Red Mountain City

The Road
The Railroad
Red Mountain City
Congress Mine
Silver Ledge


   Red Mountain City (Congress Post Office),
             San Juan County, Colorado

      Also known as
Congress, Congress Town, Old Congress Town.  Not to be confused
Red Mountain Town or Rogersville which were further north on the other side of
      Red Mountain Pass in, Ouray County. 

      It is difficult to visualize today, but in 1883 and 1884 a "city" existed on both sides of
      the highway immediately to the north of the Addie S Cabin and Mineral Claim
      Some historians claim as many as 300 people lived there at its peak; the population
      was at least 50 in 1884.  Today the only signs this "city" existed are a few strange
      piles of rock.  But in its brief existence this "city" had a post office, a newspaper, a
      telephone, a hotel, a saloon, restaurants, several stores and many cabins. 
       Click on images below to enlarge, BACK to return here

        Patented Mining Claims Plat Map                                                                         1972 Topo Map

                                                                                    1904 Topo Map
      March 24, 1883.  Red Mountain City. Special Correspondence of Durango Southwest.  March 16. - This young city is pushing
         forward every day.  Numerous contracts are being let for new buildings, and new business firms are locating here with a marked
         degree of confidence in the future of the little city.  About the last of January there was one tent where Red Mountain City stands. 
         Now there are 25 creditable cabins, seven good and substantial business buildings occupied and six more will be ready for
         occupancy in less than a week.  There are two large tents occupied as places of business.  Four large business buildings will be
         begun the latter part of the week.  The business houses consist of one hotel by J. L. Haines; one store by Pattison & Frink, one
         meat market by Kutz & Emerson; one large saloon by Swickhimer & Co., one live paper by J. R. Curry, managed by H. M.
         Condict, and there are numerous other small business ventures.  The post-office will be placed in the Stockman building.  Within
         one month Red Mountain City will have over fifty business houses.  Rich strikes are reported every day, and the blast is hear all
         around the city every few minutes.  History repeats itself and Leadville must "rustle" to keep in the van.  Hundreds of people are
         coming into the district, and the greater number seem to have come for a purpose.  Yours truly, J.W.H.     

                        Red Mountain City (Congress Post Office), July 1883
        This photograph is believed to be the only one ever taken of Red Mountain City.  Note the bridge in
        road just beyond the stripped tall tree. It is believed this spans upper Mineral Creek.  Upper Mineral
        Creek crosses the highway today via a culvert under US 550.  Also note the pile of rocks at the right,
        bottom edge of the photo. Differing lens focal lengths and the subsequent construction of both the
        railroad and the highway at this location that materially changed the contour of the land, make it
        difficult, if not impossible, to take a photograph today that shows the exact same positioning of the
        mountains in the background of this 1883 photo.

         1998 photos at site of Red Mountain City

        Pre 1997 photo showing rock pile in foreground. "Evidence of stone foundations and old trail routes
        can be found on either side of the present highway."2 

       Many historians and publishers of historical photographs and books over the years
       have mistakenly identified the location of this town as being immediately adjacent
       to, or part of, the Congress Mine complex.  More recently, two have corrected
       these misconceptions.

       For a definitive discussion of the exact location of Red Mountain City, click HERE.
       An even more definitive description and excerpts from the most comprehensively
       researched history of Red Mountain City (Congress Post Office) follow:

           "There was nothing even resembling a town on the Red Mountain axis between Silverton and Ouray when all the [mining]
           excitement began. The closest thing to it was a small group of cabins which had been built near the confluence of Mineral
           Creek and Mill Creek at the end of the trail north of Burro Bridge in 1880 to accommodate miners working the claims of the
           Silver Crown Mining Company up Mill Creek under the supervision of E. T. Booth. The place was fleetingly referred to as Silver
           Crown Camp that fall, but the cabins were largely abandoned by 1882 as the Silver Crown project languished. The Red
           Mountain boom issued a tempting invitation for the establishment of a town, but the overwhelming response produced a chaotic
           collection of impractical settlements that exaggerated their stability, changed names, moved around, and generally confused
           historians for years to come. When the dust had settled, only three proved strong enough to serve their purpose, and only one
           family resides at any of these abandoned sites [Chattanooga] as the 20th century draws to a close.

