Tabor Opera House, Leadville, Colorado

Margaret  Hyde

Ulverstone, Australia

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Artist's Description

1210 viewings on 4 July, 2016.

The Tabor Opera House was built in 1879 by Horace Austin Warner Tabor, one of Colorado’s most well known mining magnates. It was one of the most costly and most substantially-built structures in Colorado history. Despite the building materials having to be brought up to Leadville by wagons, the Tabor was constructed in 100 days from the date of ground-breaking.

The massive 3 storey building was constructed of stone, brick and iron, and trimmed with Portland cement. It’s solid brick walls are 16 inches thick. The colour scheme was red, gold, white and sky-blue, with the blending of the beauty of everything fully revealed by 72 jets of brightly burning gas lights.

Since H.A.W. Tabor’s time, the opera house has hosted many notable talents including, Houdini, John Philip Sousa, Oscar Wilde and Anna Held.

Horace Austin Warner Tabor was born in Vermont in 1830 to poor parents of English ancestry. In 1857 he married Augusta Pierce, daughter of his employer in Maine. Together they moved to Kansas to try their hand at farming, then later through Denver to Leadville. Horace eventually settled in the area, running a grocery store and becoming the town’s first mayor and second postmaster. Later he invested in silver mining ventures, including the Matchless Mine, that would make him a fortune. At the height of his wealth he was estimated to be worth 100 million dollars.

In 1880, Horace met a young woman, Elizabeth Bonduel McCourt Doe, and the two began a secret relationship. Later that year he left his wife Augusta and sought a divorce. He and Elizabeth were married, however complications arose when they discovered that his divorce from Augusta had never been legalised. After a bitter settlement battle he and Augusta were officially divorced and Augusta moved to Colifornia with a generous portion of the Tabor fortune.

Despite his financial success, hardship would eventually find Horace and Elizabeth. Soon after the repeal of the Sherman Silver Act, the price of silver fell so dramatically, that Tabor lost his fortune, dying in 1899 as poor as the day he was born.

Top 10 in challenge in “The Wild West Show” group

Artwork Comments

  • Keala
  • Michael McCasland
  • Margaret  Hyde
  • Nadya Johnson
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