CREEDE— Summer up at the Last Chance Mine above Creede is finally coming to a close. As the trees surrounding the historical mining site begin to change color, owner Jack Morris and his wife Margaret are pleased with how the year turned out. “We were very busy this season and there are a lot of changes coming in the next year including three new tours for guests to enjoy up here at the mine.”
Morris has been making headlines in places like Rock and Gem Magazine and Rocky Mountain PBS for several reasons, one of which is a unique specimen of turquoise that has been found at the mine and nowhere else in the world. As of this year, Morris has found seven different colors of turquoise at the Last Chance Mine and people are starting to take notice.
“We found the one specimen in the tailings pile from the old mining days, the rest I am finding inside the mine. We have yellow, white, blue, green, red, brown and tan. It is making some beautiful jewelry. They did a great article on us in the Rock and Gem Magazine this year and we got a visit from Rocky Mountain PBS when they were up here to film Creede earlier this summer. The film crew told me they would only be here for about 45 minutes. They ended up leaving four hours later,” said Morris. The segment filmed that day will air on Oct. 17.
The Last Chance Mine is continuing to astound Morris and his crew with the wonders that the old mining tunnels have to offer. One of the specimens that Morris likes to show guests is a combination of yellow turquoise and the locally occurring sowbelly agate that has a unique purple tinge from the amethyst vein the mine is famous for. “We are finding some really beautiful pieces in the mine and the colors are just amazing.”
Morris is in the final stages of completing a conference room in the south tunnels of the mine. Last year, Morris began the grueling process of cleaning out one of the many caverns in the tunnels and has hopes for a lunch/lecture room to be complete by the start of the season next year. “People can come up and have lunch in the cavern before taking one of our tours. We are getting ready to pour a concrete floor here in the next few weeks. Once that is done, we can work on putting in benches and tables.”
Morris also worked with Healdworks Inc. out of Del Norte to have a new building placed on the property. The new facility offers another room for guests to come and stay in if they choose. Guests are allowed to stay the night at the mine for a donation-only fee. “It has been great to work with Healdworks, and we hope to continue our partnership in the future. They donated this building to us and we get to show off what they can create. It was a perfect trade.”
Though Morris and his family will be heading home for the winter by the end of the month, the mine is still open for tours for the next few weeks. For more information or to make a reservation, please call 719-238-7959 or visit the website at www.lastchancemine.com.