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Who was the Mysterious and Glamorous Woman Vital to Colorado Gold Mining History?
History buffs in Colorado know the name, Samuel Newhouse. He was a turn-of-the-century entrepreneur, developer, and mining tycoon key to Colorado gold mining. The reaches of his financer empire can be felt today, from the Argo Mill and Tunnel in Idaho Springs, Colorado to real estate developments in New York and beyond. Yet, behind every man is an even greater woman. Samuel Newhouse married Ida Stingley in 1882 and altered their lives and the future of the growing west forever.
Ida was born a Virginian in 1863, the same year her father would pass away. What followed were years of hardship as Ida’s mother moved the family westward until settling in Leadville. The Leadville Daily Herald reported Ida and Samuel had been together at a party, they married in Denver two weeks later.
Capturing Investment for Colorado Gold Mining
Samuel Newhouse was ambitious and required serious capital to make his high-concept business schemes a reality. Newhouse captured interest on the East Coast by making frequent trips with Ida. Little documentation of these visits exists, but many speculate that Ida used her inherent personal skills and beauty to woo potential investors. The impact of such meetings would generate capital that Newhouse would use to create Colorado gold mining operations. However, his largest project to date would take even more investment.
Funding Colorado Gold Mining from Across the Pond
Newhouse’s aspirations take center stage as he announces plans to build a tunnel from Idaho Springs to the mines in Central City. The end result stretched over four miles and was buried two thousand feet below. The Argo tunnel had provided miners with access to hauling and drainage for flooded shafts. However, a lot of money was needed and could only be found in the world’s financial hub at the time, London. Samuel and Ida traveled to and from London securing funding. Ida even became great friends with King Edward VII along the way. Ida would frequently travel to England as a fixture in the King’s court for years to come.
London Ties and World War I
Samuel Newhouse’s ambitions would also lead to the downfall of his investment empire. While Ida Stingley’s notoriety continued to grow, Colorado and Utah newspapers would report on the mysterious woman making regular trips across the world to speak with the wealthy and powerful. Ida’s globetrotting would culminate with her appointment to ‘Governess of Military Hospitals’ by the British Crown during World War I.
Ida wrote this to Samuel Newhouse before leaving. Knowing the danger of German submarines sinking ships destined for England. “I must go to England and care for the boys who are suffering… I have determined that I can do better work there” (in the hospitals than I can here).
The specifics of Ida Stingley’s life would stay mysterious. What we do know shows a woman of extreme success and impact in the Colorado gold mining industry as well as the war efforts. Ida would pass due to pneumonia on March 17th, 1955 at 91 years old. Ida outlived Samuel by twenty-five years and left for the world with stories of worldwide escapades and intrigue.