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Visits with History – W.S. Stratton and the Sale of the Independence Mine

June 5, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Millionaire mine owner Winfield Scott Stratton was a mass of contradictions, and controversy seemed to follow him around. This was no better displayed as when he sold his famous Independence mine above Victor, Colorado to the Venture Corporation of London for $10 million. The Denver Post called the sale “a bunco game,” and the Mining Reporter said it was “a most beautiful scheme to milk the English public.” But highly-regarded Colorado state geologist Thomas A. Rickard calculated ore reserves, and insisted that there was plenty of gold remaining in the Independence to pay the sales price and still make a profit. Rickard had the backing of the influential Engineering and Mining Journal out of New York City.

Join the Cripple Creek District Museum’s Visits With History on June 5th to find out who won and who lost in the sale of one of the best mines in the Cripple Creek District. The sale illustrates some of the issues at play in circa-1900 mining finance, and offers a lesson both for mining engineers and for everyone else.

Dan Plazak, a retired geologist and engineer, living in Denver will give an insightful presentation on this subject. Dan is the author of a history of fraud in the mining industry: A Hole in the Ground with a Liar at the Top (University of Utah Press, 2006). He has also written journal articles for many scientific journals. His current interest is the history of finding oil and minerals by nonscientific methods such as dowsing rods, and he would welcome discussion at dan@danplazak.com.

The Visits With History talk will be held at the Cripple Creek Heritage Center, 283 S Hwy-67, Cripple Creek CO. This program is presented as a public service of the Cripple Creek District Museum in partnership with the City of Cripple Creek. Reservations are recommended. Refreshments will be served. For more information or to make a seating reservation, please call 719-689-9540.


June 5, 2022
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Cripple Creek District Museum
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Cripple Creek Heritage Center
9263 S. CO-67
Cripple Creek, 80813
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