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Keith Pashina
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MODELING THE GILPIN TRAM, PART II

Well, after a lengthy pause, I'm able to renew postings on the Gilpin Tram modeling thread. If you were following the previous thread, "[/url][url=http://freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=4599&forum_id=17]Modeling The Gilpin Tram (part I)" , we made it to the 945th post!  However, due to dust storms on Mars, hacking by the Russian Government, or some other mystifying cause, we need to start this new thread.  Postings might look slightly different, due to some FreeRails software changes, but the topics, modeling, sharing of ideas, and fun will continue.

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THE END OF AN ERA! (in modeling, that is)

Well, last Tuesday was a bittersweet day. I got what will be my last UPS package of stuff shipped to me from Caboose Hobbies in Denver, Colorado. Every time I visited Denver, a must stop was at Caboose Hobbies, which was a huge hobby shop loaded with models, kits, and parts, and that included a lot of narrow gauge modeling items and narrow-gauge-themed books, too. However, the store's landlord made them move for a site redevelopment, and it was time for the owners to retire, and so they are closing up shop this month.

This isn't the first wonderful hobby shop to close or migrate to web-only, and won't be the last. All things change in this world, and I suppose this hobby isn't exempt, either.

However, on the plus side, I got a neat book shipped to me, and a bunch of locomotive and car parts that I can use for modelbuilding on my Gilpin Tram layout. So, there will be more to come!

Stay tuned...


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Hi Keith.

The 'Gallery' function should be available to you now.
Have you checked the current recommendations in the 'Read This' Forum TECH. HELP ?
Mac/Safari I don't think will show 'G' in the Posting-window.
But I believe most other hardware/software combinations should.

:moose:

Si.

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Oops! After a few mishaps...



Well, thanks to help from Si, Herb and Eddie, my previous difficulties with the Freerails software have been worked out. So, let's get back to looking at the Gilpin Tram.



In my previous posts, I started posting about my next big modeling venture, modeling the enginehouse, yards, mills and buildings of Black Hawk.

But first, just to be clear, this thread is Part II, and will start looking at the Black Hawk area, and how I will go about modeling it.  Part I generally covered the line from Chase Gulch at the Black Hawk end, and eventually more or less looked at the mainline, branches, spurs, and mines to the end of the line.  This map shows where this information can be found in Modeling the Gilpin Tram (Part I):



So, if you're if your seeking more information about the Gilpin Tram, don't forget to check out the Part I thread.





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Modeling the Gilpin Tram's Enginehouse in Black Hawk



I first built an HO model of the enginehouse in 1993, and this was eventually written up in an article in the September 1999 Gazette.  This model was of the final three-stall version, and included a fully detailed interior.



At the time, I was building a small 4' x 9' layout, and set out to reproduce as much of the Gilpin Tram's enginehouse area as a I could. This shows a 1993 view, and eventually, the area immediately around the enginehouse was scenicked, but the rest of the layout was never completed.



After the previous layout was torn up, I began building a two-level layout based on the Gilpin Tram (again, in HOn30) in a larger space in my basement. So, the enginehouse model was reused on the new layout. I didn't have quite the space I needed to model the real Gilpin Tram's trackage accurately, so I compromised. In the view above, you can see I included a wye right next to the enginehouse, and I built a small (non-prototypical) yard off to the side.



Then, I dismantled two-level layout, so my son could use the area for his musical efforts. I then started building a shelf layout around two walls of the main basement rec room. Again, I had to compromise the track layout, but this layout was built for operation, so I included the trackage I needed - a small yard, two mill tracks, interchange, and a boiler works. I didn't have room for a wye, so I put a very unprototypical turntable behind the enginehouse.

 
Then, I moved, so I restarted my HOn30 layout. Once again, I did not faithfully model the Black Hawk trackage, but fit in the enginehouse where I had space. Once again, I didn't have space for a wye, so I put in a turntable (the real Gilpin Tram never had a turntable).

