Hahns Peak Village was the first settlement in Routt County; established by men in search of gold.
The town was named for German immigrant, Joseph Hahn who spelled his name Henn but pronounced it Hahn, and the misspelling has been perpetrated in the name of both mountain and town.
Joseph Hahn came to Colorado in 1860 prospecting first around Georgetown, then in Middle and North Parks, and finally finding traces of gold while working the headwaters of Willow Creek in the fall of 1862. The Civil War delayed his return back to the area until 1865 when he was accompanied by Captain George Way and William A. Doyle. The trio left and returned one year later with a party of 50 to 60 men who, due to a late start, did not arrive until August. By the first of October the miners left for the East Slope and only Hahn, Way and Doyle remained at the peak.
Captain Way was selected to go for the winter supplies necessary to maintain the camp, and the tragic events that followed dimmed any hopes of a major gold rush to northwestern Colorado. Taking all the gold in the camp in order to purchase supplies, Captain Way never returned. Hahn and Doyle survived on wild game until April 22, 1867 when they abandoned the peak on snow shoes. Doyle was rescued, snow blind and near death, by three men wintering near the present site of Kremmling. Hahn collapsed and died on the banks of Muddy Creek in Middle Park on April 30, 1867. His body was not found until November 1867, when he was buried. The grave site, marked by a broken snowshoe, which has long since vanished, remains unknown.
In 1868 an early explorer, Bibleback Brown stumbled upon the remains of Hahn's camp. While drunk in Wyoming Brown confided his discovery to Bill Slater. During the spring of 1870 Brown and Slater began sluicing operations on Willow Creek at the base of Hahns Peak. By the end of the year other miners were working placer claims in the area.
By 1874 mines were operating on an extensive scale. The first major operation to employ miners was launched in 1875 by Chicago entrepreneur John V. Farwell and his partner B. G. Jacobs. International Camp, the first gold camp in Routt County, was established by Farwell to house his miners, who called it Bug Town because of the "big bugs" (Farwell and his wealthy eastern friends who were frequent visitors). A second major camp flourished at the same time. It was called Poverty Bar; later to be named Hahns Peak.
The total yield from the Hahns Peak area is estimated at little more than $500,000 to $600,000. The three major mining operations at Hahns Peak were Poverty Bar Placer Mine, Royal Flush Mine and Tom Thumb.
In 1912 Steamboat Springs was named the county seat after a bitter struggle. Placer mining was not producing significant amounts of gold and Hahns Peak was dying. There was no "mother lode" and transportation over mountain roads was poor to impassable in winter. Hahns Peak never became a true ghost town though. Several cabins at the original townsite have been maintained and still stand.
Some say the motherlode is tucked away in the mountain, yet to be discovered.
Hahns Peak Cemetery
Hahns Peak Schoolhouse
Nate Hall House
Neuman Bishop House
Source: The Historical Guide to Routt County, copyright 1979 by The Tread of Pioneers Museum.