           "Once the county line [location between Ouray and San Juan Counties] squabble was settled, it became obvious that Silverton
           and San Juan County interests couldn’t simply default to the two Ouray Country settlement possibilities [Hudson, later Barilla
           and still later Red Mountain Town; and Roger City, later Rogersville]. The reaction was the location of the Congress Placer
           claim by a group of Silvertonians. These men gathered at the office of Harry B. Adsit on January 9, 1883, to begin the legal
           enactment of their idea. John W. Wingate was elected chairman of the group, and Adsit was secretary and treasurer. The
           assembly voted to form the Red Mountain Town Company to plat the placer into a townsite to be named
Red Mountain City.
           John H. Seymour was designated surveyor and agent for the town company at
Red Mountain City, and to those who feel land
           use regulation was a foreign, 20th century concept, the minutes of the company’s meetings are a verification of the falsity of
           that idea. [Note: The minutes of the Red Mountain Town Company, which fostered
Red Mountain City in San Juan County,
           survive in a ledger book utilized by Adsit for some general accounting purposes prior to 1883. Only five meetings were
           apparently conducted, with minutes to the first three by Adsit, the fourth by Seymour and the fifth by Thomas Brown. San
           Juan County Historical Society Collection, Silverton.]

           "Buildings erected were to be no less than 18 x 22 feet, walls had to be at least nine feet high and structures had to have a
           good board or shingle roof. Parties selecting a lot paid $12.50 for a building permit; they had to start construction with 20 days
           and finish within 90, or forfeit the lot. Company members could pick two lots, pay the $12.50 once, and get a building on the
           second lot by July 1, 1883, and keep it; if not, the lot was forfeited back to the company. The main thoroughfare was to be 50
           feet wide, side streets 40, and lots 25 x 100 feet “so far as ...practicable and possible.” That language was perhaps the first
           admission that
Red Mountain City was to be situated in another horrible spot - also buried under several feet of snow and
           chosen more for its control over traffic up the Mineral Creek drainage toward the Red Mountains than for its promise as a

           "The second meeting of the company was conducted on January 24, 1883, at Adsit’s office in Silverton, where Seymour and
           Charlie Stockman were selected to locate lodes overlapping the townsite to protect the title, and where it was clarified that
           each company member was compelled to pick out at least one lot and start building within 20 days; if not, not only the lot
           but the interest in the town company would be forfeited. The February 5 meeting was also in Silverton, and concentrated on
           the need for a plan to patent the townsite and to “agitate” for a free road from the Yankee Girl into Silverton. Adsit, Seymour,
           Wingate, John Curry and J. R. Lattin agreed to work on this.

           "The table was now set atop the divide for a bitter rivalry between Rogersville, Barilla or Red Mountain Town, and
Mountain City. The only things missing were newspapers to fan the flames of animosity, and they were promptly provided by
           two competing Silverton publishers: George Raymond with the Red Mountain Review and John Curry with the first edition of
           the Red Mountain Pilot ...

           "John Curry had coaxed cold ink over type forms too many times to move the Pilot into a tent. It took him a little longer to
           get his required building put up and to find a printer who would operate the Pilot, meanwhile publishing the paper out of the
           Miner office in Silverton. It all came together for the issue of March 3, 1883. A Washington had press and Gordon job press
           were hauled by pack animals up the trail above
Sweetville and installed in the cabin awaiting them, and the operation was
           turned over to Harry M. Condit. Condit had first entered the Animas River country in 1881 to work on the short-lived Durango
           Daily Republican with James S. Turner. Out of a job in the fall of 1882, Condit briefly became assistant manager of Durango’s
           infamous Clipper Theater under Miles B. (Jim) Marshall, but the red-headed Condit (who insisted his hair was “auburn”)
           grabbed the opportunity presented by Curry’s offer and became one of the citizens of
Red Mountain City.