But, after 7 years, we decided to move once again, so, this layout was dismantled and parts of it saved. But, by then, Mike Pyne of Wild West Scale Model Builders expressed an interest in bringing out the enginehouse as a kit. Since the enginehouse (temporarily) did not have a layout space, I gave the enginehouse to Mike to use as an example.

So, when I do build my new model of Black Hawk, I will either build a kit, if available at that time, or scratchbuild another one!

Keith

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Keith, wonderful views of "engine house transformation". I have wanted to build the house for many years but your model was so nice that what I could build would be a travesty. Finally Duane brought out his SC book and I found another engine house to build. The idea that Gilpin's house was an old barn is just great! A barn for iron horses.

Woodie

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Woodie,

Thanks for the nice comments about the enginehouse model. However, it was your Mogollon Railway thread on Freerails that was an inspiration to me. I like the scenes you created, on a realistic, operating layout.  I was trying to attain something similar.



The Gilpin Tramway's enginehouse and yard area was simple and compact. This was something worth modeling!  The map above, sketched from the original Sanborn Fire Insurance map from about 1895, shows the former barn-turned enginehouse built between Clear Creek and against a steep mountainside.



This shows my model railroad trackplan for Black Hawk as it existed until 2005. This was part of an article originally published in Railroad Model Craftsman in September 2003. I had room to model Black Hawk in HOn30 on a shelf area 16" x 96" - very tiny. But, I did have room to model the trackage to the main items of interest. The enginehouse was the main focus of the scene, and the rest intended to be mostly building flats.



This is an overall view of the Black Hawk portion of the layout. This is a very compact scene - 16" x 8' long. You'll also notice some non-Gilpin rolling stock in the picture - a caboose with cupola, and two boxcars. I wanted to model traffic for non-ore freight, that would be in bboxcars, tankcars, and other rolling stock. I want to model this on the current layout I am building, too.



For this layout, I used Peco Hon30 (009, actually) turnouts and flex track. It worked rather well, and I'll probably continue to use the same track on the new layout. Since this photo was taken, a lot more HOn30 locomotives have become available, and these will find a home on the new layout, too. The three locos shown here were all scratchbuilt bodies over N scale mechanisms, with dummy, non-operating cylinders and jackshafts. On these small models, the non-operable parts were not all that noticeable.  However, now I have been using N scale shays with scratchbuilt bodies, and these look much better.


Looking back at the former, pre-2005 layout, this photo was taken during one of many operating sessions. I learned on this layout that a small amount trackage, but laid out in plausible configuration, was interesting and fun to operate. In this photo, a train of empty ore cars is headed to the mines. I set out some structures as mockups, but never finish the scenery on this part of the layout, due to an impending house move.







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The Warming House


This is an enlargement from a photo in the Denver Public Library collection, and shows the north end of the warming house. A harp switch stand for the lead track to the warming house can be seen by the left margin (next to the railroad crossing sign for the wagon road). There are ties and barrels stored by the warming house. The track enters what appears to be a wooden sliding door, where inside, the track branched out into three parallel sidings

Across Clear Creek from the enginehouse, the Gilpin Tram built a stone warming house. This structure was need to provide a place for loaded ore cars to be parked and warmed until the ore loads thawed. The gold-bearing ores tended to be mined in wet conditions, so during winter months, the ore often froze up. By parking the loaded ore cars overnight, or for several hours in a heated structure, the loads would thaw, and then be taken to the various mills to be dumped into the ore bins.




This map was drawn by Dan Abbott, and originally published in Issue 4 of the Gilpin Railroad Historical Society Newsletter. A similar map of Dan's was also published on page 33 of the book, The Gilpin Railroad Era.

Dan's research shows the mainline down into Black Hawk passing by the stone structure, next to the creek. Dan's research showed the building eventually measured 28' wide by 250' long. I think this structure was modified quite a bit over the years. Originally, the building was heated by a series of stoves, but later, a large boiler was set up, and fed steam pipes throughout the building. I think the small structure addition on the south end is the boiler house.

This structure was located on a sloping grade, so the loaded ore cars would be dropped by gravity onto the tracks. The building was too low for locomotives to go inside.


