Woman vital to boom towns
Published on Jan. 4, 2020
Years ago, we sent a Postcard we feel is worth repeating. In part, it described the mountain mining town of Battle as a place of “miners, prospectors, artisans of numerous vocations, labors, capitalists, promoters, salesmen . . . and the hangers-on and riff-raff that are the barnacles of a boom . . . .”
Battle, though not a large town in the Sierra Madre Mountains of southcentral Carbon County was a lively place in the late 1890s and early 1900s.
It was said to be a meeting, drinking and resting place for miners, teamsters, gamblers, promoters, ranchmen and “ladies of greater charm than morals.” Yet, Battle showed some evidence of being more than just a junction serving the mining industry.
There were woman in Battle who established homes, formed the Hi Hat Literary Club, traveled on skis over 15-foot high snowdrifts to visit their neighbors, folks who were ill and at times, entertained in their pine-log cabin homes, eminent millionaires who lingered there to inspect the mines and hopefully to invest in the copper mines.
Battle, about 12 miles west of Grand Encampment, is located at 9,873 feet and lies just a quarter mile east of the ridge which forms a part of the Continental Divide. The town received its name from a battle in 1841 between trappers and Native Americans near Battle Mountain, 15 miles southwest of the berg.
In 1898, and within three months after it was laid out, Battle contained 40 structures. Among the earliest buildings were four general stores, several livery stables, at least two dozen cabins, a post office, two hotels, a men’s apparel shop, a barber shop, a newspaper – The Battle Miner – and five saloons.
Located there was also a combination church building/school house. Daily mail and stagecoach service provided communication between Battle and the Union Pacific Railroad and thus the world outside the Grand Encampment Mining District.
Today a cemetery, several mine shafts and prospectus holes, plus a few seasonal cabins exist at the Battle town site. Most of the businesses were gone by 1912 when the mines dried up and residents left for greener pastures.
Information and photographs for the Battle Postcards from the Past were obtained from the Martin/Perue historical collection and the Grand Encampment Museum.