“Tell the miners for me that I shall promote their interests to the utmost of my ability, because their prosperity is the prosperity of the nation, ” promised President Abraham Lincoln. Or at least Schuyler Colfax, in a speech at Central City, recalled Lincoln having said that to him on the fateful Friday, April 14, 1865. Regardless of its veracity, Central miners believed the statement, and so did many of their contemporaries.
Two districts may have influenced such a statement: Nevada's silver Comstock, which had boomed spectacularly during the Civil War, aiding the Union effort; and Colorado's golden heart, Gilpin County. Less spectacular and with less production, Colorado, in locals' eyes at least, seemed just as valuable.
Even visitors felt it. French traveler and mining engineer Louis Simonin, after visiting Central City and neighboring mining districts, was moved to say he received very “favorable impressions of the activity and the intelligence everywhere demonstrated by Colorado pioneers.”
Even with the territorial mining decline at the end of the war, optimism remained high. Mining reporter James W. Taylor praised Coloradans in his 1867 report for convincing “anyone of the true value and countless and inexhaustible veins.” “We may, ” he concluded, “reasonably expect in the succeeding few years to see a more rapid and successful advance.” The struggling territory cheered his belief that “Colorado gold veins invariably are found richer the deeper they are sunk upon.”