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As one would expect from a mining area that has experienced boom and bust, many ghost towns remain in central Colorado to remind us of the dreams and joys, disappointments and devastations of many a prospector. Centered around Granite on what is now US 285 between Buena Vista and Leadville on the Arkansas River, the Colorado Mineral Belt was once a thriving hive of activity. Running 300 miles north and south and 50 miles wide, the CMB contains gold, copper, silver, pyrite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, and galena.
Mines and towns sprang up all through the CMB during the second half of the nineteenth century. Four of the biggest mines were the Banker Mine, the Swiss Boy, the Fortune, and the Tasmania. A few of the towns were Winfield, Rockdale/Silverdale, Vicksburg, and Beaver City, all four of which lay in Clear Creek Canon.
Winfield was the largest, with over 1,500 people in the town and surrounding vicinity. Both Winfield and Vicksburg have been partially restored. The Balm of Gilead trees planted by settlers to line Vicksburg's main street and provide medicinal salve from their sap still stand in beautiful and mute testimony to what had been and is no more.
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