The Mines of Colorado


Rare first edition of Hollister’s guide to the wealth of the Colorado Territory.

1 in stock

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This incredible volume, published on the verge of the completion of the Transcontinental Railway, is a wonderful snapshot of the contemporary enthusiasm about westward expansion and the possibility to accumulate wealth on the frontier. The Pike’s Peak Gold Rush of 1858 brought thousands of prospectors to the Colorado Territory, including Ovando Hollister, the author.

He settled in Black Hawk in 1860 and, after a brief stint in the First Colorado Cavalry, became editor of the Daily Mining Journal and the Colorado Mining Journal. Shortly after the publication of his Mines of Colorado (1867), Hollister moved to Salt Lakes City where he died in 1892.

The book is an excellent example of the promotional efforts used by local officials and businessmen throughout the 19th century to attract new emigrants to lands across America as they opened up for settlement. The preface provides evidence of such ‘boosterism’, which could sometimes border on the mendacious.

“This region has a pleasant and healthy climate, and while its soil is unsurpassed in strength by that of the prairie States, it has a superior market in the adjoining mines. It most eloquently invites settlement and improvement. It will also give the Summer tourist a choice between the West and the East. It is not hazarding much to say that the Rocky Mountains offer the most delightful Summer resort of the New if not of the Old World.”

Eighteen different chapters discuss a diverse array of topics, including local history, geographic features, settlements, Native Americans, and, of course, the mining industry. The accompanying fold-out map boldly highlights the route of the Transcontinental Railroad as the Union Pacific line travels through Denver and Golden City, even though the final route would actually be placed hundreds of miles to the north, almost entirely outside the (eventual) state of Colorado! Coal, gold, and silver mines are scattered throughout the image and surveyed sections and townships are limited to a few dozen miles west of the Sixth Prime Meridian.

Topography is depicted in hachure and a fascinating mix of geographic features, settlements, and frontier fortifications are labeled. Of particular interest is Fort Collins, established as a military outpost only a few years prior to publication (1864). Julesburg, upper right, is also of note as the location of an 1865 defeat of the U.S. Army by combined forces of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Lakota Indians.

Created by Ovando Hollister and published in Springfield, Massachusetts by Samuel Bowles and Company in 1867.


Map Details

Publication Date: 1867

Author: Ovando Hollister

Sheet Width (in): See Description

Sheet Height (in): See Description

Condition: B+

Condition Description: 450 pp. with 16 pp. of contemporary woodcut advertisements bound in original brown boards. Spine worn and chipped at the top and there is some moderate soiling on the covers. Contents are generally quite good, lightly toned and soiled consistent with age. Includes the folding map of the Colorado Territory, approximately 21.5" x 16.75. It's heavily wrinkled with several old tape repairs on the verso, including a 5" jagged tear in the upper right where bound to the book. A few small tears and separations remain along the edges and at the fold intersections. Despite a few condition defects, the scarce map remains in good condition with original outline color.


1 in stock