the Missouri Valley newspapers.

Yoking-Up for Home

/pictures/whiteball.gif Chapter 5 - The Townbuilders

Beginning in the early winter of 1858, numerous towns were laid out along the Front Range of the Rockies in preparation for the expected arrival of the Fifty-Niners.

1859 Lithograph of Auraria and Denver City

/pictures/whiteball.gif Chapter 6 - The Mountaineers

The mountaineers were involved in the Pike's Peak Gold Rush almost from its inception. By the late 1850's, most had become Indian traders - colorful, carefree, sometimes cantankerous merchants who bartered for furs and hides among the westering tribes.

The Mountaineers

/pictures/whiteball.gif Chapter 7 - The Merchandisers

The merchants of the Missouri River towns spent the fall and winter of 1858-59 laying in supplies to sell to the tens of thousands of Pike's Peakers, who were sure to rush to the mountains once spring weather came.

The Merchandisers

/pictures/whiteball.gif Chapter 8 - The Fifty-Niners

In the spring and early summer of 1859, more than 100,000 gold seekers set out for the new gold diggings at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.

The Fifty-Niners

/pictures/whiteball.gif Chapter 9 - The Stampeders

By mid-spring of 1859, rumors from the mountains indicated that gold diggings were a bust. Gold seekers turned around by the thousands and stampeded back to the States.


/pictures/whiteball.gif Chapter 10 - The Reporters

Newspaperman Horace Greeley's timely arrival at the new Gregory Diggings resulted in the Greeley Report, a factual account of the gold being mined. This report was published in the Rocky Mountain News of June 11, 1859, and was generally credited with having saved the gold rush.

The Gregory Diggings

/pictures/whiteball.gif Chapter 11 - The Diarists of 1860

The frenzied rush of 1859 was followed by the more orderly procession of 1860. Many gold seekers brought their families, and diarists wrote of white-topped wagons following the Denver Road west.

Crossing the Plains

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