11,089 Feet



“Everything has its limit. Iron ore cannot be educated into gold.”


The remains of the Bon Ton Mine lay in Payne Gulch between Ohio City and Pitkin on the southern side of Cumberland Pass and Tin Cup on the northern side.

Gold and silver ore were discovered here around 1910, but the assays didn't amount to much. That was because while the quality and quantity of those metals were nothing to be terribly excited about, the base metal was, but the assayer didn't know what he was looking at. The base metal turned out to be molybdenum. Once moly became important, so did the Bon Ton Mine. The moly here was better than that found at Leadville's huge Climax Mine.

A small mill was built to process the ore. Unfortunately for the Bon Ton, the mill wasn't able to extract the metal efficiently. After about four years, the operation was shut down and the mill's machinery was moved down the road to Pitkin.

The Bon Ton could have eclipsed the wealth of the Climax, but hampered by inefficiency, those hopes never materialized and the Bon Ton faded away.