9,715 Feet



“Prospects for wealth in any mining camp were seldom richer than in Capitol City and it is to be hoped that the clouds will clear away and great prosperity result.”


Capitol City may well have become Colorado's capitol if the ambitions of one of its founders had come to fruition.

Originally called Galena, George T. Lee was convinced that Capitol City's mines would be so glorious and so fabulously wealthy that there would simply be no reason not to move the state capitol to southern Colorado, and no reason not to make him Governor.

He spearheaded the movement to change the name, and even built a fine and sprawling brick home which he called the Governor's Mansion. It contained plenty of bedrooms and living rooms. Ready for entertaining, it even had a theater with an orchestra pit, and a formal ballroom.

The only problem was that the mines weren't all that wealthy and Capitol City never even became the county seat of Hinsdale county.

But George and the city fathers were ambitious people and they laid out an ambitious 200-acre town complete with multiple hotels, and restaurants, the requisite saloons, several smelters (one of which George owned), and even a saw mill (he owned the sawmill too). A school was built in 1883.

All of this for a population which never exceeded eight hundred.

Capitol City was hampered by ore that paid well for awhile, but played out too quickly. Transportation was also a problem in this isolated, but beautiful place. When the silver panic hit, Capitol City was all but abandoned.

Today only the post office building and one small cabin remain in a place that at once boasted that it would be greater than Denver. Even George's Governor's Mansion is long gone, sadly destroyed by vandals and time.