Tom Walsh

Photograph of Tom Walsh
Picture courtesy of the Ouray Historical Society

Tom Walsh was famous because he owned the Camp Bird Mine and he made millions of dollars. Tom Walsh was born in Ireland in 1850. By 1871, he headed for Colorado and worked on the railroads. In 1894 he lived in Silverton, and ran a smelter. As of 1896, Tom Walsh discovered rich gold in the Imogene Basin and he started the Camp Bird Mine. Tom Walsh’s boarding house for miners was as comfortable as any great hotel at that time. Tom Walsh treated his miners really great for that time. They had marble-topped basins and porcelain tubs in the bathroom. All the buildings for the miners were steam heated and lit with electricity. The miners ate off of china dishes.


Drawing of the City Hall Library
Picture by Reilly Hegarty
By 1898, Walsh’s mill operated seven days a week and made $5,000 per day in what some called “a gold engine.” In 1899 St. Joseph’s hospital was about to close and he paid $3,500 to save the hospital. He knew he needed a hospital for his miners since mining was such a dangerous job. In 1901, Tom Walsh donated the City Hall Library for the benefit of the citizens of Ouray County. The building still says Walsh Library on it. In 1902, Camp Bird was sold to a London company called the Camp Bird Limited for $6,000,000. Sadly, he died in 1910. Tom Walsh left his mark in Ouray County.

by Reilly Hegarty and Henry Purvis

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