Photos of the warming house are rare, and it appears in the background in only a few older photos. This is another enlargement of a Denver Public Library, Western History Collection photo, and shows a (distant) overall view of the warming house. There are two houses next to the enginehouse. On the far right (north side), there is a large structure of some time. I thought this was an ore bin for a nearby mine, but Chris Walker sent me some information where he thought this could possibly be a squarish water tank. This photo is an extreme enlargement of the background of a photo, and I cannot get much more detail out of it than what is shown here.  Interesting to speculate on what this was, though


This is a contemporary photo looking east from just north of the warming house. I wonder if this mine was around in Gilpin Tram times, and whether its ore bin shows up in the previous photo. I like the lengthy ore slide leading from the tunnel down to the bin - this would be an interesting scene to model

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This photo was taken about 25 years ago, and is looking north over the former warming house site. By this time, nothing remained of the warming house. Colorado Route 119, to Nederland, is visible at left. The small mine previously shown can be partially seen - the ore slide down to the bin can be seen on the hillside

Parts of the warming house survived into the 1980s. By the time I first saw the area, in 1986, only a part of the stone walls at the north end were still standing. The rest of the structure had been torn down or covered with waste rock from mining operations.


Parts of the warming house walls at the north end were still standing into the 1980s. This view is looking north


2014 view of the former warming house site

Due to "progress", the large amount of new development in Black Hawk and Central City caused a lot of changes. One casualty was the warming house ruins. The walls were knocked down, and the site covered with soil and gravel, and construction equipment parked on the site. Today, the site is vacant, and nothing remains.

Keith


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Howdy Keith, I have always been interested in the "warming house", what a neat thing! I can see that such a model might be built a bit taller so a tiny (#1) Shay and train could be "stored" inside as a sort of "hidden staging" track. The purists might howl but then....
It is a real shame that traces of the GT are being desecrated for the "good" of gambling and "progress". When I lived in Denver, I used to really enjoy getting to Blackhawk & Central, it made living in Denver more tolerable!

Woodie

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Keith,

Your Part 1 Thread Map index is great.

Did I show you the cut stones I have been working on for the Warming Shed, during the NNGC? If i couple work out the posting of photos I would, still messing with the system, but not working, for me.

Monte

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Woodie,

Yes, it is too bad progress continues, and the warming house ruins are all gone.  Considering the tram quit running 99 years ago, I consider myself fortunate that there are as many remains to view today as there are!

Monte,

Glad you found this thread, and I hope you will be able to post some photos of your stonework modeling here. You and I talked about it for a while at the National Narrow Gauge Convention, but I didn't see any photos at the time.



The real stone retaining walls are impressive, and hold up very well today. Something I have tried modeling in different ways, including casting in plaster and resin, hand-carving, hand-laying, and ready-made walls. Hand-laid looks the best, but of course, takes the most time. I recently picked up a package of the Chooch brand flexible plastic stone sheet with adhesive backing - this may be useful for building foundations.

Keith

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Keith,

I use 2 methods of making heavy rough coursed stonework.

1) I turned up a slim, pointed soldering iron bit. Then I freehand the courses in soft pencil onto soft, thick cardboard & burn the courses in. Repeated to/fro over a part will deepen the course depth between stones.

Or,

2) I peel off the outer paper skin from 5 mm foam board then use an old dried out biro point or sharp pencil to "emboss" the coursing.

Paint to suit.

Regards, Michael

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Keith, Go ahead and post the cut stones I have been playing with for the Warming Shed.

They need to be more varied in size still working on that.

Monte

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Thanks for all the great information on the Gilpin ore car warming house, and the photo, I had not seen it before!

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When I was in "G" scale, back in the twin cities, I laid out a frame of 1/4" thick boards on a flat surface then filed the center with mortar mix. Leveled the mortar with a rough stick to give it texture. Once cured, I hit the mortar with a hammer to break it into flat "stones" suitable for hand laying a stone wall. This should work in smaller scales using thinner boards and plaster.

