From Mining Days Gone By


Following are some images from a semi-restored stamp mill, high in a mountain basin not far from my home. The hopes of striking it rich with gold and silver drew many west and as a result, Colorado’s mountains are ‘rich’ with mining history. Several nearby towns had larger populations back then, than today. Many others were abandoned altogether since it was not practical to live at such high elevations. Mining in this area started in 1898 and the mill was built between 1905-1906. It is an example of a ‘stamp mill’ named for the method of breaking the ore down using large machines that pound rather than crush. Attracted by the diagonal siding I worked my way around the building looking for compositions while imagining what it must have been like before it stopped operating in 1910.

A stamp mill has been partially restored to preserve mining history in Colorado.

‘Silent Stamp Mill’ © Denise Bush

Colorado miners had great views like this one … looking out an old mill window.

‘Window With Mountain View’ © Denise Bush

A stamp mill high in the mountains has been partially restored in order to preserve this piece of mining history.

‘The Back Side’ © Denise Bush

The interior of an old mining stamp mill contains few remnants of days gone by.

‘The Workroom’ © Denise Bush

49 Responses to “From Mining Days Gone By”

  1. 1 Vickie Bush

    Love them all! Especially the window shot.

  2. 3 Deb

    Love the colored window!

  3. I love how the slanted siding mirrors the slope of the mountain. Well done.

  4. Nice lines and angles, Denise, esp. the two full window shots. It’s in good shape for being over 100 years old. Hope your birthday was a happy one! 🙂

    • We went here back in July. The building was partially restored and shored up by a Colorado historic preservation group. Thanks for your visit and comment!

  5. The building is so beautiful in itself that you think an architect has been on a corner or two. I am surprised that panel boards were placed on the diagonal. Wondering for what reason. Nice that you have captured the buildings’ compliance with the slope of the mountain and you discover so many details, both exterior and interior. A wonderful documentation, also beautiful with all the aging wood. Good work!

    • Thank you Hans! This is the first time I have seen that diagonal siding and don’t know if there was a purpose other than it looked good! I’m glad you enjoyed this set of photos!

  6. Thank you for sharing these wonderful captures!

  7. All are beautifully captured, Denise. The window image is my favorite!

  8. Both are beautiful. I like the B&W a little more.

  9. Wonderful! The wood is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Carlos! Wish I could go back in time and see it operating. There were mining holes all over and cables laying about for an elaborate system to bring the ore to the mill. There were other buildings in total collapse … just a pile of boards.

  10. Love the window shots. Really interesting Black and White. Brings out the patterns of light reflecting through. I think much thought went into the flow of this building with the mountains. So unique

    • Thanks Buck! I have quite a few old windows in my collection now. I am wondering if the diagonal siding made it easier to fit the contour of the mountain at the bottom. Wish you could explore some of these old places with me. XO

  11. I wonder whether the diagonal orientation of the boards was intended to mimic (at least approximately) the slope of the nearby mountains.

    • I cannot find any information about the construction other than a suggestion that the plans for the mill were purchased. At 12,000 feet I don’t know that they would care so much how it looked along with the slopes since the only people seeing it were those that worked there. Perhaps it made it more sturdy. The boards were fastened with large bolts. Or, maybe my theory just above?

  12. 24 Pat Worley

    How beautiful! I think it’s so interesting that they put the siding on a diagonal. It really makes the architecture something unique.

  13. STUNNING Images !

  14. Hi. That mill lasted only a few years. I suppose that not much gold or silver was found in the areas near to it. Take care. Neil Scheinin

  15. 31 Kara

    Great photographs, thanks for sharing!

  16. Beautiful images, Denise. I was surprised by the diagonal siding. My favourite is the one looking out the window with the glitches of sun coming through the diagonal siding.

  17. I have always been a fan of this subject matter….I find the architecture of these old mines stunning with the contrast between them and the natural beauty surrounding them. Love all of the shots and want to mention that the framing shooting from inside to outside with that background….awesome. I also love the ones you did in B&W!! Have a great week!

  18. Love the building! that diagonal siding is great. 70″s (?) modern architecture way back when.

  19. These images are wonderful, Denise. I love your “Window with a Mountain View” Fabulous angular lines and colors. Striking. Love the B&W window, too. The whole set is terrific. 🙂

  20. Fantastic find. Wonderful set of photos.

  21. Oh, I love that siding! How unusual. The final black and white is perfectly toned and composed. 🙂 Thanks for the bit of history, too.

  22. Excellent series, Denise.
    The last photo if my favorite though. Taking a picture through two windows was an excellent idea.

  23. Wow what a picturesque place! I have been to ones next to the Death Valley, quite remarkable to imagine the lives of people working there a century ago

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