This year’s annual Boom Days Parade will be led by Fred Mark!! The theme is “Bonanza Times!!”
The parade begins at 10 AM sharp on Saturday, August 6th and usually lasts at least an hour. Bring a hat, water and chair to help you enjoy the parade.
Why is Fred our Grand Marshal?
Fred Mark’s grandfather immigrated from Austria in the late 1890’s and settled in Butte, Montana. Had he chosen Leadville Fred might have arrived here several decades sooner than he did. Grandfather Mark had mined in Austria so he hired on as timberman in the East Calusa Mine. He advanced to foreman and later managed exploration crews.
Fred himself was influenced by this work history and studied geology and after graduation he went to work for El Paso Mining and Milling Company, exploring for base metals in southeast Alaska.
Fred returned to Alaska to work for a company that operated a placer gold mine at Tofty, Alaska. His wife Sandra and their one month old son Trevor (aka “Mine Baby” who now also lives in Leadville) joined him at the remote camp. A video of the operation plays in the Gold Room at the Gold room in National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM.)
He wound up his working career by drilling and completing nearly 400 natural gas wells on the Ted Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch
Fred had been making trips to the Leadville area in the 1960s as a kid growing up in Littleton. He purchased a house on the east side in Leadville in 2007. His Austrian heritage should have required that he settle on the west side, but the views are better on the east side. Living in Leadville has allowed Fred to pursue his interest in mining history and the views of the mining district right out his window provide inspiration. He has spent the last 10 years studying the plethora of geologic publications and has developed a good understanding of mineralization processes that created the world class Leadville Mining District.
Much of Fred’s volunteer work in Leadville has centered around a GIS database that he has assembled. This GIS database began many years ago, when he was determined to locate the Little Pittsburg discovery shaft on Fryer Hill. A map showing historical railroads, mines, and towns followed; the NMHFM sells copies of the map as source of fundraising. Fred helped with the application for National Historic Designation of the Matchless Mine and Baby Does’ Cabin, and has continued his involvement with the Matchless by providing input and mapping for the new signs, and has created a video that displays a 3D image of the underground workings. The video plays in the shaft house at the Matchless and may be viewed by clicking this link to the NMHFM website: Matchless Mine. Fred also made a Google map of the Matchless site that can be viewed from a link on the same page.
Fred has enjoyed several other projects at the museum, such as helping with the remodeling of the Assay Exhibit. Recently, he has produced Google maps of winter motorized and non-motorized trails in the Leadville area and has been working with various Leadville trails and tourist organizations to explore further uses for his GIS database to produce Google Maps. Examples of some of this work can be seen by clicking Route of the Silver Kings Groomed Multi-Use Winter Trails
He has given countless presentations and field trips over the years, and is looking forward to his next library talk in July: “The Wolftone Mine and the Underground Banquet.”
Finally, Fred is a strong advocate for historic preservation, and endorses stabilization of the remaining historic structures in the mining district before they are lost forever.