Larry Gant

Last edited on Wed Sep 28th, 2016 09:48 pm by Larry G

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AWESOME Larry !!

So simple...
...but BRILLIANT !!

Aren't the best ideas always !

:moose:

Si.

Gonna try it, bet it looks 101%

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Si, make two or three frames of various thickness for variety.

Larry Gant

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There are a lot of ways to model the stone walls so common in Gilpin County. Michael and Larry, thank you for posting your methods to model these types of walls. If you, or any other thread readers have photos of your stone walls to share, please post them.

More on Stone Walls - Monte Pearson's Modeling



Monte Pearson models the Gilpin Tram, in 1:24 scale  I believe. His layout seems to be well along, and he has been building structures and retaining walls depicting stone. He asked me to post some photos he recently had taken, and also emailed me to say,

"Attached are a couple of photos of the backsplash stones I policed up a Lowe’s.  They are about 1’ x 2.75”, I started cutting them with a hobby saw.  It plays hell on the teeth, so changed to a small hack saw.   I have about one wall completed.  During the cutting a lot of rock dust is generated.  Have saved most of it and will use as grout."

Nice modeling, Monte, and keep progress photos coming!







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HOn30 Layout Retaining Walls



I tried modeling retaining walls typical of the Gilpin Tram right-of-way by casting them in plaster from a molded master. These looked okay, but didn't have the shadow lines I was seeking. This is from an earlier layout about 1997.



Another method I tried was casting the walls in resin, again from a handlaid master molded in silicone rubber and cast using Alumilite urethane resin. This photo was taken of the C&S ore chute transfer area, and turned out okay. However, I didn't notice until I took this photo and enlarged it that there were several air bubbles I had neglected to fill in. 

Keith






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Keith,
Thanks for posting the photos, I must say they are not bad. It must be your post methods. Once I figure out the photo posting I will post some of the layout.

Thanks Again Keith

Monte

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I too have tried many methods of making various types of stone walls. This picture of my outdoor G scale layout in Hopkins, MN (twin cities suburb) shows two different methods. On the far left a small section of wall using the method described a few posts back.

The wall below the track was pressed into wet mortar. I used mortar because plaster would no stand up outdoors.

My mountains were built much the same way as small scale indoor mountains are built, wire mesh with mortar spreed over the top. And many rubber rock mold castings.

Larry Gant

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Last edited on Thu Sep 29th, 2016 06:07 am by Larry G

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This picture shows another method of making a stone wall on the gray building. These are actual flat stones fixed to a foam substrate. A lot of fooling around looking for just the right stone to fit a certain spot. I imagine this isn't much different than what a stone mason does in the full size world.   This layout no longer exists.
Larry Gant

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Last edited on Thu Sep 29th, 2016 06:03 am by Larry G

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Larry,

Thanks for posting pictures of your modeling. The carved/pressed mortar looks good, and real stones bonded to foam look really good.

I think I may have visited your layout once, on one of the tours. I recall your outdoor layout may have been connected to your indoor layout? That would have probably been 20 years ago!

Keith

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Keith, you may have been at my layout during the 1999 national N.M.R.A. convention.
Or, if you were a member of "Metro" you might have come with them. Or with the Minnesota Garden Railway club. Your right, the indoor and outdoor parts of that layout were connected. The only part of that layout I saved was the wood trestle. It now sits on my patio, unused.

I was at your place at least 20 years ago with the late Roger Tea. You bought one of my Jouef open passenger cars way back when. I still have the other one.

Larry

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Last edited on Thu Sep 29th, 2016 11:12 pm by Larry G

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Larry,  good to hear from you again!  I enjoyed seeing your layout back then, and looking forward to hearing more from you about narrow gauge stuff!

I still have that Joeuf excursion car, and slightly modified it to loosely resemble a GT excursion car.

