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National and State Register
Historic Mining Resources of San Juan County
Historic Mining Resources of San Juan County, Colorado Form contextualizes the prominent and long-lived local mining industry between 1860 and 1954 in the eight principal mining districts historically active in the county: Las Animas, Eureka, Mineral Point, Poughkeepsie, Cement Creek, Mineral Creek, Ice Lake, and Bear Creek.
Associated Historic Contexts developed in the document include:
the Gold Rush, 1860-1
Return to the San Juans, 1870-4
Settlement and Establishment of Industry, 1875-81
the Early 1880s Boom, 1882-5
the Value of Silver Restored, 1890-3
the Silver Crash, 1894-7
the Great Mining Revival, 1898-1910
World War I Revival, 1915-21
Great Depression Era Revival, 1933-9
and Post-World War II Recovery, 1946-54
A sub-section further addresses the complex processes of Mining and Milling Methods, Technology, and Equipment. Detailed technical information explores placer mining, hardrock mining, evolution of the mine surface plant, shaft form and hoisting vehicles, steam boilers, headframe types, and additional surface components, such as ore storage and aerial tramways. The technology of ore benefication is addressed through consideration of smelters, concentration mills, amalgamation stamp mills, and arrastras. Property Types include: hardrock prospects; hardrock mines; aerial tramways; ore-concentration facilities; smelters; settlement and residences; and rural historic mining landscapes.
The boarding house and the adjacent tramhouse reflect important engineering aspects of high altitude hard rock mining. Constructed in 1904, two-thousand feet up a mountain face, these buildings illustrate the resourcefulness, perseverance and technology needed to mine the rugged San Juans.
The circa 1905 Placer Gulch Boarding House is a rare surviving example of a 1½ story boarding house from the hard-rock mining era in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. The building originally had private living quarters, a kitchen, dining room and large storage room on the first floor with benches and individual beds on the second. An adit to the Prospect Mine is just down the slope from the boarding house and the Gold Prince aerial tramway passes through this site.
Animas Forks is significant as a representative and relatively well-preserved ghost town for its association with commerce, industry, exploration and settlement, social history and architecture. It was active during the peak of hard-rock silver and gold mining in the San Juan mountains. When established in 1875, the community was strategically situated at the confluence of the East and West Forks of the Animas River, in the center of a region being extensively prospected and developed for hard-rock silver and gold mining. After the initial boom of the early and middle 1880s, the town gra
Constructed in 1912, the Frisco Mill is important for its distinctive architecture. The 150-ton ore concentration mill with its massive post and beam construction is an unusual example of a prefabricated industrial building. Its pieces were pre-cut, pre-fit, and coded with numbers and letters before being shipped to the site for assembly. This speeded and simplified the construction process on site. The Bagley Tunnel, excavated between 1904 and 1911, runs for nearly one and one-half miles and was one of the first examples of cross-cut tunneling in the area.
The Martin Mining Complex is associated with the mining industry in the San Juan Mountains and the Eureka Mining District. The complex displays the development of industrialized hard rock mining and the transportation infrastructure needed to make such mining profitable in a rugged region. The Martin Mining Complex is representative of the boom and bust cycle that was always present with industrialized mining. The 1929 Martin Boardinghouse is one of the best-preserved and largest boardinghouses still standing in the San Juan Mountains. More precisely, the Martin Boardinghouse can be cal
The Shenandoah-Dives Mill, which was constructed in 1929, is an exceptionally intact example of a selective flotation mill reflecting the distinctive characteristics of hard-rock milling processes in the early 20th century Rocky Mountain West.
The circa 1904 -1910 Minnie Gulch Cabins site, including the cabins, dugout, and associated artifact scatters, represent a typical small residential and industrial complex associated with nearby mining during the turn of the 20th Century. Intact groupings of this sort from the hard-rock mining period in Colorado are unusual.
The town is situated at the center of the San Juan mining district. Prospecting began in the 1860s, but it was not until 1871 that the first profitable silver vein was discovered in nearby Arrastra Gulch. The late 19th and early 20th century residential and institutional buildings within the district reflect the prosperity brought about by one of Colorado’s richest mineral producing regions.
The Sound Democrat Mill and Mine and Silver Queen Mine are a representative moderate-scale industrial mining and milling complex from Colorado’s period of hard-rock mining. In 1894 mining began at the Silver Queen, followed by the Sound Democrat in 1898.
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.