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July 2019

Silver Cliff was formed in the late 1870s to house the miners of its namesake, the Silver Cliff mine, and other silver mines in the neighborhood, such as the Bull-Domingo. George Hafford first discovered silver in the area in June 1878 and the city of Silver Cliff was incorporated in January, 1879. Where once stood a meadow was now filled with houses, stores and mills. One local mill treated 100 tons of ore each day from the Racine Boy mine.

Silver Cliff’s nightlife was said to rivaled that of Leadville. The dancing girls were attractive, saloons numerous, many gamblers and the usual assortment of painted ladies.

By 1880, Silver Cliff was the third largest town in Colorado with a population of 5,040 people. By 1885, most of the rich deposits had been exhausted. The city’s income from taxes dropped significantly. In 1885, the city council raised the tax rate. Many people moved their houses and business on rollers to Westcliffe to avoid the taxes.