Keith

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The above map shows the Black Hawk area, where we return to look further at the yards and a mill branch


THE GILPIN TRAM's BLACK HAWK YARD AND WYE



North of the enginehouse and shops was the Gilpin Tram’s small yard. This was limited to a runaround track with a wye on the north end. Photographs show strings of loaded ore cars on the two tracks next to and just uphill of the enginehouse. These same tracks were also used for storage of empty cars.  Of course, there were other tracks to set out cars in Black Hawk, and we will eventually look at those, too.




 The very simple "yards" north of the enginehouse and Clear Creek wye are shown in this map



FULLERTON MILL BRANCH

 
M.P. 0.00         SWITCHBACK No. 1
 
The Fullerton Mill branch began at the enginehouse, where the mainline began its climb up Chase Gulch, and the main headed downgrade to Black Hawk and several mills.

 
The Fullerton Mill Branch began immediately next to the enginehouse , and extended for over a mile  to the northwest. The branch started out on the west side of Clear Creek, crossed over to the other side to reach two mills, then crossed back to the west side to reach the Martin/Wheeler Mill. This branch was built to serve three ore-processing mills: the Golden Fleece/Brooklyn/Gunnell Gold M & M Company, the Fullerton Upper Mill, and the Martin/Wheeler Mill. The owners of the Martin/Wheeler Mill owned the trackage from “Wheeler Junction” to their mill, which was 2,693 feet of trackage, or about 0.51 miles.
 
M.P. 0.13         CLEAR CREEK WYE
 
The wye was described in a1906 Gilpin Railroad Company report as being 600 feet north of the enginehouse.
 
The branch was built early in the life of the tram – newspaper records show the branch was in place to the Upper Fullerton Mill in 1887.





This is how the former yard and wye area looks now - the highway has moved the creek closer to the far bank, and vegetation has grown back. I could not find any traces of the grade



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This map shows the Fullerton Mill Branch



GOLDEN FLEECE/BROOKLYN/GUNNELL GOLD M & M COMPANY
 
This small mill was about 0.3 miles north of the enginehouse, although official records don’t document its location.  I have never seen a photo of this mill, nor are there many records describing it. What we do know is that it started out known as the Golden Fleece Mill, maybe, although I don’t know this for sure, before the tram.  Later on, it was described as the Brooklyn Mill, then finally as the Gunnell Gold M & M Company. This latter name implies it was part of a larger conglomerate of the mines consolidated on Gunnell Hill.





 
The 1895 Sanborn Map gives this detail regarding the Golden Fleece Mill



The 1917 USGS Economic Geology of Gilpin County report stated this mill had 1 jaw crusher, 10 stamps, amalgamating tables, jigs, and Gilpin bumping tables. Why am I mentioning all of this equipment? The report describes this mill as still extant in 1917, but I don’t know when it quit operating. In a future post, I will show images and describe this equipment. Remember, I want to build a model of Black Hawk with some of the mills, so trying to learn about this is important to me.
 
The landscape in this area has been greatly changed since Gilpin Tram days. The highway construction has moved the creek to the west side of the canyon, and has been partially built over the old grade. However, the concrete foundations for the Golden Fleece/Brooklyn/Gunnell Gold M & M Company mill can still be found, now down in the creek bed.  This area is heavily overgrown with underbrush, and in the summer, when the bushes are leafed out, almost impossible to find.  My impression of the ruins was that the shape of the foundation was similar to what was depicted in the Sanborn Insurance Company map.




Today, the site is overgrown, and some concrete foundations can be found back in the brush, and partly in the creek bed


M.P. 0.36     UPPER FULLERTON SPUR
 
This mill apparently had two spurs to it. The upper track was 728 feet long, according to Dan Abbott. Dan also reported that some maps described this spur as having one switchback before it reached the mill building. Over the years, this mill was variously known as the Gunnell Mill, and the Kimball & Fullerton Upper Mill. Mine production records said the mill had a 30-ton ore capacity each 24 hours, and used 20 stamps. William Fullerton was a prominent mining man in the area, and built his first mill in 1867. He also owned the Gunnell Mine for a while, one of the largest producers in the area.




