Silver Cliff, Colorado

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Silver Cliff is a Statutory Town that is the most populous town in Custer County, Colorado, United States. The population was 512 at the 2000 census.



Silver Cliff was formed in the late 1870s to house the miners of its namesake, the Silver Cliff mine, and other silver mines in the neighborhood, such as the Bull-Domingo. The town, incorporated in 1879, had 5,040 residents by the 1880 census, making it the third most populous town in Colorado, after Denver and Leadville.

Silver Cliff was the county seat from 1886 (when the town won the seat from Rosita) to 1928 (when the seat moved to nearby Westcliffe).

The Silver Cliff mine, also known as the Geyser mine, is on the hill immediately north of the town. Although a large operation that employed many residents of Silver Cliff, the mine was the unfortunate object of eastern stock manipulators. Shares in the Silver Cliff mine were promoted in 1879 by James R. Keene, a famous New York stock operator. The company went bankrupt within a few years, and was sold to the Julianna Mining Company, which was run by an even more unscrupulous stock promoter, Dr. Richard C. Flower of Boston. The Julianna company went bankrupt in 1888. The shareholders rescued the company, and renamed it the Geyser Mining Company. Although Flower withdrew from the management, the Geyser Mining Company continued to be run by some of Flower’s cronies, so it should not be a surprise that the mine never made a profit. At one time the Geyser mine was the deepest mine in Colorado.[4]


Silver Cliff is located at 38°8′11″N 105°26′22″W / 38.13639°N 105.43944°W / 38.13639; -105.43944 (38.136432, -105.439492)[5]. The town of Westcliffe is immediately adjacent to its west.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 15.6 square miles (40.5 km²), all of it land.


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 512 people, 217 households, and 141 families residing in the town. The population density was 32.8 people per square mile (12.7/km²). There were 284 housing units at an average density of 18.2/sq mi (7.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.51% White, 0.20% African American, 2.73% Native American, 0.59% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.95% of the population.

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