Big Creek Canyon

Bank Ruins
Lander City

In early 1863, claims were located along Big Creek. Several small camps including Montrose, Mineral City, Watertown, and Lander City were established. They were all later consolidated into Canyon City. A post office was opened that August. By the end of that year, Canyon City boasted a hotel, two restaurants, three saloons, a butcher shop, a notary public, and a recorder's office. The next year, the population reached 1600. Mining was difficult because the ore was laced with copper. By 1865, Big Creek Canyon was crowded with stone cabins, almost 20 stores, a school, justice court, express office, and telegraph office. Unfortunately, in early 1866, the mines began to go dry and Canyon City began to decline. By 1867, all of Canyon City's mines had closed. During the 1880s, only ranches operated in Big Creek Canyon.

In 1890, a new discovery prompted mining. Mining continued until 1898. Canyon City's final boom was from 1916 until 1958. Today, Canyon City has been replaced by the modern Big Creek Campground. The remains of the brick bank and a stone building mark the site of Lander City, and an ore chute remains farther up the canyon at Montrose.

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