Stories Behind the Leadville Murals

Photo of the 10th Mountain Training for WWII mural in Leadville, CO

Stories Behind the Leadville Murals

The streets of historic Leadville are lined with classical architecture and colorful houses – celebrated remains from the early mining days. Stories are passed down through local museums and art installations that commemorate a variety of historic and modern memories. Glancing around town, there are several murals that may cause you to pause and wonder how it came to be. Each mural has a story, and these stories paint a picture of Leadville’s past, present and promising future.

Photo of the 10th Mountain Training for WWII mural in Leadville, CO

10th Mountain Training for WWII

Who: Painted by Lexie Palmore
Where: side of Community Banks of Colorado on Harrison Ave.
What: The mural serves to honor the 10th Mountain Division soldiers of WWII who trained in Camp Hale 1942-1945. The soldiers at this elite camp, located just 16 miles north of Leadville, trained to fight in harsh terrain simulating extreme alpine conditions in the war. Camp Hale was decommissioned in 1945, after brave individuals such as the 10th Mountain Division soldiers brought World War II to an end. The site remained open for U.S. Army training for 20 more years.

Photo of the PBR mural in Leadville, CO

Pabst Blue Ribbon Mural

Who: Painted by Lexie Palmore
Where: You’ll find this piece on the side of the Scarlet Tavern, on the corner of Harrison Ave and E 4th St.
What: This mural represents the diversity of citizens who’ve made Leadville the close-knit community it is today. From the left to right we see individuals representing Leadville’s earliest days, a 10th Mountain Division soldier, two modern outdoor enthusiasts and, finally, a handyman promoting one of America’s oldest businesses.

A photo of the A Cafe in the 1800s mural in Leadville, CO

A Cafe in the 1800s

Who: Painted by Lexie Palmore
Where: Side of Quincy’s on Harrison Ave.
What: This mural is a slice of Leadville culture in its earlier days. The old-fashioned wardrobes, air of elegance, and lack of cell phones reminds us of where we came from before MTV took over. The mystery of the piece begs the question, is the gentleman holding the covered tray a server working in a fine establishment or is he a personal butler entertaining at a house party? Is the lady on the right in love with the musician? What kind of food is being served, and why doesn’t anybody have plates or silverware?

Photo of the Ski Joring mural in Leadville, CO

Ski Joring

Who: Painted by Lexie Palmore
Where: At the corner of Harrison Ave and W 6th St, on the side of Harper Rose
What: If you haven’t heard of ski joring, you haven’t been around Leadville long enough. Since 1949, Leadville has entertained an annual winter race of about 800 feet in which a horse and rider pull a skier behind them through a high-speed course. Every first weekend in March Leadville hosts the Crystal Carnival, where spectators from around the globe come to watch and skiers take jumps and rings while flying down a well-groomed Harrison Avenue behind horses.

Photo of the Do Something Awesome Today mural in Leadville, CO

Kiddie Korral

Who: Painted by the Leadville Arts Coalition in June 2017 under direction of Amanda Good, local artist and teacher.
Where: The corner of Poplar and E. 9th St
What: The mural radiates from the playground with vibrant colors and positivity intended to spark a smile. Take a walk and check it out! It shines the brightest in contrast to our heavy winter snows.

Photo of the Ice palace mural in Leadville, CO

Ice Palace Park

Who: Painted by the Leadville Arts Coalition with direction from Amanda Good.
Where: Just off of Harrison Ave and 10th St
What: The history of the Ice Palace Park is rich and interesting by itself, and while there’s no longer an ice palace there, there’s a gorgeous mural well worth checking out. The colorful Colorado mural boasts a mesmerizing display of midday and sunset hues over our beautiful Rocky Mountains.

Photograph of the Geologic Mosaic Mural in Leadville, CO

Geologic Mosaic Mural

Who: Designed by Dr. Vince Matthews
Where: The corner W. 5th St
What: Dr. Vince Mathews was appointed as the state geologist and director of the Colorado Geological Survey in 2004, becoming an official resident of Leadville just a few short years after that. Dr. Matthews has also taught several local geology courses at Colorado Mountain College. As a passionate geologist, Mathews designed a cross-section of Colorado geology spanning from Independence Pass to Freemont Pass, showcasing the layers and fault lines that make our mountains. In 2015, under the direction of Amanda Good, Manager of the Leadville Arts Coalition Public Arts Projects, Dr. Matthews’ design was made into a public mosaic. It’s 100 feet long; you can’t miss it!

Photo of the Ladies of Leadville Mural in Leadville, CO

Ladies of Leadville

Who: Painted by Fred “Lightning Heart” Haberlein in the 1990s
Where: Corner of W. 3rd St and Harrison, on the side of the Cycles of Life Bike Shop
What: While the art has clearly been affected by the elements over the years, the characters in the mural seem as poised as ever. The woman in black is said to represent Mrs. Louis Lamb, widow to the man who was shot by the infamous Leadville Marshall Duggan in a pistol fight in 1880. The story asserts that Mrs. Lamb wore her widow’s weeds for seven years until Marshall Duggan was killed himself, at which time she immediately delivered her mourning clothes to Mrs. Mart Duggan, the widow of the man who killed her husband. Leadville has quite the dramatic history.

Photo of the Aspen Grove mural in Leadville, CO

Aspen Grove

Who: Coordinated by Amanda Good
Where: The corner of 8th and Harrison, north side of the Melanzana building
What: With striking detail this classic mountain scene truly brightens the Melanzana building, giving life to a picturesque view of a beautiful aspen grove.

We Love Leadville

Who: Painted by Julie and Henrik Lundgren, and Frank Bradach in 1988
Where: Formerly at the north entrance to Leadville, E. 12th St and Highway 24
What: Though not technically a mural and no longer a part of our community, the “We Love Leadville, Great Living @ 10,200’” wall was a part of our small-town charm from the mid 1980’s until just this past year. The sign was removed to make room for a housing development. With a length of almost 200 feet and running about 9 feet tall, the wall was a staple for welcoming passers-by and returning residents. It will be missed.