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Thar's gold in them thar hills! Ten years after the 49'ers started heading to California, gold was discovered in central Colorado, starting the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. The initial findings were at California Gulch, in the Mosquito Range near the Arkansas River headwaters northeast of what was to become Leadville. At first, this original discovery didn't seem like it was going to amount to much, but in late April of 1860, placer gold was found in abundance. By July, 10,000 people inhabited the spanking new town of Oro City, and that summer saw two million dollars worth of gold extracted. Still, the boom couldn't last. In only a few years, most of the gold had been removed and Oro City dwindled to several hundred die-hards. Over a period of seven years, miners had brought ten tons of gold to light.
Oro City had a second lease on life when silver was discovered in the late 1870's, but newly-founded Leadville ended up with most of the recently arrived prospectors and those that follow along with them. Come 1890, a mere 222 people occupied the once-thriving town. Today, all that remains of Oro City are abandoned buildings and ghosts.
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