Underhill Museum

Background on Dr. James Underhill

Dr. James Underhill came to Idaho Springs in 1897 and was a prominent Colorado surveyor and mining engineer. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in mining engineering, he moved to Idaho Springs where he surveyed many of the city plots and mines in and around the area. He wrote a number of books on surveying and made that a key part of his legacy. He attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, becoming the first to earn his doctorate in geology in the state of Colorado. He later became a professor at the Colorado School of Mines.

He and his wife, Lucy, constructed 1416 Miner Street as a combination home and office with two front entrances, one for business calls and the other for social visits. Dr. Underhill lived in this building until his death in 1954 at the age of 83. Lucy remained until 1963, when she deeded the building to the Idaho Springs Public Library for use as a museum. It was Lucy’s desire that it never become a tavern. In 1964, it became the property of the Historical Society of Idaho Springs, who are now responsible for managing and preserving its history. Since then, it has been the Underhill Museum, where the history of the town and the family is preserved.

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The Museum

In the Underhill Museum, you can see the beautiful furniture of the time, photographs of Idaho Springs from the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as unique artifacts that belonged to the Underhills. Within the museum is even the original kitchen that Lucy used! While they were a wealthy family, she preferred many more commonplace appliances.

At the back of the home is Lucy Underhill’s Victorian Garden and Courtyard. She was an avid gardener and grew delphiniums that were much taller than she was. She enjoyed entertaining her guests in the courtyard.

1416 Miner St.
Idaho Springs, CO 80452

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  1. Take a step back in time at the Underhill Museum and get a peek into what the mining days were like in Idaho Springs!