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Antique Map of Silverton, Colorado -- Gold Rush Boomtown In Southwestern Colorado

Remarkable large manuscript town plan of Silverton, Colorado, drafted by Hollis & Harrison of Silverton, Colorado.

This elaborate town plan identifies every addition, street, block number and lot number in this important mining boom town.

The map is oriented with Northwest at the top, showing the Animas River at the bottom of the map, with Cement Creek dissecting the right side diagonally (although its true course is nearly due north and south) and Mineral Creek at the far left of the map. The town is now shown in a nearly complete form, with most of the streets and street names located, surviving to this date. A number of additions are shown, including:

  • Wymans Addition
  • Reeses Addition (no Silverton Lakes Campground and likely never finished)
  • Blagues Addition (mostly abandoned or never built)
  • Taylors Addition (abandoned or never built)

The legend at the top provides a finely detailed description of the Sewers, Street Grades, and Water Mains for the town. The information described in the legend is extensively color coded, suggesting that this map was either a draft or never completed.

The location of a number of buildings is shown in the center of town.

In 1860, Charles Baker and several prospectors entered the San Juan Mountains in search of gold. They soon found deposits of gold and silver along the Animas River, in an area that was later called "Baker's Park". The prospectors stayed through the summer but returned to what is now northern New Mexico for the winter. News spread of the discovery, however, with the Civil War looming and the discovery being located on Ute Indian land, the miners did not return to the San Juan Mountains until early 1870s. The area had largely been closed off to settlement until 1873, when the Brunot Treaty opened the San Juans to settlement.

In 1874 Silverton's town site was laid out and it soon became the center of numerous mining camps. In addition to the miners, Silverton caught the eye of a railroad company in Denver. In July 1882, the first train operated by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad rolled into Silverton from Durango. By 1883, Silverton boasted of having a population of 2,000 people with 400 buildings - 2 banks, 5 laundries, 29 saloons, several hotels and a red light district - the notorious Blair Street.

The map was drawn by the engineering firm of Hollis and Harrison of Silverton. Hollis was likely Robert W. Hollis, who was commissioned by the General Land Office as a Deputy Mining Surveyor in December 1884.


We locate no other examples of this map.

Condition Description
3 sheets, unjoined. Black ink on drafting linen.