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Melting Castles

In 1893, Leadville, Colorado had over 40,000 residents – bigger than the current population of our town here in Montrose! With the silver mines, and smelting business, things were going well. But in 1893, the government repealed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act which ensured that a certain amount of silver was purchased by the U.S. Government. When that was repealed, this crippled Leadville.

By 1895, the city leaders were desperate to bring the economy back for the people of Leadville. A realtor in town named Edward W. Senior had an idea that he said would bring people running to the Rocky Mountains and make Leadville a major tourist attraction and bring the town some needed business.

He suggested building a Grand Ice Palace, with a restaurant, a ballroom, and Olympic sized ice rink, wildlife exhibits, and a carnival! The city agreed and they began to build on November 1, 1895.

A team of 250 mean worked around the clock to build the 58,000 square-foot palace. Five thousand tons of ice would be hand sawed and hauled to Leadville. They even used ice from Palmer Lake which is near Colorado Springs some 75 miles away!

They had the Grand opening on New Year’s Day in 1896. They had more than 2,000 visitors on open day. Admission was 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children 12 and under. Throughout January and February things went well for the city. They attracted over 250,000 people to the attraction. Things were looking good.

But March 1896 brought some unseasonably warm weather and people were less interested. The Grand Palace in all its glory began to melt away! And on March 28, the last official ceremony of the winter festival in Leadville was held and then the Grand Ice Palace was condemned.

In the 1980’s there was a studied conducted by Leadville to see what it would cost to build another Grand Ice Palace and it was determined that it would be well over 30 million dollars!


Those trying to build a house, those trying to build up a family, but neglecting the Lord in their life, are like building an ice castle when Spring is coming! It might work for a bit, but it will soon melt away. It is missing something. It is empty!

It is good to try to build and stable family. It is good to provide security to people. It is good to do good work. These are things we should do and want to see in others. Psalms 127:1-2 does not discount human effort. But these verses indicate that without the Lord's intervention life is vain, life is empty.

Psalm 127:1-2

Isaiah 64:6


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