Clear Creek County, located approximately 30 miles west of Denver, was one of the original 17 counties of Colorado Territory created in 1861. Settlement in the region, however, began in 1859 during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, when prospectors settled along Clear Creek hoping to strike it rich.
The large scale, projected at two thousand feet to the inch, allows for incredible detail of the county to be shown in the earliest years of its existence. Mountains are named and beautifully shown via soft hachuring. Towns and creeks are identified, as are the wagon roads to Denver and Central City and numerous trails through the mountain passes. The proposed route of the Pacific railroad is clearly shown following the course of Clear Creek though Idaho to George Town, then back along Clear Creek and through Berthoud Pass to the northwest. Larger ranches are named (particularly in the more remote areas), and several businesses, including hotels, groceries and even a bathhouse, are located.
The detail on the map, however, is most evident respecting the county's mining resources, with over 125 individual lodes located and named, plus over 25 quartz mills and several saw mills in addition. Most of the lodes are closely congregated along the Clear Creek west of the town of Idaho.
Lowe's contribution to the development of mining in the region is noted in Frank Hall's early history of the state. "The first discoverer of gold in this region [i.e. Cripple Creek in El Paso County], and also the first to develop the vein formation, was Theodore H. Lowe, a noted mining engineer and surveyor. In October, 1881, ten years prior to any settlement at Cripple Creek, while subdividing some pastoral lands for his uncle, William W. Womack, of Kentucky, in the western part of El Paso county, Mr. Lowe found a detached block of what appeared to be float quartz. Breaking off a fragment, he took it to Prof. E. E. Burlingame, the leading assayer of Denver, for analysis, and in due time received a certificate stating that it contained at the rate of $166.23 gold per ton. Encouraged by this result, he returned to the spot and began searching for the outcrop of the vein whence the 'blossom' had been eroded, and at length found it. Locating thereon a claim called the 'Grand View,' he sunk a shaft ten feet deep, as required by law, and recorded the location in the office of the county clerk at Colorado Springs" (Hall, History of the State of Colorado vol.IV, p. 102).
We locate but two other known copies of this very rare 1866 Clear Creek County map (Denver Public Library and University of Colorado, Boulder [copies at Bancroft and Colorado Historical Society listed by OCLC are photocopies of original) and find no copies of the map ever appearing at auction.
Not in Phillips A List of Maps of America
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