9,816 Feet


Still Occupied

“Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.”


Apex today is a shell of its former self. Platted in 1895, by the summer of 1896, the Idaho Springs News reported that there were more than 800 buildings clinging to both sides of Pine Creek. There weren't enough stagecoaches to ferry the daily influx of newcomers. Many had to wait for their turn in nearby Central City.

The business section sported two dance halls, the requisite saloons (three of them), a meat market, the twenty-two room Apex Hotel, two churches, and a community center, the Pioneer Hall which served a multiplicity of purposes. It had its newspaper, too, the Apex Pine Cone. Apex became both the center of the Pine Creek Mining District and the center commerce in the district. People from all over came here to conduct their business.

Among the best mines was the Mackey. It has a curious history. It seems that it was sold numerous times. Eventually, a man named Mountz and his business partner obtained a lease and began to work it. They quickly discovered a rich vein that provided much needed operating capital. Shortly after, his partner ran off with $30,000 leaving Mountz with virtually no funds to work the mine. He did as much as he could with the paltry $400 he was left with, but his work to follow the vein was in vain. In disgust, he threw up his hands and lit the remainder of his dynamite to collapse the tunnel. Instead of closing up the mine, his dynamite finally uncovered the fabulously rich vein he had been trying to find. Mountz was no longer disgusted. A mill was later built to handle ore just from the Mackay.

Other than the Mackey, the best mines in the area were the Schultz Wonder, the Wetstein, the Jersey City, the Evergreen, the Rooster, and the Tip Top. 

At its peak, Apex was home to nearly 1,000 souls. Now it's mostly gone. Today, many of the original cabins that do remain are occupied at least part of the year by summer residents.