These rails used to connect to those inside the Santiago Tunnel. Now they dangle above tailings.
Near Howardsville, Colorado, the Animas River gets quite wide. This is near the Little Nation Mill, which is worth a stop if you’re traveling north from SIlverton. It’s also near the former Gold King Mine, which “blew” in 2015 and flooded the Animas River with toxic mine water.
The Gold Prince is dead, but its ruins show how over-engineered it once was. Although its foundations were concrete, seen here, the rest of the mill was steel. All of its steel and equipment was removed to fix the Sunnyside Mill in Eureka.
At an abandoned mine railroad.
Typical New Mexico ranch fencing. The power lines follow the rails between Springer and Wagon Mound.
Frontier Gas is a former (?) gas station chain. Chain O’ mines reused a scrapped sign to mark their mill. Under the paint you can barely make out: GLORY HOLE GOLD MILL.
This peak is a little over 7,000 feet high and is a popular hiking spot. As a bulky Minnesotan who is better built for an arctic expedition, I stuck to the mesa.
The porch of the Gustavson House with the southern San Juan range in the background. Bring your own rocking chair…
The wood-braced structures descending the hill connected the La Crosse Tunnel to the mill in Central City. To see a picture of an aerial tram in action, see at my Treasure Mountain article.
Looking through the hole where a glass pane once was at the Columbus Mine ruins, just south of Animas Forks. It was quiet when I took the picture, but for the gurgle of the nearby Animas River.
Kate stands on top of the tailings pile that added some usable land to the side of the gulch. Somewhere nearby is the buried Santiago Tunnel.
Looking out of the labs at the company garages.
Looking across the whole milling operation from its dedicated powerhouse stretching across Eagle River.
Taken as I drove out of Silverton, CO. One of my favorite landscapes of 2015. Want a print? Email me!
One of my favorite images from my stay… Note the snowed-over road in the distance! This is looking toward Animas Forks.
West Elevation of the Depot. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
A panorama next to a long abandoned adit. The tram has seen better days.
A shuttered house at the end of the block doesn’t even have boards on it anymore.
Soft rain on Vulcan’s ashy pyre… Both of these peaks are dead volcanos, too hard to be totally washed away by storms. As a result, they seem to rise dramatically from the flat valley.
The second most important building at Prize Mine.
East Elevation of the Depot. Ektar 100/Mamiya 6
Mammoth Mine overlooks Central City from atop Mammoth Hill. In the distance you can make out Coeur d’Alene Mine (red), which operated from 1885 through 1940.
Looking across the mountain tramway from an abandoned house in Gilman.
From the highest roof of Ogvilvie’s, Thunder Bay looks like paradise.
These buildings were largely used as concentrators for the crushed rock, although I did spy some small mills inside these too.
A creek has cut through the middle of the mine property, washing away the loose rock and eroding the foundations of the Concentrator. It’s pretty, though! It’s be belief, though I cannot prove it, that some of the water here originates from inside the now-buried Santiago Tunnel, which is no doubt flooded to a great extent.
The playground used to be near the school which is now in ruins.
Grand Army, as seen from a Gilman Tram grade.
Preparing to drive up the narrow road into Picayune Gulch, which was barely wide enough for my SUV.
Workers’ lockers, strewn across Main Street, yet still out of the way.
The hiking around Central City is beautiful and full of history. Just get a proper topo map!
This building had the rusty remains of a few mattresses, likely used in the 1940s when this site was last occupied.
The southernmost houses in Gilman are seen through the pines on the right, near the tram stop.
A panorama showing the biggest building in Gilman—unless you count the massive mine below as a structure.
Spots of yellow gravel mark gold mines with nothing left on the surface. Is this one of the drainage pipes?
Below Grand Army Mine is Gold Collar. A ‘collar’ is the braced section around the portal of a mine shaft.
The gold mine is now a gravel pit.
Looking out of one of the biggest houses in Animas Forks toward the rest of the residential district. It is hard to imagine the life the people here lived, for those that stayed the winter.
I wonder who boarded the family house… the EPA?
Coming to an inspirational poster near you… what should it read? ADVENTURE AWAITS? Don’t hang posters. Go outside.
Taken around 11,600 feet.
When I first saw Ogilvie’s from the ground, I promised myself to look back when i found my way into this little pitched outcropping which seemed to have the best view of Thunder Bay I could imagine. It turns out, though, that there is no floor in that section; it is just extended machine access! Oh well. Mount McKay in the background in the last light.
A safe distance from Prize Mine is its dynamite storage vault, designed to explode up–not out–should the worst happen.
National Mine and its rockhouse (?) as seen from Mammoth Hill. From this angle, I am fairly certain this was a crushing and sorting house. The bottom looks like it has two aerial tram doors as well.
Dr. Muchow’s offices stand near his ‘new’ mill, but they show evidence of vandalism.
Like a railgun pointed at the Rockies… the boom would direct tailings–junk rock–outside of the dredge pond.
The valley is full of rocky peaks that stand out from the winding creeks, which only truly run after storms. It is a very beautiful place.
Castle, Montana is a ghost town. Almost no signs remain that it was a mining town.
Hiking into the ghost town with enough gear to live there for a few days, if we wanted.
Early bird catches the shadow of Battle Mountain blaring across the ghost town.
William Duncan built this house for his family in 1879. It has become one of the most popular structures in the ghost town of Animas Forks.
The purpose of the concentrator was to separate the gold and silver-rich ore from the waste rock. You can tell from the design that the process relies heavily on gravity.
Looking out at the abandoned neighborhood around the house.
Above Treasure Mountain Mine is the capped shaft of the defunct San Juan Queen Mine. This is taken near that location, looking down the road that connects the mines to Animas Forks.
A screened water wheel, presumably for rotating the dredge once it lowered its “foot” to pivot in place.
Looking through the loading platform of Frontenac Mine toward Black Hawk. In 1900, you would see Druid Mine on the left and Aduddell on the right.
This ruin was once the Toltec Mine, a producing gold and silver claim that operated into the 1940s.
A rusting disconnect gangway. The smokestack is for a boiler, if I recall.
The substation has definite structural issues. Pictured is the sidewalk that connected the plant to the company housing.
At Treasure Mountain mine. This collapsed building was likely the 1937 Compressor House, which pushed compressed air and water into the Sanitago Tunnel in the time it was producing.
Looking down the Gilman-Belden tram.