IT was time to get away from Denver and its summit madness and head to Leadville, high up in the Rockies.
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At 10, feet, it is the loftiest town in the US. The road out of Denver first crossed the front range of the Rockies, with Buffalo Bill's grave on one side and the gleaming statue to Mother Cabrini, the first canonised US saint, on the other. Ahead lay the snow-capped peaks of the Continental Divide. We cheated here as we went under the divide through the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel. We were following in the tracks of some distinguished Irish forebears, such as Oscar Wilde, who in April made the ascent by train from Denver to Leadville to play to the tough miners in the Tabor Opera House.
It has been lovingly preserved by Evelyn Furrman, now in her 80s, in the same condition Wilde would have seen it. So is most of The Silver Dollar saloon across the street, where Wilde went for a drink after a performance hardly a word of which his audience could understand as they sat or snoozed with their guns on their thighs.
But they were fascinated by Wilde's flowing locks and outfit, which was an elegant black velvet suit, knee britches and black stockings, a Byron collar and a cluster of diamonds on his shirtfront. He made so many references to the 16th-century Italian artist, Benvenuto Cellini, that some of his audience wanted to know why Oscar had not brought the artist with him. When they were told he had been dead for some time, they wanted to know, "Who shot him?
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The miners brought Wilde over to the saloon then called Pap Wyman's. The thing that most impressed him was the sign over the piano which said "Please do not shoot the pianist.
He is doing his best. We bought drinks on the house in memory of Oscar - there was only one other customer there - while the barman, Tony McMahon, son of the owner, Patricia, explained that there are two St Patrick's Days in Leadville, with the next one coming up on September 20th. We did not follow Wilde's dining experience. The miners had got to like him so much that they invited him to dinner at the bottom of the Matchless mine, which he descended in a bucket, dressed this time in a rubber suit. He later reported: "I had supper. The first course was whisky, the second whisky and the third whisky.
Leadville was a tough town in those days but it was booming from the rich silver strikes which were making some of the prospectors, such as the three Irish brothers, John, Charles and Patrick Gallagher, millionaires.
The Opera House, built to give the town some culture, was on the "Silver Circuit" for well-known orchestras, actors and artists, such as Sarah Bernhardt, Houdini and Harry Lauder. Dracula's Clontarf creator, Bram Stoker, went there as the stage manager to the Henry Irving touring company. Once when the town was frozen up, a circus was put on in the Opera House, as was the Ben Hur chariot rave. Horace Tabor, who founded the Opera House, became a multi-millionaire by staking some lucky silver prospectors.
Old Wilde West - Picture of Old Wild West, Nola
But he and much of Leadville were ruined in the Great Silver Crash of when the government went off the silver standard. He kept hoping his Matchless mine would prosper again and told Baby Doe to stick with it after his death.
She did and was found frozen to death there in The Wild West was a fascinating time and place in American history. The American west featured all sorts of people from pioneers and scouts to lawmen, outlaws, gangs and gunfighters gunslingers , to the American cowboy, and legendary pioneering women on the frontier.
You'll find history, lore and biographies of the lives and times of those who populated the Wild West. Meet "Billy The Kid", Jesse James, the Clantons and the Dalton gang and the lawmen who stopped them, famous sheriffs and their deputies. Learn interesting western facts about inventions like barbed wire and denim blue jeans.
Old Wilde West - Picture of Old Wild West, Nola - TripAdvisor
Explore the life of the cowboy who spent up to four straight months in the saddle, often in the same clothes every day. He ate every meal at the chuck wagon, drinking nothing but coffee and water. At night, if a storm came and the cattle started running, it was the cowboy's job to jump on his horse to head off the cattle and round them up safely. You'll also learn of the adventures of pioneers and famous American Indians Native Americans and their battles against European settlers; how they created beautiful arts, crafts, beadwork and stunning silver jewelry like the spectacular squash blossom necklace and ruggedly handsome Navajo Indian rugs and weavings they favored.
You can read about American Indian dances and spirituality and religious practices plus enjoy authentic native recipes. Saloons served such customers as fur trappers, cowboys, soldiers, gold prospectors and miners and gamblers. By way of entertainment, saloons offered dancing girls.
Many saloons offered poker, brag, three-card monte, and dice games. Other games were added as saloons continued to thrive and face growing competition. These added games included billiards, darts. Some saloons even incorporated piano players and theatrical skits. If you want a small taste of the games they played in the old west go to go to our games section.
While the outlaws of the old west packed their six shooters and rifles to rob banks, stagecoaches and trains, modern day outlaws are a more inventive lot. Oftentimes, these bandits resort to defrauding innocent folk and use blackmail and extortion instead of revolvers, although, some have certainly been known to use guns too. When the country was wild and young, anything could happen and people often took justice into their own hands.