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James  Underhill
(1871-1954)

James F. Underhill was born in New York City on April 9, 1871, the son of Louisa Fuller Johnson and James Underhill, a lawyer. James Sr. died in 1878, when James Jr. was only 11 years old. He received his A.B. Degree in Mining Engineering from Harvard in 1894, and moved to Idaho Springs in 1896, at the age of 25, where he became a prominent Colorado surveyor and consulting mining engineer. In 1897 he was commissioned by the state as a U.S. Deputy Mineral Surveyor. Underhill wrote Mineral Land Surveying (3rd edition, 1922), as well as numerous articles in mining journals, and surveyed many of the city plots and mines in and around Idaho Springs.

Underhill received his M.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1905 and his PhD in 1906 the first person in Colorado to earn a doctorate in Geology. He was hired as a geologist for the Colorado Geological Survey in 1907, and also served as Associate Professor of Mining at the Colorado School of Mines, beginning in 1919. On December 18, 1899, he married Lucy Caroline Stolles in San Fransisco, California.

The house once lived in and owned by Dr. James Underhill and his wife is preserved today as the Underhill Museum. Dr. and Mrs. Underhill built the home in 1911 on Miner Street, in the yards of the former livery stable for the Rose Hotel next door. Underhill used the front part of the house for his offices, and the back part was a home for him and his wife. Thanks to having been a livery yard, Lucy's gardens were quite splendid, growing delphiniums taller than she was.

James Underhill died in Idaho Springs on April 22, 1954. The Underhills never had any children, so Mrs. Underhill willed the property to the Idaho Springs library upon her death in 1969, with the codicil that it never be turned into a bar. The property remained vacant until 1980, when it was given to the Idaho Springs Historical Society. In 1999-2000, the building was renovated thanks to a grant from the Colorado Historic Fund, and opened as a museum, commemorating the life and work of the Underhills. The Underhill Museum is located today at 1416 Miner Street, Idaho Springs (303) 567-4709.

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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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The Mineralogical Record - James  Underhill James Underhill in front of his first office as mining engineer and surveyor in Idaho Springs, Colorado (ca. 1900)
The Mineralogical Record - James  Underhill The Underhill Museum today (former office and residence of Lucy and James Underhill, built in 1911).
The Mineralogical Record - James  Underhill 35 x 59 mm
The Mineralogical Record - James  Underhill 41 x 70 mm
The Mineralogical Record - James  Underhill 35 x 46 mm
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