The area surrounding Steamboat Springs was originally inhabited by the Yampatika band of the Utes, who hunted in the valley during the summer. Trappers began to move through the area during the first decades of the 19th century. James Crawford, the founder of Steamboat Springs, first arrived in the spring of 1874. Originally, skiing was the only method of transportation during harsh and snowy Rocky Mountain winters. In turn, the popularity of skiing as a winter pastime catalyzed development of the town. Today “the boat” as the locals call it, is a premier recreational ski resort. Steamboat Springs has produced more athletes for the Winter Olympics than any other town in North America.
The Leadville area was first settled in 1859 when placer gold was discovered in California Gulch during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. The early miners had noted that mining for placer gold was hampered by heavy black sand in the sluice boxes, and in 1874 it was discovered that the heavy sand that impeded gold recovery was the lead mineral cerussite, which has a high silver content.. By 1872, placer mining in California Gulch yielded more than $2,500,000, roughly equivalent to $57,000,000 in 2021. Today Leadville is a thriving town and the highest city in the U.S. at 10,510 feet.