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Climax in Lake County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

More Than Just a Mine

 
 
More Than Just a Mine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 28, 2017
1. More Than Just a Mine Marker
Inscription.  It's only a memory now, but the community of Climax was once called home by several generations of Colorado mining families.

In its early years, Climax struggled to keep quality employees. Cold and snow, isolation and high altitude sent many workers packing after only a few shifts. An ambitious effort to build a true community began in 1936. One hundred homes, 43 apartment units, a 171-room hotel, dining hall, hospital and school were built in a single frantic summer of construction. A recreation hall was also built, with a gym that doubled as movie theatre, bowling alley, pool hall and library. Climax, once known as “that hellhole in the sky,” had become a real town. A three-room house rented for $12/month, health insurance cost $18 per year and employee turnover shrank to a trickle.

By the 1950's, Climax had a population of nearly 2,000 people and a reputation as the best company town in the United States. Employment was 100 percent, pay was good, crime was virtually non-existent and the school, hospital, recreation facilities and shopping were among the finest in Colorado. Even though high-altitude cooking frustrated
Marker photo detail image. Click for full size.
2. Marker photo detail
Climax employees moved several tons of equipment to the summit of McNamee Peak in 1951 to build a television antenna. After the crew ran two miles of coaxial cable back to town, Climax became the first town in central Colorado to have television.
most housewives, who often had to rely on melting icicles for drinking water, it would be hard to find a former Climax resident who would not call it a great place to live, work and raise a family.

When open-pit mining operations began in the early 1960's, the town of Climax was in the way. Its buildings were moved to Leadville, and today virtually nothing remains of one of Colorado's most memorable mining towns.
 
Erected by Climax Molybdenum Company & the Federal Highway Administration.
 
Location. 39° 22.048′ N, 106° 11.32′ W. Marker is in Climax, Colorado, in Lake County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 91 11 miles south of Interstate 70, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located on the west side of Colorado Highway 91, at the summit of Fremont Pass, directly across from the Climax Molybdenum Mine, within a small park containing historical markers and mining exhibits. Marker is in this post office area: Climax CO 80429, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Skiing on Top of the World (here, next to this marker); Top Secret (here, next to this marker); The Big Shot (a few steps from this marker); The Highest Compost Pile in the World (a few steps from this
Marker photo detail image. Click for full size.
3. Marker photo detail
Captions (left to right): This unpretentious building laid claim to the title of “Highest Post Office in the Nation” for many years.

Kids dressed in their best clothes for Easter Sunday services at the community church in 1957.

Moving houses from Climax to Leadville completely blocked Highway 91 in 1960.
marker); Water Treatment Protects Downstream Users (a few steps from this marker); Highway in the Sky (a few steps from this marker); Life on the High Line (a few steps from this marker); Welcome to Climax! (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Climax.
 
More about this marker. Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted on a large boulder.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Climax Historical Park
 
Also see . . .  Reopening of Climax mine welcome but not heralded in Leadville. (From The Denver Post, May 27, 2011.) Climax’s owner, Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, is spending $700 million to re-equip the mine, which first opened in 1918, and get it prepared to resume production after being largely mothballed since the 1980s. In the years prior to closing, Climax was a behemoth — employing 3,200 workers and almost single-handedly keeping the Lake County economy afloat through property taxes and high wages paid to miners. When the mine reopens, it is expected to employ 400 permanent workers. Climax’s open-pit operations will have the capacity to produce 30 million pounds of molybdenum a year, making it smaller than Freeport-McMoRan’s 40-million-pound Henderson mine in Empire, but still one of the largest moly
Marker photo detail image. Click for full size.
4. Marker photo detail
Captions (top to bottom):With a ski area just across the road most Climax kids learned to ski shortly after they learned to walk.

Climax had a school from 1918 until 1962. During the 1950’s, more graduates from the Max Schott School attended four-year colleges than from any other high school in the area.
mines in the world. Bob Hartzell, a former Climax worker, who now is the president and executive director of the Leadville-based National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum said: “Mining has been the lifeblood of this place, it was born a mining town, and it’ll probably die a mining town.” (Submitted on September 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers
 
More Than Just a Mine Marker (<i>wide view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 28, 2017
5. More Than Just a Mine Marker (wide view)
Climax Historical Park (<i>entrance from Colorado Highway 91 at Fremont Pass</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 28, 2017
6. Climax Historical Park (entrance from Colorado Highway 91 at Fremont Pass)
 
More. Search the internet for More Than Just a Mine.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 5, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 2, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 44 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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