Colorado Grand Canyon Mining and Improvement Company Collection

Overview of the Collection

Colorado Grand Cañon Mining and Improvement Company CollectionPDF versionText only version  (James Andrew McCormick Collection)
Compiled by Robert Sorgenfrei
Collection fl. 1891
.5 linear feet, 3 boxes

The Colorado Grand Cañon Mining and Improvement Company Collection documents the actions of investors who tried to capitalize on the mining potential along the Colorado River and in the Grand Canyon by launching the Best Expedition in 1891.

The Company was incorporated in Colorado in 1891; the board of directors included members of the Denver Colorado Canyon & Pacific Railway Company expedition that surveyed a rail route (the Brown-Stanton Survey or Stanton Survey) along the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 1889-1890. In July 1891 the Company launched the Best Expedition, named after its leader James Best. The Expedition's primary goal was to secure mining claims along the Colorado River, including a ledge of silver supposedly seen by members of the earlier Stanton Survey as their boats passed by the mouth of Bright Angel Creek.

The Best Expedition, composed of eight men and two boats, was only the fifth expedition to attempt to boat through the Grand Canyon. After a struggle that included losing one boat in the rapids at Cataract Canyon, the men made their way to Lee's Ferry where the Expedition was finally aborted. A small group went by horseback to Bright Angel Canyon to claim that ledge of silver, only to find that the glitter was mica and schist. A few Expedition members remained in the Grand Canyon to prospect and file claims until 1893, when the Company went into receivership and was disbanded.

Of Note

The Papers include a manuscript written by one of the members of the Best Expedition, James Andrew McCormick, for whom the collection is formally named.


Donated by Robert Sorgenfrei in 2002.

(Contents are filed as the James Andrew McCormick Collection.)

Box 1: Colorado Grand Cañon Mining and Improvement Company Expedition of 1891. McCormick, J. [typescript and photocopy].

Box 2:

  • Envelopes containing 3 b&w photographs and a negative: One photograph depicting a group of people (men, women and children) on a dock, on shore, and on two canoes in the water; 2 photographs of river rapids.
  • Folder 1.  Prospectus, Colorado Grand Canon Mining & Improvement Co., 1891 [photocopy].
  • Folder 2.  Certificate of incorporation of the Company with the State of Colorado, 1891 [photocopy].
  • Folder 3.  Newspaper clippings on the Best Expedition, 1891-1910 [photocopies].
  • Folder 4.  "Those That Followed," Stanton, Robert Brewster, [photocopy of a chapter from an unpublished manuscript, "The River and the Canyon"].
  • Folder 5.  "A Fortune Awaits Enterprise Here," Robert Sorgenfrei [typescript of an article submitted for publication]. [Article was published in Journal of the Southwest 40(4# 1998.]

Box 3 (Flat Archive Box): Framed picture of the members of the Company's Exploring Party.



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Last Updated: 07/28/2017 16:11:07