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September-October 2009

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Arthur Lakes

Founder of the Famed Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum



Arthur Lakes, Colorado’s most famous geologist), once described a display of Colorado’s mineral treasures as “an Aladdin’s grotto, full of rare crystalline gems that cannot be duplicated for love nor money” (Lakes 1898). When visitors enter the new Colorado School of Mines (CSM) Geology Museum in Golden, Colorado, the beautiful specimens and presentations of this modern “Aladdin’s grotto” literally take their breath away. Who was the Reverend Prof. Arthur Lakes to whom the magnificent museum owes its existence?

Born in England, Lakes came to Colorado in 1867 at the age of twenty-three in response to Bishop George Randall’s plea for more Anglican missionaries in the rapidly settling American West. Lakes, trained in natural sciences at Elizabeth’s College on Guernsey Island and Queen’s College, Oxford, seemed to be following in his forefathers’ footsteps, headed for a ministerial career. After almost seven years of study under Randall and other local Colorado ministers, Lakes was ordained as a deacon at St. John’s Cathedral in the Wilderness in June 1874.

Dr. Beth Simmons is a longtime collector and geological author. She and coauthor Katherine Honda also wrote a book, The Legacy of Arthur Lakes, which came out this past spring (Friends of Dinosaur Ridge, publisher).

Katherine Honda works as interlibrary loan technician at the Auraria Campus Library in downtown Denver, volunteers at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and serves as librarian for the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge.

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