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Near Lake City in Hinsdale County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Tellurium or Was It Whitecross

 
 
Tellurium or Was It Whitecross Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, July 8, 2021
1. Tellurium or Was It Whitecross Marker
Inscription.  

Tellurium's history, like that of many mining camps, consisted of booms and busts. From its initial occupation in 1875, it boasted as having two groceries and a post office (1876), but in an unusual statement for a mining camp, it did not have a saloon, Archeological evidence, however, suggests that an ample amount of alcohol was consumed in the community.

Tellurium's miners worked at either small, one-person operations, or at larger nearby mines, including the Mountain King, Cashier, Allen Dale, Troy, Providence, Bon Homme, Mehle Placer, Tabasco, or the Del Norte. After an initial population of fifty to one hundred residents, Tellurium's population faded in the early 1880s. By the late 1880s, however, it boomed again as miners worked a number of nearby mines. At this time, the name of the community was changed to Whitecross and included a post office, store, hotel, boarding house, and two stables with pack animals. Archeological evidence of the stables included bailing wire and a horse tooth.

Whitecross's residents worked predominantly as miners, but individuals also served the community as the blacksmith, storekeeper,
The Tellurium or Was It Whitecross Marker is the marker on the right of the two markers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, July 8, 2021
2. The Tellurium or Was It Whitecross Marker is the marker on the right of the two markers
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assayer, and postman. Many of the buildings functioned as both businesses and residences as was evidenced by specialized tools discovered during archeological excavation.

By 1912, the post office had closed and Whitecross was in its final decline.

Captions
1. Post office in Whitecross in 1889. Archeological evidence suggests that this building had a domestic function; however, a few mining artifacts were also excavated at this site. In addition, a large amount of ammunition found suggests that the occupants practiced target or recreational shooting outside or from the deck.
-Photo courtesy of Lake City Museum - Hinsdale County Historical Society, C.E. Wright Collection

2. "This burg was christened about the beginning of the present rainy season containing at that time several cabins and camps, a population of less than five hundred men, and enough valley vocalists [burros] to make night hideous."
- Silver World, July 17, 1875

3. Tellurium/Whitecross residents were mostly male miners, however, a few women and children also called this settlement home. Archeological excavation unearthed a few female related objects including a cold cream jar. In 1876, James Caroll's wife gave birth to the communities first baby. The girl was christened "Tellurium" by the miners and they presented her with a purse filled with
The view of the two markers from the road image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, July 8, 2021
3. The view of the two markers from the road
gold.

4. Post office in Whitecross in the late 1880s. Left to right, C.E. Wright (age 3), H.E. Wright (father), Lena Wright (mother), Rena Wright, and Fred Davidson.
-Photo courtesy of Lake City Museum - Hinsdale County Historical Society, C.E. Wright Collection

5. Letterhead for the Tellurium House was initially marked as "Burrows Park," the name encompassing the surrounding geographic area. It was later stamped "Tellurium."
-Letterhead courtesy of Lake City Museum - Hinsdale County Historical Society


Archeological work in 2000 has answered some questions about the population, gender, ethnicity, and quality of life of the residents of Tellurium/ Whitecross. You can help protect this site by camping in other locations, not damaging historic structures, and leaving historic artifacts where you find them.

Caption
Volunteers helped excavate the townsite of Tellurium in July 2000.
-Photo by Durango Archaeological

 
Erected by U.S. Department of the Interior - Alpine Loop.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1875.
 
Location. 37° 56.651′ N, 107° 29.646′ W. Marker is near Lake City, Colorado, in Hinsdale County. Marker
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is on County Highway 30, 1½ miles east of County Highway 12, on the right when traveling west. The marker is located along the Alpine Loop about 20 miles west of Lake City. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Lake City CO 81235, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A Town with Three Names (here, next to this marker); Rose Lime Kiln (approx. 2½ miles away); White Death (approx. 2.6 miles away); Bonanza Empire Chief (approx. 2.6 miles away); Animas Forks (approx. 4.3 miles away); The William Duncan House (approx. 4.3 miles away); Lee's Legacy (approx. 4½ miles away); Ute Homeland (approx. 5.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lake City.
 
Also see . . .  Alpine Loop.
The Alpine Loop is truly a backcountry experience. Make sure someone knows your travel plans and do your homework before you start your trip. Make sure you have plenty of water, food and fuel to make it to your destination. Electronics and wireless devises DO NOT work in most places on the Alpine Loop. It is recommended that you download or print hard copy maps prior to your trip. The Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway is a rugged 4x4 road that winds through the spectacular scenery of the San Juan Mountains, connecting Lake City, Silverton, and Ouray. The Alpine Loop byway traverses passes up to 12,800 feet while showcasing old mines, ghost towns, natural wonders,
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beautiful wildflowers, and abundant wildlife. Alpine Loop is an avenue for exploring nature and history amidst thrilling views and stunning geography. Tackling the loop in its entirety is easily an all-day experience event. However, the main loop is only part of the experience; miles of designated side routes allow visitors to either take a short tour or extend their trip to multiple days. For more information, please contact the Gunnison Field Office.
(Submitted on July 24, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 24, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 76 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 25, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.

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Dec. 4, 2022