View of Climax Molybdenum Mine beyond the marker. Bartlett Mountain, Clinton Peak and McNamee Peak can be seen in the background, behind the mine buildings and structuresof either on the summit of Fremont Pass.
The Climax Mine property straddles the Continental Divide, and three major streams originate here: the Arkansas and Eagle Rivers, and Ten Mile Creek.
Water on the Leadville side of the pass flows into the Gulf of Mexico, more than 1500 miles from where the water on the Copper Mountain side of Fremont Pass reaches the sea in the Gulf of California.
While the Continental Divide is a real geographic feature, the boundary line between Summit and Lake counties is not.
No one paid much attention when it was established in 1881.
At that time, there was no hint of the enormous wealth that lay beneath Bartlett Mountain.
The legal description of the county line was vague, but it was generally accepted that the Climax orebody was in Summit County. In the early 1900's though, one of the companies that was battling for control of the newly-discovered molybdenum deposits on Fremont Pass filed mining claims in Lake County, asserting that the existing claims filed in Summit County were invalid because the boundary line was drawn in the wrong place.
The claims touched off a lawsuit between the counties that became known as the County Line War.
The eventual verdict placed Climax Mine in Lake County, with the result that millions of dollars in property taxes were paid at the courthouse in Leadville, rather than