 
This is the 1895 Sanborn Fire Insurance Company map showing this mill location. This map shows one spur to it, but other map sources show a lower spur next to the building



Highway construction has obliterated the site, and there are no remains of it today. Also, I have never seen a photo of this mill.
 
There are very few records of this mill’s use. I found newspaper references to the equipment being put into it. But, there is also a 1901 newspaper account saying this was a speculative mill back in the 1860s, and full of never-used equipment!  So what is the real story?





Although most of the grade has vanished due to creek erosion and highway construction, some grade remains can be found on the west bank of Clear Creek, a few small stone rockwalls can be found. This photo is not on the branch, but typical of stone retaining walls supporting the grade found in the area. Note the steel rods set into holes drilled into the rock - this would be a nice detail on a model

 
I think that Fullerton Upper Mill, or the Golden Fleece Mill, could be good candidates for being modeled on my layout. By not having any photos available, this gives me the freedom to build whatever seems logical.
 
I like the name “Golden Fleece”, too, so maybe this mill would be worth modeling. The Sanborn map seems to show this as a one-level structure – there is no obvious upper track  or unloading area.
 
But, the Fullerton Upper Mill is also a good candidate for a model, too. I like the mill size – it cannot be too large, yet it had an upper and lower spur to it!




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M.P. 037    MARTIN JUNCTION
 
This junction was on what would probably be a switchback to the Upper Fullerton Mill spur, and was very close to this mill.  A Mr. R.L. Martin owned this trackage, and it was used to reach his Martin/Wheeler Mill. R.L. Martin was a prominent mine and mill operator in the area, and he also owned the Gettysburg Mine, and I have seen his name mentioned with several other mining ventures.
 


The Wheeler Mill (photo courtesy of Mark Baldwin Collection). The branch mainline is in the foreground, and the spur goes to two doors on the left that perhaps were used for coal unloading. A trestle can be seen at right margin, and maybe this is part of the second spur to ore unloading bins. Note the unusual shape of this mill, very different from other mills we have seen before in this area


M.P. 0.82    WHEELER MILL (ON MARTIN’S EXTENSION)
 
The Martin/Wheeler Mill was also known as the Climax Mill at one time, according to Dan Abbott. An 1879 Mines Directory also lists this as the “Bostwick and Wheeler Mill.” But, the same report describes this as the “Wheeler Mill, owned by W. Wheeler and D. Sullivan” – maybe this was a different mill, or maybe not!
 
This mill had 25 stamps and outside amalgamating tables, 5 Gilpin County bumping tables, and could handle 37 tons of ore each 24-hours. 
 
I think there were 2 spurs to this mill: one for coal unloading and supplies, and an upper track for presumably ore unloading. Both spurs faced south, so train movements would have required the train to pull the train up to the mill, then work the spurs. Since this branch is on a steep upgrade from the enginehouse, the shays must have put on a good show when switching the mill!
 
I could find no records of shipments or traffic to this mill. By 1917, this mill was reported as being partially dismantled. When the mill quit operating is unknown.





 
Here is the 1895 Sandborn map of this mill



We are fortunate to have a photo of this mill. Mark Baldwin, who also hosts the Gilpin Gold Tram website, gave permission to use this photo. This mill is looks very different from the typical mills in the area – it seems to be a wood-framed building with peaked, shingled roofs.

As a modeling subject, this mill is a candidate for modeling – it is unique (as least based on available photos), relatively small, and comprised of simple shapes.




This is the mill site about 10 years ago. The mill building is not the Wheeler Mill from Gilpin Tram days, and someone built a house next to it. You can see the steep downhill grade from right to left, which must have given shays hauling ore cars up to the mill a good workout










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This mill was on or near the original Wheeler Mill site. It is a modern structure - maybe built in the 1930s-1950s. Although it postdates the Gilpin Tram era, I find the small size of the mill, its shape, and corrugated metal construction appealing. Maybe this mill should find its way onto my Black Hawk model scene?


