When Charles Leaming Tutt arrived in Colorado Springs in 1884, he was all of 20 years old. As one family member noted, “He came west to grow up with the country.” After returning to Philadelphia in 1886 to marry fiancé Josephine Thayer, the couple lived on North Weber Street and Tutt started a real estate business which eventually expanded to include branch offices in Pueblo and Cripple Creek.
In December 1891, after news of the rich gold strikes in the Cripple Creek/Victor area, Tutt “teamed it over the mountains” to stake a claim. A family story describes how he “went in” with another prospector on a mine but soon had second thoughts. He offered to buy his partner’s ½ stake or sell his own. The partner sold out for $50 and Tutt found himself the sole owner of the COD Mine.
Meanwhile, after graduating from Harvard University, Spencer Penrose headed west with a $2,000 gift from his father. He visited Texas where his brother Dr. R.A.F. Penrose Jr. was conducting geological surveys, then moved on to Las Cruces, New Mexico where he failed at a series of businesses including: real estate, mining, orchards and cattle.
After selling his interests in New Mexico he arrive in Colorado Springs virtually penniless. Old family friend Charles L. Tutt asked Penrose to oversee the day-to-day operations of his businesses in Cripple Creek. The Penrose & Tutt partnership was born – an association that would transform both of their lives and reshape the Pikes Peak region.
Tutt and Penrose sold the C.O.D. mine in 1895, wanting to expand into related industries. They brought on additional partners, including Charles MacNeill, an experienced mill manager hired to oversee the operations of the Colorado-Philadelphia Reduction Company.
Another important associate was Spencer Penrose’s brother, Dr. R.A.F. Penrose Jr. The first student in Harvard history to earn a Ph.D. in geology, R.A.F. was a renowned expert in his field. He refused to invest in Spencer’s earlier Cripple Creek projects because he felt his previous work for the United States Geological Surveys there was a conflict of interest. However, by 1903 R.A.F. had “retired” from survey work and focused instead on consulting.
R.A.F. joined Spencer, Tutt, and MacNeill in backing Daniel C. Jackling’s daring plan to mine low-grade copper ore in Bingham Canyon, Utah. Along with others, they formed the Utah Copper Company. The venture proved tremendously successful and Utah Copper was eventually purchased in part, and later in whole by Kennecott Copper. Interestingly, the bulk of partners’ fortunes – including Spencer Penrose – was made through copper mining in Utah, not gold mining in Colorado.
Submitted by Leah Davis Witherow, CSPM Curator of History