History is in our backyards (Commentary)

Ruins of past coal mines can be found scattered from Frederick, to Firestone, and to Dacono


Drake Byars

Ruins of the Shamrock Mine was photographed near Tipple Parkway in Dec. 2019.

If you live in the Tri-town area (Frederick, Firestone, and Dacono), then you’re probably aware that the towns were originally built around the coal mining industry. 

This information can be found incredibly easily by looking on the Wikipedia page, the official website, and even looking around the town itself with its several statues and monuments depicting such. The town of Frederick even has an official “Miners Day” held every year.

Despite this history, it is almost never recognized where any of these mines actually were. 

I asked myself this question several years ago and from then on, dedicated many months to finding the location of all the historical sites that I could in the immediate area of my home. 

Rather than finding well preserved sites that offered a view into the past, I found dilapidated, unrecognizable ruins scattered around areas I had spent a considerable amount of time in while growing up. 

The more research I did, the deeper the rabbit hole became, spiraling into an obsession of finding and doing my best to document these sites.

The best preserved mine ruin I have found to this day is that of Shamrock Mine, located just off of I-25 on the west side, on Tipple Parkway. 

Ruins of the Shamrock Mine was photographed near Tipple Parkway in Dec. 2019.
(Drake Byars )

Along with the coal mines, remnants of old towns that no longer exist can be found in the form of houses or an out of place brick building. This is the case for the “ghost town” of Liberty, located just off of Highway 66 and County Road 5.

This isn’t limited to obscure places that were relatively small even at their peak. A perfect example is the town of Serene. Despite being a company town for the Columbine Mine, it gained a fair amount of recognition for its time.

Serene was the site of the Columbine Mine Massacre, which occurred in 1927 as the result of state police and members of the National Guard opening fire on a large crowd of striking coal miners. 

The town of Serene has been entirely covered by the Front Range Landfill. A small monument in Lafayette commemorates the massacre.

A very large mine and company town existed just west of the town of Frederick, and just north of Frederick High School by the name of Baum Mine. All that remains of it is a large mound of slag and several small concrete foundations. A housing development has been slowly growing around it.

Remnants of the Baum Mine were photographed just north of Frederick High School in July of 2020. (Drake Byars )

This brief article is in no way a history and only offers a few examples of places in this area. It is, however, an urging to anyone interested in these sites and the fascinating stories you can uncover through them to do your own research and make your own discoveries.

It is truly incredible—the history you can find hiding in plain sight.