Here is another photo of the newer mill near the Wheeler Mill site


This was the top of the newer mill, showing where trucks dumped ore into the mill. I could see adding a trestle, and imagining ore cars discharging ore here, instead.  No equipment remained in this mill, and I have never been able to find any records of who-what-where, either. Nevertheless, this mill building has its attributes!

Keith



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Keith,
Another set of great posts. The back ground info related to the Kimber&Fullerton Mill makes the posting add a touch of reality to the history. There were people working the angles.

Good job

Monte

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Monte,

Yes, Gilpin County seemed to have its share of those mining wallets instead of gold!  I was recently reading a book on mills in neighboring Boulder County (Prsopecting Our Past - Gold, Silver an Tungsten Mills of Boulder County), and the author (Harrison S. Cobb), writes about several mills that were constructed and equipped, but never operated. Maybe the modern equivalent is building a solar energy plant or something along those lines!

Some Mining Books That I Like

Speaking of books, one arrived today that I had been anticipating for some time:



Secure the Shadow  by Duane Smith and Hank Wieler was published in 1980, and provides  a history of Lachlan McLean, a photographer who lived in Idaho Springs, but photographed the mines and related industries in Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties, and other areas. The book has several beautiful photos showing mine surface plant, underground operations, mills, and other related scenes. Although long out of print, the book is inspirational for modeling ideas.


Secure the Shadow is filled with great mining photos

There are many other books that I've purchased, that I find invaluable for ideas on how to model the mines, towns, and mills along the Gilpin Tram. There are many books I have found useful, too many to list here, but here are some my favorites:



Drills and Mills by Will Meyerriecks walks you through the equipment and methods used in mining and milling, and is well illustrated. The explanations are written for the average modeler, helped me learned the how and why of mining in Gilpin County.



Another good book is "The Mining Camps Speak", by Beth and Bill Sagstetter. This book was written to help explain the ruins and remains found around mining camps, but while doing so, provides great illustrations and explanations of mining camp life. This is not limited to the mining operations, but town and camp life, too.





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Riches to Rust by Eric Twitty is a well-written account about the rise and fall, and rebirth of many of the mining sites. This is an easily accessible text, that gives a good overview of western mining operations (at least for a casual reader like me, seeking modeling ideas).



Western Scale Models is well known for their kits featuring great metal castings, but they also published several books (although the kit line has been acquired by Wild West Scale Model Builders, I believe the books are still available from Western Scale Models).

One very nice book is "Modeling the Mining Industry: Gold and Silver Stamp Mills", by William Gustafson.  This book was written expressly for modelers, and shows you how to build a typical example of a stamp mill. Although the examples are not specific to Gilpin County, the construction and layout are carefully explained.


A related book, also by Western Scale Models, is William Gustafson's "Modeling the Mining Industry: Compressed Air, its Generation and Use in Mining." This is a great source of information on air compressors and drills in mines. Air compressors were common in the mines I model, and I'll be able to use the information in this book.

This is just a few of the books in my library, but some are less-known than others, and thought I'd share them with you.

Keith


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Keith

Have 4 of the 6 books,
If interested in tram line's

Riding the Highwire, Western US tram system's
Tramway Titan, Riblet Co tram line.s around the world.

Mining Engineers and the American West, not much for photo.s but very interesting as to the in's and out's of mining operation's.

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Ken,

The book you mentioned, Riding the Highwire, about Western US aerial tramway systems is a great book, too. I used parts of it as inspiration for a fictionalized model of an aerial tram on my HOn30 layout:



There are many other good books out there that provide useful information to modelbuilders for mining operations, and I only mentioned a few of them in my previous posts. Some other books not to overlook are:
  • Blown to Bits In the Mine, a history of explosives used in mining. Read this book and you'll learn all you need to know (except how to actually manufacture it). In a larger scale, I think a neat detail would be to have Giant Powder or dynamite boxes with labels on them. In HO, the detail would be too small and not worth the effort
  • Mine Plant, published by the American Institute of Mining. I have the 1938 edition, and its 371 pages are loaded with drawings showing how all the underground and above ground plant was constructed
  • The Stamp Milling of Gold Ores, by T. A. Rickard in 1897. This is a the reference on stamp mill construction, and well illustrated. I purchased my copy as a PDF on a CD from a seller, but this book can be found at many locations. I'll be using information from this book as we go ahead with a closer look at the many ore mills in Black Hawk
  • Mining Engineer's Handbook, by Robert Peele. I have the 1941 edition, and copies of this are easy to find. Like the Mine Plant book, it is full of drawings accompanying the text, and gives good info on mining operations. A fun book to browse
Keith

