Legend has it that gold was discovered in Independence on July 4, 1879. A tent city sprang up that summer, and by 1880 there were 300 people. By 1882, there were over 40 businesses, three post offices and an estimated population of 1,500. Over $190,000 worth of gold was produced between 1881 and 1882. However most of the gold had been discovered and by the next year production dropped to $2,000. By 1888, only 100 citizens remained. In 1899, the worst storm in Colorado’s history cut off the supply routes to Independence. The miners, who were running out of food, dismantled their homes to make skis and escaped en masse to Aspen.