           "The Red Mountain City fathers had met once again on February 20, and authorized Seymour to conduct an official patent-
           related survey of the townsite, to “take in as much territory as he may think proper.” The realities of human nature and the
           wintry season struck at this meeting, and a modification was adopted whereby, prior to April 18, parties could put up tents to
           carry on a business (also with an 18 x 22 foot minimum) and be allowed until July 15 to complete a permanent building. The
           town company established meetings twice a month, but met only one more time. The petition for the absolutely necessary
           post office at
Red Mountain City had been submitted without any reference in the town company minutes, and the
           government established the office - third in the district - effective April 2, 1883. As with the conflict for Barilla, the U.S. Post
           Office Department wasn’t going to allow the name
Red Mountain City since there was by now a Red Mountain Town, and so
           this group had to settle for its second choice as well, which was Congress. It was public relations blow to Wingate, Adsit,
           Curry and their associates, and the founders continued to carry the name
Red Mountain City as the location of the
           Congress Post Office through the balance of the short life of the settlement.

           "The dual nomenclature has been one of the primary factors in 20th century confusion over where
Red Mountain City and
           Congress were. They were the same place, and those who gave birth to the pretentious community had chose an
           inhospitable site on the rocky slope a little more than a mile above Sweetville. The precise location of Congress (
 Mountain City) - thought by many through the years to be at the Congress Mine or elsewhere on Red Mountain No. 3 - is
           six-tenths of a mile south of the summit of today’s Red Mountain Pass. The route of U. S. Highway 550 drops through the
           unlikely site just south of the point at which Mineral Creek finishes its descent from Mineral Basin and turns sharply south,
           and careful scrutiny will reveal evidence of stone foundations on both sides of the highway at that point.

           "The first building completed at
Red Mountain City was a log cabin built by John R. Lattin. He was a working associate of
           George Crawford and James Irving, and was superintendent of both the Summit at Ophir and the North Star (Sultan) at
           Silverton. His interest drew him into the Red Mountain company, and he finished his cabin around February 1, 1883. Lattin
           immediately rented his structure to two Durangoans - George W. Kutz and William H. (Billy) Emerson - who opened a meat
           market. The first week in February found Mart Stockman of Silverton excavating for his log building, in which he planned to
           install barber Robert Hanna, and Levander W. Pattison was grading a foundation for his structure. His logs were already cut,
           and the building went up quickly. Pattison - the same adventurous soul who had taught school at the Pinkerton Ranch in the
           Animas Valley and survived the Lime Creek Burn by taking refuge in the Molas Mine - went into the general mercantile and
           miner supply business at
Red Mountain City in partnership with Charles Fink, a merchant who arrived from Grand Rapids,
           Michigan, the first week in March. Pattison’s store was up the last week in February, and promptly became home to the
           community’s telephone. The Pilot office was not far behind in completion, and was apparently toward the upper end of the
           main thoroughfare. No sooner had Pattison finished his store than he set to work on an addition to the building to house an
           assay office. Pattison purchased the first paper printed in
Red Mountain City at an auction for $15, and placed it under the
           cornerstone of his addition at the rear of his building. Despite the promotional hype in the Pilot, about the only business up
           and running at
Red Mountain City by March 1 were the Kutz & Emerson meat market , the Pattison & Fink general store,
           the cabin in which the first “local” issue of the newspaper was being printed, and a tent in which town co-founder John L.
           Haines had opened the first version of his Congress House, the first lodging establishment in the camp. The same man who
           had operated the Silverton brickyard and hotels at Cascade and Ophir, Haines had shipped the first goods to the new
           townsite on January 7, as one of the more aggressive of the city’s founders. The shipment included the tent and its
           furnishings, and Haines provided immediate shelter and meals for those passing on the trail or coming to work at their cabins.
           He still owned the Ophir hostelry at this point and his wife Nellie - who had visited
Red Mountain City on one or two
           occasions early on - was still at Ophir in marginal health, looking after the enterprise there. Haines announced that tent was
           only temporary, and started to work immediately on a two-story hewn log building on the west side of the trail that would be
           home to permanent Congress House. Haines toiled over the structure, seeking to make this his best hotel yet, but the
           duration of is meticulous efforts unfortunately coincide almost exactly with the viable life of the settlement itself.

