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Tabor Triangle - Page 5          

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For Horace and Baby Doe Tabor, the years following their marriage were a constant whirlwind. The Tabor mines were yielding millions of dollars in silver, especially the Chrysolite and Matchless Mines. The Matchless Mine alone, produced over 9 million dollars. The Tabors continued to enjoy their expensive parties, distant travels, and lavish nights at the newly built Tabor Grand Opera house. In addition, campaigns for political office (not to mention jewelry, furs, and gowns of the finest silk and lace for Baby Doe and their two young daughters) occupied much of Tabor's time and money. The Tabor fortune grew by the day and being too vast to count, allowed the Tabors to spend extravagantly.

 

The generous Horace Tabor opened his wallet for investments in more silver mines, new companies that needed capital, and some risky deals that did not land a dime in profits. The ten golden years between 1883 and 1893 were filled with endless possibility for Horace and Baby Doe.

 

the Matchless Mine in 1953

The Matchless Mine in 1853, courtesy Denver Public Library.

 

 

 

 

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 With Baby Doe on his arm, Horace Tabor's plans to turn Denver into the "Paris of the West" seemed within reach. Baby Doe's dreams matched her husband's-an adventure of grand living and great civic accomplishments. However, like all good things, it ended all too soon.

 

The fairytale ended in 1893, when the country moved to the gold standard. Silver, Horace's main holding, along with parcels of highly mortgaged property came crashing down, along with the Tabors' lifestyle. Horace, failing to listen to the advice of others and diversify, faced ruin. In the interim, and adding to the crisis, Tabor had also made a number of unsuccessful, if not unwise, investments in foreign mining ventures that failed. He lost huge amounts of money in Mexico and South America.

 

However, regardless of the now destitute condition of the Tabors, Horace never lost faith in the future, and until his dying day, he always found work of some kind, hoping to recapture his lost wealth.

Baby Doe and Horace, along with their young daughters Elizabeth "Lillie" and Rose Mary "Silver Dollar" moved out of their Capitol Hill mansion and into a rented cottage. At age 65, Horace was shoveling slag from area mines at $3.00/day until he was finally appointed postmaster of Denver just a year before his death. Baby Doe remained optimistic about regaining Tabor's lost fortune, but it never panned out.

Many people who disliked  Baby Doe predicted that she would divorce Tabor if he ever lost his fortune. However, Baby Doe was loyal and devoted to her husband until the end. In April, 1899 Horace took ill with appendicitis and a few days later, before his death he was said to have told her ..."Hang on to the Matchless Mine, if I die, Baby, it will make millions again when silver comes back." However, this statement was later disputed as being made up by a writer who wanted to sell her books. Flags were lowered to half mast in Colorado and 10,000 people attended the funeral.  Baby Doe, just 38 years old, would never again live a lavish lifestyle.

 

Tabor home after they lost their fortune

Cottage where the Tabors moved after having lost

their fortune., 1962

 

Still beautiful and relatively young, Baby Doe could easily have remarried. She chose, instead, to "hold on to the Matchless," continuously seeking funds to "work" it. With her two children in tow, Baby returned to Leadville and took up residence in the one-room, 12 by 16-foot structure that originally served as a tool shed at the Matchless Mine. Her elder daughter, 15-year-old Lillie, so resented the place, she boldly stated that she was leaving, and borrowing the money for the train fare from her uncle, she went to Wisconsin to live with her grandmother, ceasing all contact with her mother and sister.

 

Silver Dollar Tabor

 

Silver Dollar, a 10-year-old tomboy, initially thrived on the adventure of living and working at the mine. She liked to write poetry and Baby Doe encouraged this endeavor, actually helping her to get a couple of songs published. One of these included a song to celebrate a visit by Theodore Roosevelt to Leadville in 1908, called "President Roosevelt's Colorado Hunt," the music written by a friend in Denver.

 

 

Silver Dollar Tabor with Teddy Roosevelt in 1910

Silver Dollar Tabor shaking hands with Teddy Roosevelt in 1910. Courtesy Denver Public Library

 

The song was well-received in Colorado and a long article regarding Silver Dollar's "budding career" was printed in the Denver Post. In 1910, the song was actually sung for Mr. Roosevelt and Silver Dollar got to meet the man.

 

 

Continued Next Page

 

Lillie Tabor, 1886

Lillie Tabor, 1886, courtesy Denver Public Library

 

Silver Dollar Tabor as a baby, 1889

Silver Dollar Tabor, 1889, courtesy Denver Public Library

 

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