Mill City was founded in 1859 but in 1880 the name was changed to Dumont in honor of Colonel John M. Dumont, a pioneer and influential mining man in the county. At one time, Colonel Dumont own three mines – the Whale, the Freemont, and the Lincoln mines. Today, the Stanley Mine is located on the site of the old Whale Mine.
Dumont/Mill City was once an important stage coach stop and was known for its ore stamping mills and smelting enterprises. In the early days of mining, the ore was crushed by Spanish arastres powered by mules and water. An example of this primitive technology can be seen in front of the Idaho Springs Library.
Historic DumontIn 1880, Dumont was home to around 100 people and consisted of two hotels, a general store, a school, and a firehouse. The Mill City House, built in 1860 still stands as does the Dumont School which was erected in 1909.
The stagecoach stop was located at the Mill City House and housed the first saloon west of Denver as well as the first Singer sewing machine in the territory. The upper floor of the Mill City House was used as an opera house and a town meeting hall. In fact, President Ulysses S. Grant once stayed at the Mill City House. When I-70 was built, much of the southern half of the city was sacrificed to create the highway.
Today, Dumont has an active historical society which is known for its melodrama productions which occur every fall.