Help Wanted in Leadville and a Giveaway!

While trying to decide what to post this month, I ran across some interesting things about Leadville, Colorado. I’ve written stories that took place in a town patterned after Leadville, but didn’t know some of the finer details. These little snippets of details were written by writers for The Chronicle and beg the question, “What sort of job opportunities are in Leadville and what are the salaries? Well, that’s a good question! Anyone looking to move somewhere should be asking such things. Back then Leadville was a boom town, so there were all sorts of opportunities available besides going there to mine gold.

Competent hardware clerks, for example, could always find work and got paid $75 to $100 per month! And what about first class milliners? They could make $18 to $25 dollars per week! Not bad for a hat maker. But seeing as how a talented milliner was hard to come by, they were worth it.

Machinists got paid $3.50 to $4 per day. Boiler makers got $3.50 per day. But there wasn’t a lot of demand for these guys so needless to say, they had extra milling around, waiting for work. And speaking of extra, the town had its share of barkeepers of all kinds. Even the most skilled could be out of work. But the ones that were employed made $75 to $125 a month! That’s more than the hardware clerks. If you were an Assayer, you could make even more money. The ones at the mines and smelters could make $125 to $200 a month!

And of course, if you were a hotel clerk, you made a cool $100 a month. And then there were the writers …

If you worked on one of the daily papers your pay could range from $25 to $40 a week. There was no demand for special articles. There was enough to write about as it was. And novelists? Brace yourselves my fellow fillies. They could find no work at all. There were already scads of journalists waiting in the wings for a time when they’d be needed. For many, it didn’t come, so they moved on.

Needless to say, the article ended with a warning that none come to Leadville in hopes of finding work in journalism. Today, however, I’m sure Leadville’s journalists find plenty of things to write about …

Have you ever seen a book or article that told you what sort of money folks made back in the day or what some of the everyday staples they needed cost? I’ve always found this fascinating! I’ll choose one person from the comments to win one free e-book copy of Winning the Spinster’s Heart. A fun little story about a town with a matchmaking problem and one poor fellow with an engineering degree. Now what was he going to do with it? This town also has a pair of novelists that live there. And they do just fine.



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Kit Morgan is the author of over 100 books of historical and contemporary western romance! Her stories are fun, sweet stories full of love, laughter, and just a little bit of mayhem! Kit creates her stories in her little log cabin in the woods in the Pacific Northwest. An avid reader and knitter, when not writing, she can be found with either a book or a pair of knitting needles in her hands! Oh, and the occasional smidge of chocolate!

27 thoughts on “Help Wanted in Leadville and a Giveaway!”

  1. Everyday Life in the Wild West by Candy Moyuton has a section on employment which gives the average salary each job provided. Everyday Life in the 1800s by Marc McCutcheon has a chart of what things cost.

  2. How fun.

    I’ve seen it more in ledgers than articles. Or textbooks in college. It’s always fascinating to read.

  3. what a neat post today. i cant remember in books about them telling how much things cost. hmm interesting.
    this is fascinating though. have to go and look it up some

  4. I have some of my Daddy’s old paystubs from after WWII, and they super high, either! I haven’t seen many older than his, though I know they exist and you can always google! lol!

  5. A few years ago when we were remodeling I found a few pages of an 1945 paper that had ads on it – tires and clothes. I donated the paper to our local historical society. It was interesting to see the prices then.

  6. This is so very interesting, Thank you so much for sharing all this! Have a Great week and stay safe.

  7. Thank you for sharing. Yes, I have seen some information about the cost of staples as well as information on wages. God bless you.

    • If you look at what things cost in once decade, then fast forward a decade, it’s interesting to see how the prices change, just as they do now. Too bad we couldn’t go backwards!

  8. Our local town paper has a weekly history section. The county daily paper has a “Today In History” column. They both have lots of information. They have listed salaries, jobs available, cost of items, rents, cost of rail & stage tickets, etc. It is a nice addition to the paper and quite interesting. They also print some of the old ads from the newspapers and magazines.

  9. Yes, I love learning and reading about the olden days! Recently, we found my late grandfather’s ledger with his financial accounts in it. Last night, my almost 97 year old father gave a speech to a group in my town about his life and how things have changed in his life time. It’s so interesting how things have changed.
    Susan in NC

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