           "John Seymour undoubtedly drew one [town plat] for
Red Mountain City on the San Juan County side of the district, but it
           has never been located. Like their counterparts in Red Mountain Town, the hopeful citizens of
Red Mountain City were still
           wading around in the snow during the formative months of March and April, with most development necessarily limited to
           Main Street, which was also the rocky trail that climbed through the center of town. Jack McKinzie completed a false-front
           structure opposite Pattison & Fink’s store, and it’s believed this is the building in which this settlement’s only enduring
           saloon - The Miner’s Exchange - was operated. The proprietor was, surprisingly, Rico prospector David Swickhimer, who
           looked after the business for partner Tom Cain. Swickhimer was still a single man at this point. He came out of the Red
           Mountain excitement with an interest in the Yankee Boy but was still several years away from his great strike in the
           Enterprise Mine at Rico and from back-to-back terms as Dolores County sheriff. J. H. Alderson erected another of the
           earliest buildings, and Charles Carpenter put up a shingle-roof structure, which he had a great deal of difficulty renting.
           He first leased to Durango parties at $50 a month for a year, but they backed out. He next interest Patsy Heffron and Bill
           VanSant from Pagosa Springs in a lease, but they showed up with no rent money and, as the Pilot put it, Carpenter “kept
           the key in his pocket”. By the end of the first week of March, the Pilot bragged that 20 buildings were up, and those still
           working supposedly included Albert Mayers (putting up a meat market branch for Grow & Mayers), John Wingate (getting
           up a hardware sore for Posey & Wingate) and John H. Conley of Durango. Conley had originally intended to get into the
           hay and grain business and maybe build a restaurant, but when he saw how slowly John Haines was moving on his
           Congress House, Conley threw together a two-story hotel he named the Conley House lower on the main thoroughfare.
           It opened early in April with 20 room, and as operator of one of the growing number of pack trains, Conley was able to
           furnish it inexpensively. When he had completely equipped the hotel, Conley brought two of his numerous sisters to
           Mountain City
to operate the house - Ell and Hannah. They were two of the first three women to settle in Red Mountain
, although as hindsight shows, “settle” proved to be a relative term. The third was Mary Weddington Andrews, the wife
           of W. H. Andrews. The had chosen to speculate on the new camp, and Mary Andrews was operating a restaurant in a log
           building right next to the Pilot office by mid-April. Former Silverton restaurant operator Andrews built and helped set up the
           place, but was looking for housing in Durango by the end of May. Ella and Hannah Conley and Mary Andrews were
           accorded the honor of being the first women in
Red Mountain City or Congress by the Red Mountain Pilot, but the
           newspaper’s calculations overlooked four other females. One was W. H. and Mary Andrews’ five-year-old daughter Minnie,
           who was the first - and probably the only - child to call
Red Mountain City home. The other three were the three prostitutes
           who had arrived in the budding settlement for the grand opening of Swickhimer & Cain’s saloon the evening of March 10.
           They were the legendary Mollie Foley of Durango, Lizzie Gaynor of Durango, and “Long Annie” of Silverton, probably either
           Annie Dunn or Annie May. The Pilot unabashedly introduced the colorful trio to the new community, but it’s not likely the
           three women stayed around for any great length of time.

