City Cast

The History of Baby Doe's Mineshaft Restaurant

Bree Davies
Bree Davies
Posted on October 16
Baby Doe's in Denver pictured on a fall day in 2004.

Baby Doe's in Denver pictured on a fall day in 2004. (Donated to the Denver Public Library by the Rocky Mountain News / Mary J. Ávila)

Casa Bonita wasn’t always Denver’s only nationally known themed eatery — back in the 1970s, Baby Doe’s Matchless Mine brought diners into the mineshaft for a meal. Located at 23rd and Bryant, nestled along the urban bluffs overlooking I-25, the late 1800s-inspired mineshaft establishment centered on the story of Elizabeth “Baby Doe” Tabor, the second wife of Horace Tabor, a mining magnate who struck it rich in the silver mines of Leadville.

The chain restaurant had unique locations all over the country, bringing Baby Doe’s fascinating — and to some, scandalous — story back to life through dining rooms dressed in Gilded Age furnishings and adorned with mining stock certificates, tipple cars, pickaxes, and family photos. Denver’s outpost of the Baby Doe’s Matchless Mine restaurant closed for good in the early 2000s and was eventually torn down, but the actual Matchless Mine in Leadville still stands!

Oh, and an important note: The Tabor family, as mentioned above, should not be confused with the TABOR amendment. The two are completely unrelated. Coincidentally, you can learn more about TABOR (the Taxpayer Bill of Rights) on today’s podcast 👇

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