|Black Hawk owes its existence to John H. Gregory’s gold discovery on May 6,
1859. The discovery was made near the western boundary of Black hawk. Black
Hawk, with its abundant supply of water from the North Fork of Clear Creek,
evolved into a mill town for processing the ore from the numerous area
Black Hawk got its name from an early mining manufacturing company in Rock Island, IL. The owners named their quartz mill “Black Hawk” for the famous Sac and Fox Indian Chief. The mill was constructed in 1860 and located near the center of town.
After the placer gold and decomposed quartz ore was exhausted, Black Hawk and the surrounding towns fell into a slump during the late 1860s. As the mines got deeper, complex sufide ores were encountered which could not be milled by the primitive stamp mills. What was needed was a smelting process where the ore was first heated to drive off the sulfur followed by smelting. It was Prof. Nathaniel P. Hill who brought this technology to Black Hawk in the form of a successful smelter, opened in January, 1868. In 1877, Black Hawk’s smelters were processing half of all the ore mined in Gilpin County. The old stamp mills, now rendered useless, were converted into concentrators. Their purpose was to separate the worthless rock from valuable ore-producing concentrates which were sent to the smelters to produce a copper, gold and silver matte
Below are historic pictures culled from various sources of the railroads, mines and mills around Black Hawk Colorado.
Other photos of Black Hawk can be found at these pages...
Click on an image for a larger version.
This page was last updated 01/27/07
Copyright 2007 by Mark Baldwin