           "It still snowed hard about half the time, but the Pilot’s promotion continued and structures kept popping up on the wooded
           slope. Contractors to see in
Red Mountain City were West & Livingston and A. L. Raplee, although when everyone got tired
           of keeping up pretenses, Dave Swickhimer went mining and Raplee ran his bar for him until Swickhimer & Cain sold out the
           last week in June to Charles Carpenter. Carpenter finally figured out what to do with his building, and moved the saloon
           fixtures down the street to it, where his neighbor was the busy Conley House and not the unfinished Congress House Dave
           Swickhimer had been banking on for months. Mart and Charlie Stockman finally finished their building - which was likely
           across the street from Haines’ tedious hotel building project - in time to move the brand new
Congress Post Office in
           among their combined barber shop and confectionery fixtures for its April 2, 1883, opening. Charlie Stockman was made
           postmaster. John Haines had ceremoniously trimmed a tall coniferous tree in front of the new log Congress House as a flag
           pole, but the Stockmans entrusted the flag to a smaller milled pole a few yards closer to their building once the postal
           facility opened. Alfred Iles assisted H. M. Condit on the
Red Mountain Pilot when he wasn’t out prospecting, and the other
           staff member during the paper’s ecstatic period was John S. Parks, characterized as one fast type-setter. The Pilot and the
           Review hammered away at each other and their respective camps. The latter was in greater proximity to the Hudson,
           Yankee Girl, Guston and National Belle. The Pilot had only the Congress to really brag about, but pounced on any
           development that might indicate it had a place of equal importance in the Red Mountain picture. An early March discovery
           at the Silver Ledge below
Red Mountain City stirred some excitement. An open cut of 15 feet and an exploratory drift of the
           same length had exposed what the Pilot said was a solid deposit of brittle silver. The truth was probably a little less
           spectacular, but another of the region’s consistent producing lower-grade mines had been unearthed by two Ophir miners,
           Charles E. Emery and Julius C. (Jack) Bates. Callihan &McKay, a partnership excavating for a building about 100 yards
           north of the Pilot office, reportedly discovered good ore on March 2, and probably never finished their building. Some times
           of the day, with snow falling and the wind howling, it may have seemed as if the struggle at
Red Mountain City was
           pointless, but J. M Stafford passed down through the center of the camp with ten tones of Yankee Girl ore on pack
           animals every single day like clockwork as one reminder of what it was all about. Even with accumulating snow, if the
can be believed, approximately 8,000 pounds of freight on upwards of 200 animals passed up the trail from Mill Creek
           into the district every day under the guidance of John Burnett or Stafford on his return trip to the Yankee Girl, and this
           activity alone kept the trail clear of the mounting snow.

           "Late April brought still other parties onto the scene at
Red Mountain City. Charles D. Wodruff, who had been involved in
           clerical work at Silverton as an assistant to county clerk Harry B. Adsit, joined the ranks of the packers for a short time.
           William Egbert, who had been drifting in and out of the San Juans since 1881, announced plans to build and open another
           assay office. After an insincere start, Egbert eventually borrowed a horse from Anson (Shorty) Bridgman, and both horse
           and man disappeared. Herr, Hodges & Herr put up a livery stable building and Silverton druggist J. W. Fleming also
           reportedly finished a building on his lot, but it is not clear who operated these business during their brief existence. Of
           greater duration was John G. Edwards from Larned, Kansas, who come midway through April to open a general store,
           probably in one of the buildings already erected by one of the town founders. Edwards’ wife was the sister of Emma
           Damon Stockman, Mart Stockman’s spouse, and the Stockmans no doubt had influence in bringing Edwards to Red
           Mountain. Mrs. Edwards joined her husband in May, becoming the fourth adult female to call
Red Mountain City home as
           her husband established his mercantile line. Both Robert Ambold and Thomas (Tom) Williams became involved in
           conveying passengers and mail between Silverton and
Red Mountain City about this time.

           "The snow obviously continued into May, but discouragement was still unheard of at
Red Mountain City. Lots were reportedly
           selling for anywhere between $25 and $100. What was described as the “Gulch Addition” to the new city had approximately
           40 cabins of recent construction, probably located in the gulch of Mineral Creek above the camp to the west. The Red
           Mountain Review lambasted
Red Mountain City as “Lookout City” for its steep location, and chided the settlement for not
           being as large as it claimed. The Pilot apologetically reminded its readers that many of the cabins in the camp “can not
           readily be seen from the trail”. A complicated arrangement between John Haines and the Richard Bradfields made Mrs.
           Bradfield the fifth woman in town from the first week in May to the first week in June, when the Brafields moved over to
           Ophir to operate the Haines’s place there as summer business increased. J. P. Odenkirk put up a new building in the
           commercial district, and Franklin J. Pratt - the originator of the old Mineral Point Tunnel in 1879 - was reportedly bringing his
           family to
Red Mountain City to build a hotel, with his wife touted as the sixth woman in the camp. The Pratts did reside in
           the area during the rest of the spring, but their commercial project did not materialize. Levandre Pattison had encouraged
           another member of his family to join him at
Red Mountain City, and on May 19, he went down to Silverton to meet his son,
           Charles H. Pattison, who arrived on the train from Topeka, Kansas.

