9,646 Feet



“The only people who profit from a gold rush are the ones who sell the picks and shovels. People who use them don't fare as well.”


Today, the remains of one lonely cabin is the only evidence of the town that was once called "the greatest gold camp of the twentieth century" by newspapers of the day.

J.C. Bowerman had been prospecting the mountains of Colorado for three decades without success. Then, in the early years of the twentieth century, his luck finally changed when he found rich ore at what would become the gold town of Bowerman. His wife, who had been supporting his wild eyed dreams for decades by doing paid labor and taking in borders, couldn't keep the secret. Apparently she went shopping in nearby Waunita Hot Springs one day and showed off her husband's pretty "baubles."

Within months, the town was crawling with prospectors. Almost overnight there were two hotels, several saloons and gambling houses, a church, and even a newspaper, The Bowerman Herald. The town had professional types two, boasting of two lawyers and three mine engineers. Bowerman was officially incorporated in 1904.

Excitement began to wane when it occurred to everyone that J.C. Bowerman's Independent Mine was really the only good one around, and even it wasn't all that good. Eventually another decent payer was discovered. It was named the Camp Bird after the great Camp Bird near Ouray. In spite of the high expectations around the new discovery, the gold just wasn't as great as it appeared to be in the beginning and people began to slowly drift away.

The town that at one time was sold as the place that would eventually eclipse the great Cripple Creek was deserted by 1911.