Location: Gunnison County, Colorado
Years of Operation: 1881-1895
Total Production (tons):
Also Known as "Joker"
The Jokerville mine was established by the Colorado Coal and Iron Company in September of 1881. The elevation of the mine was nine thousand and eight hundred feet above sea level and twenty seven and a half miles north of Gunnison. In November of 1881 the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad established rails into Crested Butte. The first mine established by the CC&I company was named Joker or Jokerville. The mine accessed a coal seam that was between five and eight feet in thickness. In March of 1883 the first fifty coke ovens were completed on site.
On January 24, 1884, a mine explosion that killed sixty employees caused the abandonment of the mine. The accident was given national attention through Harpers weekly and considered one of the worst mining accidents of its day. All coal produced that was not used for coke was sent via narrow gauge railways of Denver & Rio Grande Railroad company to Gunnison, and then on to Salida where the product would be transfered to normal gauge rail cars.
Another access point to the same coal seam was established in 1885, half a mile west of the original access point. The second access to Jokerville remained productive for the next ten years with only one strike in 1891 over wage cuts. The second Joker mine was operational until 1895 when a larger coal seam was discovered on adjacent lands. This led to the closure of the Jokerville mine permanently and the opening of the Crested Butte mine the same year.