Galena Mining District Information

Hinsdale County

Galena District (aka Henson Creek District)

The Galena District was one of the six districts into which the Colorado legislature divided Hinsdale County in 1893. (The others were the Carson, Cimarron, Lake, Whitecross and Sherman Districts.) The district occupies the Lake City, Uncompahgre Peak and Redcloud Peak quadrangles.
Henderson (1926) recognized the Galena District in his compilation for Colorado, and Vanderwilt (1947) placed it along Henson Creek, west of Lake City and considered the Henson Creek District an alternate name. He noted that all the productive mines were located near the creek.

The Galena District overlaps (or blends into) the major district to the east, known variously as the Lake, Lake City, and/or Lake Fork District. separates these into two districts. The seminal work on the area – Irving and Bancroft (1911) does not distinguish the different districts, but rather discusses mines in the vicinity of Lake City.

Further confusing the situation, the Galena/Henson Creek District is described by the name of the creek. Irving and Bancroft list the group of mines among the most famous and productive in the area (the Hidden Treasure, Ute and Ulay) among the “Henson Creek Mines” which implies Henson Creek (Galena) District; lists these in the Lake City District, as does Dunn (Ibid). Vanderwilt (Ibid) places these mines in the Galena (Henson Creek) District also, and provides a structural distinction between the two districts, noting that a down-faulted block lies between Henson Creek and Lake Fork. We have chosen to make the distinction as does, so that referencing the mines will be easier for the reader.

The geology and mineralization of the district is typical of the western San Juan Mountains. The district sits within the caldera fill on the northeast margin of the Lake City Caldera (Steven and Lipman, 1976; Wilson and Spanski, 2004). Units include Oligocene quartz latite and andesitic flows and breccias of significant lateral extent, plus more localized flows; the Bachelor Mountain and Carpenter Ridge tuffs, the Fish Canyon tuff, the La Garita tuff, the Henson and Burns formations, the Sapinero Mesa, Eureka and Dillion Mesa tuffs along with silicic lavas (Day et al., 1999). Generalized descriptions are also available in Sanford et al. (1987).

Mineralization was described generally by Vanderwilt (Ibid) as vein mineralization continuous with that of the Silverton area. Bove et al. (2000) distinguish 23 Ma precious metal-bearing barite veins and older base-metal veins. Irving (1905) and Irving and Bancroft (1911) provide a detailed descriptions of the rocks and mineralization.

The town of Henson was the main settlement in the district. It was the site of a major miners strike in 1899 centered on the Ute-Ulay and Hidden Treasure Mines (mines which we have placed in the Lake City District, further demonstrating the overlapping of the districts in this area). The Colorado governor sent six companies of troops to keep order and the strike was finally settled with the involvement of the Italian consul. (Eberhart, 1969).

Mines listed in the district (; Irving and Bancroft) include:
 Ajax No. 2
 Bess
 Big Casino Mine (Big Casino No. 2 Mill
Site; Big Casino No. 2; Patented Claims:
Big Casino No. 2)1
 California mine
 Capitol City Mine (Panhandle; Old
Glory; Laddie Boy; Sunny Chief)1
 Chord
 Copper Mountain
o Big Horn prospect
o John J. Crooke prospect
 Czar Mine (Broker; Czarina; Czar)1
 Czarina Mine1
 Dolly Varden Mine (Varden Belle Mine;
Patented Claim: Dolly Varden)
 Eagle and Mary Alice Claims
 Excelsior Mine (Patented Claim:
 Frank Hough Mine (Hough Mine;
Patented Claim: Frank Hough)
 Gallic – Vulcan Group (Weatherhorn)1
 Golconda Mine
 Henderson Gold Mine1
 Henson Creek-Ute Creek
 Highland Chief Mine (Wall Street
Empire Chief Mine; Mathison)
 Hoosier Boy Mine (Unpatented Claims:
Isabel R.; Little Joe; Red Bird; Patented
Claim: Adelia; Blue Bird)
 Lellie Mine (Red Rover)1
 Lilly Mine1
 Mohawk
 Moro Mine (Moro Extension; Moro
Tunnel Site; Ajax Limited; Moro-Ajax
Mine; Moro Mill Site; Patented Claims:
Moro Limited; Unpatented Claims: Ajax
No. 2)1
 Oro – Fino Tunnels
 Palmetto Mine (Chimney Corner)
 Pearl and Ruby Groups (Ruby; Patented
Claim: Pearl)
 Pride of America Mine1
 Silver Chord Mine (Patented Claim:
Silver Chord)
 St Louis
 Treasure Hill Spar Claim (Patented
Claims: Treasure Hill Spar)
 Vermont1
 Woodstock Prospect
 Yellow Medicine Mine (Mountain Bell;
Patented Claims: Yellow Medicine)1
Note: 1 Detailed description of mine contained in Irving and Bancroft (1911).
Minerals listed in the district ( include:
‘Chlorite Group’
‘Copper Stain’
var: Argentiferous Galena
Muscovite var: Sericite
var: Amethyst
var: Chalcedony
‘Ruby Silver Ore’
Bove, D.J., Hon, K., Budding, K.E., Slack, J.F., Snee, L.W. and Yeoman, R.A. 2000. Geochronology and
Geology of Late Oligocene Through Miocene Volcanism and Mineralization in the Western San Juan
Mountains, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-347.
Dunn, Lisa. 2003. Colorado Mining Districts: A Reference. Colorado School of Mines, Golden,
Eberhart, Perry. 1969. Guide to Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps. Fourth, revised edition.
Swallow Press, Athens, Ohio.
Henderson, C.W. 1926. Mining in Colorado, a history of discovery, development and production. U.S.
Geological Survey Professional Paper 138.
Irving, J.D. and Bancroft, H. 1911. Geology and Ore Deposits near Lake City, Colorado. U.S. Geological
Survey Bulletin 478.
Slack, J.F. 1980. Multistage Vein Ores of the Lake City District, Western San Juan Mountains, Colorado.
Economic Geology, v. 75, no. 7, pp. 963-991.
Steven, T.A. and Lipman, P.W. 1976. Calderas of the San Juan Volcanic Field, Southwestern Colorado.
U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 958.
Vanderwilt, John W. 1947. Mineral Resources of Colorado. Colorado Mineral Resources Board, Denver,
Wilson, A.B. and Spanski, G.T. 2004. Distribution of Mines and Mineralized Areas in Bankey, Viki, ed.
Resource Potential and Geology of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison (GMUG) National
Forests and Vicinity, Colorado. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 2213-E, p. 67-86., accessed September 2015.

This information is from the Colorado Geological Survey website at

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