Denver man shares story of growing up in Mayflower Gulch cabin 90 years ago

Marv Colsman's father moved his family from Denver to the base of the old Boston Gold Mine in the 1930's. The family helped build the cabins hikers can see on the Mayflower Gulch trail today.
Posted: 9:40 AM, May 12, 2024
Updated: 2024-05-13 15:58:41-04

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — To know iconic Colorado hikes, is to know Mayflower Gulch, the hiking area on CO-91 a few miles south of Copper Mountain in Summit County.

Over the years, the remains of a cabin about two miles into the trail have captivated the imagination of many.

For the first time, one man who grew up in those cabins is sharing his story.

Denver man shares story of growing up in Mayflower Gulch cabin 90 years ago

"We made our home there," said

Marv Colsman was 5 years old when his father moved his family from Denver to the base of the old Boston Gold Mine during the Great Depression.

The Roosevelt Administration had recently made it a lot easier to be a miner.

Marv Colsman

"They would get more returned when they did find gold. Also, they wouldn't have to jump through all the red tape to keep it operational," said Blair Miller, the museum coordinator with Frisco Historic Park & Museum.

Colsman said his dad and older brothers worked on the cabins that still stand on the trail now. They lovingly nicknamed their cabin, "The Monte Carlo."

"You go into the living quarters, my mother had a cast iron stove that she cooked for us and there were bunk beds," said Colsman.

Mayflower Gulch

Life was very different back in the 1930s while living in the heart of the mountains.

"We hiked a lot. We had kerosene lamps for reading and games and so on," Colsman remembered, "my dad would entertain us at night there. He had a couple of books of knowledge. He'd be able to do things that he learned from those books, like have a shadow image on the wall with his hands and so on, to make ducks that would quack and have the sound effects and be able to help us make hats and little glider airplanes."

After a few years, most of the family moved to Idaho Springs. The mine eventually closed again.

"The last time that anybody was looking to turn a profit over in the Mayflower Gulch area was the 1980's. Since then, people pan recreationally for gold around here, but they're still going back to work on Monday when they're done," said Miller.

Colsman did eventually return to his family's cabin over the years.

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Mayflower Gulch, located in the Dillon Ranger District, features multiple old mining cabins.

"Dozens of times!" he said.

Sharing the stories of his Wild West childhood with his own family and seeing how much the area has been embraced by Coloradans, to him, is worth more than gold.

"I think it's wonderful that we could share it like that. I always thought if I was really rich, I'd go out there and buy the tax certificates on it instead of letting somebody else have them. But, I have the best of two worlds this way. I could make use of it and still go back and see that wonderful scenery," said Colsman.

Mayflower Gulch

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