The second location found of placer gold in the Gilpin area was found by
William Green Russell in June 1859 in what was to become know as Russell
Gulch. As a result of Russell's discovery of gold, a town soon
formed on the site. Before the summer was over, nearly 1,000
prospectors occupied the gulch and gold production averaged $35,000 a week.
During the winter, the residents unable to do much mining and prospecting, organized the town and the district, drawing up some of the first mining laws in the territory. They were progressive laws, too. Woman had the same rights as men and only children under ten were prohibited from holding claims.
When spring came the following year, so did hundreds more fortune seekers. Soon Russell Gulch was bulging with 2,500 citizens. A federal hall, brick school house, a church and dozens of business houses were build.
Russell left the area in 1862 to join the Confederate Army (he was originally from Georgia). He returned to Colorado and remained until 1875 when he joined the Cherokees in Oklahoma. His wife was a Cherokee squaw.
Russell Gulch became notorious during prohibition days as many bootleggers hid away in the mines using some of the deserted mine shafts as warehouses for their merchandise.
Below are historic pictures culled from various sources of the railroads, mines and mills around Russell Gulch.
Click on an image for a larger
This page was last updated 01/27/07
Copyright 2007 by Mark Baldwin