The associated historic context discusses the social and economic importance of metal mining within northern Hinsdale County during the years between 1870 and 1950. Large quantities of gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc were among the metals mined during several periods of prosperity.
Denver & Rio Grande Railroad to this mountainous area provided the catalyst for a major expansion within the local mining industry during the 1890s. (Cover documentation accepted by National Register in 1999.)
Although little remains today, the camp site is representative of the boom and bust cycles typical of many Colorado mining communities. With a history paralleling the Tellurium / White Cross Mining Camp, it was never formally platted as a town site.
The kilns were built in 1877. Constructed of brick, utilizing the "beehive" shaped design that was typical of structures used in the production of charcoal, the two kilns are the last remaining ones in the county.
Established in 1875 as a supply center for the heavy mining activity in the area, people found their way to Lake City via the Saguache-San Juan Toll Road built by Enos Hotchkiss, one of the town founders.
The Tobasco Mine and Mill is associated with the metal mining history of Hinsdale and San Juan counties. The complex possesses the distinctive characteristics of a moderate size 1900s gold mine and mill operation in which the organization pattern is clearly evident.