Learn the History Behind The Mine

History

The Bachelor Syracuse Mine Tour offers a fun and educational experience for your whole family and group. Mining was the industry that built the communities of the San Juan Mountains and a day at the mine will let you experience life the way the miners did at the turn of the century.

There were other Bachelor mines in Colorado - it was a pretty popular name in the late 1800’s - but this was THE Bachelor Mine on Gold Hill, and for 100 years it was one of Ouray’s strongest and most reliable producers. So rich was its ore that its three owners made about $250,000 each in its first few years; even after the disastrous silver crash of 1893 when the price of silver plummeted 25% in four days. Today, that would be over $4 million each.

Charlie Armstrong, a prospector, George Hurlburt, a surveyor, and J. Frank Sanders, a speculator, were the lucky owners. The three loved a good time and were know to bet on almost anything - even which raindrop would make it to the bottom of a windowpane first. Sanders took a gamble and invested in Armstrong and Hurlburt’s mine just before it hit a huge silver vein.

Soon, ore worth $200 to $500 a ton rolled down Red Canyon to the railroad siding below, which became known as the Bachelor Switch. Meanwhile, a town of about 200 sprang up at the mine’s main portal. Names Ash, from the first letters of Armstrong, Sanders and Hurlburt, the town sported a mill, school, post office and brass band: the Bachelor Band. The town’s remains still straddle Red Canyon Creek, now known as Dexter Creek.

 

 In the 1920’s, a new tunnel was driven to access the Bachelor’s old workings from below. Dubbed the Syracuse Tunnel, it was financed by investors from Syracuse, New York. This is the part of the Bachelor that is open to the public.

Not a sanitized amusement park attraction, the Bachelor Syracuse Mine Tour looks and feels like the real thing because it is the real thing. Whether or not you leave with any gold or silver (you might), it’s an experience you’ll treasure.

There’s more than just the tour at the Bachelor Mine.

  • Start your day off right on summer weekends with a famous Miner’s Breakfast in our beautiful outdoor cafe.
  • Learn how to pan for gold in the original mine stream.
  • Find unique gifts like mineral specimens, vintage carbide lanterns, locally-made jewelry and fun toys for the kids in our Treasure Chest gift shop.
  • Get an extra special Ouray souvenir from our famous penny crusher.Book your tour in advance online; even better, spend a whole day with us on the mountain! Special packages include an option for a mine tour plus a delicious farm-to-table dinner for your group or a mine tour plus an unforgettable trail ride on horseback into the Uncompahgre National Forest with our partners at the Bach’lers Stables.

  • History courtesy of Jane Bennett