The Trail of Gold and Silver

Mining in Colorado, 1859-2009

by Duane A. Smith

Paperback Price $27.95
Ebook Price $22.95
30-day ebook rental price $9.99

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foreword by Thomas J. Noel

A Timberline Book

"This is no dry technical history meant solely for mining buffs. This book is for people interested in Colorado history who want to know about mining and for people interested in mining who do not know much about Colorado history."
—Jonathan Rees, New Mexico Historical Review

"This book proudly celebrates Colorado's 150 years of mining."
—David A. Wolff, Western Historical Quarterly

"Our high country can be a terrifying place even with the best technology available in 2009, but Smith's chronicle of those who somehow tamed the land 150 years ago under primitive conditions tells a story that's nothing short of miraculous."
—Ted Holteen, The Durango Herald

"With his lively style of writing, [the book] will appeal to general readers, while two sections of rare old photos put the human face on our mining history."
—Colorado Central Magazine

"The Trail of Gold and Silver is a superb overview of hard rock mining, a survey which ponders past failures as well as successes. From bonanzas such as Cripple Creek to Summitville's environmental disaster, Colorado Mining has had ups and downs as high as Mount Elbert and as deep as the Royal Gorge."
—Tom Noel, The Denver Post


In The Trail of Gold and Silver, historian Duane A. Smith details Colorado's mining saga—a story that stretches from the beginning of the gold and silver mining rush in the mid-nineteenth century into the twenty-first century. Gold and silver mining laid the foundation for Colorado's economy, and 1859 marked the beginning of a fever for these precious metals. Mining changed the state and its people forever, affecting settlement, territorial status, statehood, publicity, development, investment, economy, jobs both in and outside the industry, transportation, tourism, advances in mining and smelting technology, and urbanization. Moreover, the first generation of Colorado mining brought a fascinating collection of people and a new era to the region.

Written in a lively manner by one of Colorado's preeminent historians, this book honors the 2009 sesquicentennial of Colorado's gold rush. Smith's narrative will appeal to anybody with an interest in the state's fascinating mining history over the past 150 years.


Duane A. Smith is a professor of history at Fort Lewis College in Durango, and is the author or coauthor of more than fifty books on Colorado and the West. He also serves as chair of the Durango Parks and Forestry Board and on the Anima School House Museum Board.

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  • Paperback Price: $27.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60732-075-3
  • Ebook Price: $22.95
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $9.99
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-011-1
  • Publication Year: 2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Illustrations: 32 b&w photos, 1 map
  • Discount Type: Trade
  • Author: by Duane A. Smith
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-60732-075-3
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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