June 10th is Alvin Mosch's birthday and, although he is no longer with us on earth, we remember his legacy.
"Al's family is the longest continuous mining family in Colorado." The Colorado Gold Rush is the reason that the Mosch's have been hard rock miners for over 140 years. The von Mosch family descended from a mountainous region of Germany (now in Poland). The photo above shows three generations of Mosch's that lived in the United States. Hans' father, George, came to America and settled in Colorado as the mountains reminded him of his German homeland. Betty's father, Conrad, also settled in Colorado as an immigrant from Russia, born of German descent.
"Don't ever become a miner." Al's mother's words were always with him. It's not that he ignored her, Al just had a calling and became a miner despite her warnings. Mining was in his blood. The Mosch's were a hard-working and determined family. Alvin was no different. His attempts to stay away from mining didn't last long and he purchased the Phoenix Gold Mine in 1972.
Al was quite the storyteller, but would not reveal (to the public, anyway) what he did during his 4 years in military service. When he was honorably discharged from the Navy, he found work at a meat packing plant, car repair shop and pawn shop. Al describes living at the YMCA in Denver for a while and meeting other veterans who were homeless or down on their luck. Al was really down on his luck after bad news he received from his boss at the pawn shop but this led to a new opportunity. As Al said, "My Dad's favorite flower was the dandelion. Ironic is what I say. Most people see it as a weed. As much as they try to destroy it, it keeps coming back. Determination... the dandelion is the master of survival."
Al relays many stories.....of family, of mining, of debilitating hard work. The experiences he shares - of his dad and Uncle Walt, who died from silicosis when Al was young - are harrowing stories, gut-wrenching, but also stories of friendship and learning hard lessons.
One of Al's father's friends, Wilfred Roberts, was an industrious miner who had polio. Hans recalled experiences to Al of Wilfred's endurance, cheerfulness and accomplishments despite his disability. The Centurion Tunnel, located across from the Phoenix, was dedicated to Wilfred Roberts by Al Mosch. You will be able to see this tunnel very soon when it is opened for tours in a few months.
Bob, a dear friend of Al's, was like a brother to Al. The two boys practically grew up together as teenagers and Bob knew Al's parents and sister years before he knew Al. The stories that Bob told Al unleashed his own memories, especially of Betty, Al's mother.
Al's grandfather, George, arrived in Colorado in 1883, unknowing that a mining legacy would be his family's future. Hans continued in his father's footsteps. Al followed in his father's footsteps, and, today, David Mosch continues in his father's footsteps. Not only was mining in the Mosch family blood, but Al's mother's father and brothers were hard rock miners as well.
Al Mosch, like his ancestors, spent most of their lives working in the mines. Al dedicated his life to extracting precious minerals from the depths of the earth. His ability to overcome the challenges that come with the hard life of gold mining and extraction make him a revered figure in the mining community. Al's willingness to take calculated risks and explore uncharted territories underground earned him a reputation as a trailblazer and legend in the industry. He constantly sought innovative techniques and technologies to enhance efficiency and safety in mining operations.
Beyond his professional achievements, Al Mosch is also widely respected for his dedication to preserving the environment and advocating for sustainable mining practices. He firmly believed in the responsible extraction of resources and the importance of minimizing the ecological impact.
Golden quotes from Alvin Mosch:
"I have been a miner most of my life. Panning for gold is a very slow process. I like action; dynamite and explosives; that's why I go 'inside' the mountain."
"It's not glamorous, but we were born to do it, and it's in our blood. It takes a lot of dedication, self-discipline and endurance. We always leave the earth in better shape than before we began our journey. We restore the land, keep it clean and keep the environment safe."
"I always felt that my life has been blessed. Even with all the hardships I have had, I consider those moments blessings as well. They made me a bit wiser and taught me valuable lessons."
"Mom......every fiber of my being is molded from your wisdom and guidance. The valuable lessons you taught me about people and life are kept secure in my heart. Your spirit lives on today within everyone who was graced by the touch of your loving hand, your tender smile, and your warm compassion."
In loving memory of Alvin Mosch
The photos and information on this post are taken exclusively from the book Gold Dust, Dreams & Life of a Miner.....True Short Stories & Gold Mining Adventures from the Secret Diary of Alvin Mosch. This book was edited by Jim Jessurun.