The Denver Mining Club, Ltd.–
Still going strong after 125 years
Back in 1890, when gold and silver mining was a principal industry in Colorado, a group of pioneer giants in the industry formed the Colorado Mining Stock Exchange, purchased land at the corner of 15th and Arapahoe Streets in downtown Denver, and erected the Mining Exchange Building. It opened, with great fanfare on November 18, 1891. Many important mining men and corporations had offices in the building.
These men gathered for lunch to discuss mining events of the day in various old-time restaurants within walking distance of the exchange. Out of these informal gatherings grew the Denver Mining Club. Early on, subjects for discussion included mining news from around Colorado—reports by prospectors on new discoveries and by miners on activities in the mining districts. In 1935, Guy L.V. Emerson became president, and club meetings were held every Wednesday at the Denver Dry Goods Tearoom until 1975. Since 1975, the club has met weekly–except federal holidays–in various eating places, mostly on the west side of the Denver metro area where many members live. Attendance ranges from 25 to 50 people who enjoy lunch, good company, and a talk on wide-ranging topics mostly related to mining.
During the Depression, the International Order of Ragged Ass Miners came to life. The term “R-A-M” had been in common use for many years in reference to the often hardscrabble life of miners around the world. Today members consider it to be a synonym for the Denver Mining Club.
Incorporated in 1959, the Denver Mining Club, Ltd., is strictly a luncheon club and welcomes everyone however remotely connected to mining. Guests are asked to stand for initiation, briefly introduce themselves and explain their interest in mining, and become members by vote of the members present. Over the years, an estimated 35,000 people from around the world have joined the club. New members receive a handsome gilded certificate bearing a vignette of a prospector and burro. No membership fee or dues are ever collected, but members are asked to put a buck or more in the gold pan to pay for the speaker’s lunch and incidental expenses and to support club philanthropy.
For more than 30 years, the Denver Mining Club, Ltd., has been a constant advocate for public education about mining and the minerals industry. It provides annual contributions in support of the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum in Leadville, the Western Museum of Mining & Industry in Colorado Springs, the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum in Golden, the Minerals Education Coalition, plus scholarship aid for teachers at the All About Mining course at Mines.