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.