Food Expensive in Mining Camps of the Gay 90s

The 1890s, or Gay 90s, brought hundreds to mining camps, and all struggled with high prices for food.

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During the Gay 90s – as the 1890s were often called – we lived 20 miles west of Denver. I have seen as many as a dozen covered wagons going through our farm. Some of the people were gold hunters who settled in the mining camps of Idaho Springs, Leadville and others. Food was high in the mining camps – potatoes were 24 cents a pound; butter was $1.25 a pound; eggs were $1.25 a dozen; flour was $25 a hundred; and hay was $250 a ton.

Emil Rudin Stuart
Draft, Virginia


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.