           "Misfortune began to work its way into the scene at
Red Mountain City all the same. A late April Blast in the Lucky Boy had
           injured James Donaldson, who apparently lost his right eye as a result of the incident. Michael Renahin, blacksmith at one
           of the district’s smaller workings, tossed some wood shavings on his fire during the same week. They contained an
           unexpended explosive cap, and the blacksmith suffered injuries on is face and eyes which were deemed not serious. John
           Conley lost everything on the place in a May fire at his ranch in the Animas Valley, where ha had stored a good deal of feed,
           grain, tack and produce he was planning to utilize at
Red Mountain City. Most of his animals and wagons were busy along
           the Animas River and Mineral Creek at the time, and were thus spared, leaving Conley to concentrate on his enterprises at
           Red Mountain. Charlie Stockman cut a long gash in his left foot chopping firewood the evening of May 10, and his
           recuperation include turning the operation of the post office at
Congress (Red Mountain City) over to John G. Edwards. The
           mail generally arrived at 11 a.m. and left at 1 p.m., although it was still largely conveyed by private carriers and the
           newspaper reminded postal patrons to leave a dollar with the postmaster “to pay the carrier”. Stockman lost interest in his
           position and Edwards became the de facto postmaster at
Congress, receiving his official commission on July 10, 1883.

           "When nature finally transformed the melting snow into mud on the Red Mountain divide in June, there was literally that much
           more of it to sling. The two battling newspapers caustically pointed out the shortcomings of the rival settlement’s location.
           Red Mountain Town’s Review cautioned that
Red Mountain City was built on a steep and rocky mountainside and wasn’t
           close enough to any significant mines to do anyone any good.
Red Mountain City’s Pilot observed that the spring thaw
           proved Red Mountain Town was built in a bog of significant proportions and wasn’t on what was slowly becoming a direct
           route through the district connecting Silverton and Ouray. They were both right, and the haste of the winter’s folly in town
           location was becoming painfully apparent. In retrospect, it is interesting to note the mirror images the warring camps
           presented. Each newspaper accused the rival community of accidentally drowning a burro within the town limits, and from
           treatment of the incident, it appears that one of the little fellows may actually have drowned in one of the marshes which
           adjoined Red Mountain Town. The Congress Mine, frustrated with transportation limitations, was said to be considering
           building an aerial tramway all the way to Silverton... Fingers were pointed over the county line in each direction as what
           were supposed to be the substantial keystones of the respective communities turned out to be hastily built log cabins that
           were sliding down a rocky mountainside or sinking into a polluted iron bog. Both settlements were pathetic excuses for a
           town, and the only difference between them was that it took what we must now identify as Red Mountain Town No. 1
           longer to die. As things turned out,
Red Mountain City (Congress) never reached its first birthday. The settlement fell apart
           as mobility increased in the summer of 1883 and its founders realized its location was neither very strategic nor very
           attractive as a town-site. Most of its merchants were gone by the end of the summer, although many retained their interests
           in district mines and some of the best cabins continued to give shelter to miner for a few years. The
Congress post office
           was formally terminated January 4, 1884 - long after it had actually been abandoned.

           "The fifth and final meeting of the Red Mountain Town Company - backers of
Red Mountain City (Congress) - was
           conducted on April 24, 1883, at Silverton with nine men present, and was devoted exclusively to Seymour’s survey of a road
           from Chattanooga to
Red Mountain City and awarding the lowest bidder, George W. Seaman, the job of building the road for
           $1,675. The town company apparently never conducted another meeting after this gathering. Seaman was the investors in
 Red Mountain City. The project was declared finished the last week of June, 1883.

           "While Red Mountain Town somehow survived its first year,
Red Mountain City (Congress) did not. The melting snow early in
           summer exposed wither mud or barren rock; there didn’t seem to be anything in between. The first wagon to ever reach the
           community was brought up from Mineral Creek by John Conley on June 20, 1883. The eighth woman in camp arrived in the
           person of the wife of William R. Keating. The Keatings were to assume operation of the dining facilities at the Congress
           House, but the place still wasn’t ready so they moved on to Telluride, where Keating was adjudged insane and committed
           two years later. Sylvan C. Johnson was the primary contractor for John L. Haines on the Congress House, but when he
           finally finished the large log structure, he immediately filed suit for payment of his contract in July, and a lien further delayed
           the building’s use. Nellie Haines came over from Ophir to help prepare for a grand opening of the hotel, but that opening
           never came. John Haine’s spouse had bee ill at Ophir, and Red Mountain City didn’t improve her condition. By late August,
           both John and Nellie Haines were back at Ophir. The Congress House, which was to have been the symbol of prosperity in
           the new settlement, stood starkly vacant during the fall, and collapsed before the end of December, 1883, from heavy snow

           "The Pilot continued to wear its happy face through June, , proudly claiming at one point that survey crews from the Denver
           & Rio Grande Railway had laid out depot grounds just below the Conley House. Members of the family of Levander and
           Charles Pattison joined the two men in June, and there were plenty of Stockman family members around, too, including
           George and Catherine Ann Booth Stockman - the parents of Martin and Charlie Stockman and Mollie Stockman Hodges.
           But instead of unbridled growth, early July brought the realization that
Red Mountain City didn’t serve any purpose other
           than attempting to keep all the commerce capital from winding up in Ouray County, and with everything else that was
           happening in the Red Mountain District, that just wasn’t enough. It wasn’t so much that
Red Mountain City was not on the
           best travel route into the district from the south, as some have suggested, because it was. It was simply that there wasn’t
           any reason for anyone to stop part way up the mountain when most primary destinations in the district were just minutes
           away at the top of the divide. By the end of the first week in July, Dave Swickhimer had bailed out, John W. Fleming had
           rented out what he had originally planned as his drug store, and - most telling of all - the entire staff of the Red Mountain
abandoned ship. H. M Condit and John Parks, who had been assisting him, returned to Silverton to go to work for
           the newest newspaper there, the Silverton Democrat.

           "The management of the Pilot at that point fell, almost by default, to Charles Pattison, who later wrote a bizarre and graphic
           epitaph for both the town and the newspaper that implied an uncommonly precise end to each. Reminiscing just before the
           turn of the century, Pattison told the Kansas City Journal:

                "...For three months, I ran a weekly paper in a town with two inhabitants - the postmaster and myself. It was at
Congress, Colorado .... I did a land office business (on published mining claim legal notices)... A few months before
                there was to be another readjustment of the postmaster’s salary, things began to drag at
Congress. The mines were not
                panning out very well. There was a strike at Telluride, and all of the miners picked up and went to that place.. Within a
                week there was no one left but the postmaster James [John G.] Edwards and myself. Edwards did not care to give up
                his post office so long as it paid well....

                "I was tied up with a lot of legal publications. I was certain to get my soon as they had run the required
                length of time, so I could not leave. We had everything our way. I would help him run his post office and he would help
                me write hot stuff, set it up and pull the lever to an old Washington hand press. The post office business was confined
                almost wholly to handling the circulation of my paper - the Red Mountain Pilot - about fifty copies.

                "The day that the legal notices last appeared, I told Edwards that I was going to pull up stakes and leave. His big
                salary [$1,500 a year] ran another month and he wanted me to stay, offering to divide up, but that was no inducement.
                When he found that I was determined to leave, he said, “ I’ll lock up the post office and go, too.” He turned the key in
                the door at the post office and I locked the door to the newspaper office, and we walked out of town. [note:  The Journal
                interview was reprinted in the Denver Times, October 15, 1899. The last surviving edition of the Pilot is dated July 28,
                1883, despite the statement in Condit’s Silverton Democrat of August 4, 1883, p.3, that there was no paper the last
                week in July. From other sources, it is believed Pattison issued papers during the first half of August, his last issue
                probably being August 11, 1883, and the editions he did print were, as he admitted, largely legal notices running out
                their required publication. While some residents did return to Telluride and Ophir, Pattison was not being honest when
                he said the town died because the mines were not panning out. The printing equipment was offered for sale several
                times, with no takers, although Curry did eventually return to the newspaper business.]

           "Pattison’s story, while apocryphal in some respects, probably isn’t too far from the truth in others. The Pilot instantly
           dropped to a single two-sided sheet and, as a matter of fact, Pattison published four and no more than five newspapers
           from his start July 14 before he quit. Red Mountain’s Review gloated over the death of the Pilot in its August 18 edition,
           but there was no point in beating a corpse.
Red Mountain City was dead."2



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