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Keith

A very credible model of the tram interior

Two books, I have enjoyed going through

Cornish Explosives Deals with the production of explosives, plant layout and equipment used.

The Metallurgy of the Common Metals. (1909) process's covered are for Gold, Silver, Iron, Lead, Zinc & Copper.

Another excellent source for information is
The American Historical Building Survey's site, no books,
but write up's, photos and plans for various industrial
sites. As an example the Silver King lower terminal that
was in Park City shows plans of the structure and interior
details for the tram line terminal.

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Hello Keith,

With no runaround tracks north of the loco shed , locos & cars presumably worked as "push-pull" consists ?.

When you get round to it I will be interested to see some ore separation equipment photos. I've never seen an amalgamation table nor a head of stamps with an amalgamation mortar box. Presumably a "Gilpin Bumper" was a local version of the standard Wilfley table ?

Regards, Michael

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The past group of posts looked at the Gilpin Tram’s enginehouse and yards, the warming house, and up the Fullterton Mill Branch to look at the Golden Fleece, Fullerton Upper, and Wheeler Mills.




 The above image is looking north, and shows the Hidden Treasure Mill. In the background, the warming house can be seen


THE HIDDEN TREASURE MILL
 
The next map, photos, and text, are partially reposted from the 70th Post, November 23, 2012, in the thread, “Modeling the Gilpin Tram”(Part 1).




 This map is an enlargement of a 1920s C&S Black Hawk trackage map, from the Colorado Historical Society


If you have been following this thread over the past 4 years, we previously checked out the upper spur to the Hidden Treasure Mill. On the mainline up Chase Gulch, about 150’ from the enginehouse, this spur branched off from the main to a short switchback. This spur also passed next to the Midas Mill, but this mill appears to have been closed down before the Gilpin Tram was built.  Sanborn Fire maps from 1900 note the structure was closed and dismantled by then.  The Midas Mill had 20 stamps at one time.




 The Midas Mill at right, and the tram switchback can be seen on the left side of this now-abandoned mill. In the foreground, the lower leg of the switchback to the Hidden Treasure can be seen - note how the track curves from left to right



Then, there is a very short spur, which appears to be at most 1 or 2 ore cars in length, next to a structure that may or may not be an ore bin. There seems to be a small mine operating in this area – between the Midas Mill and what may an ore storage shed.  In old photos, you can barely make out a harp switchstand to this short spur.




From the same enlarged photo, the ore bin-like structure can be seen at left, with a very short Gilpin Tram spur leading to it. Note the harp switchstand. This spur does not show up in any map I have ever seen



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This is where the switchback turned left to reach the Hidden Treasure Mill. The mainline up Chase Gulch climbs upgrade to the right


Past this mystery ore bin, the switchback continued down to a short tail track, and then down to the Hidden Treasure Mill.  This spur then crossed Clear Creak, the wagon road, and the Gilpin Tram line from the enginehouse down into Black Hawk town. Ore cars were switched down the switchback and unloaded from this spur, which  was inside the mill.
 
So, going back to the enginehouse, we’ll head down the eastern track, which extends southward through Black Hawk, to the very end of track at the Iron City Mill. This track crossed Clear Creek to the east bank, and passed by the warming house (discussed in the 8th Post of this thread).
 


Once again, one of those pesky Gilpin Tram shays is partly blocking our view of the Hidden Treasure Mill. This train would be taking empty ore cars back towards the yard area, just north of the enginehouse. Note the 3' gauge C&S car on the short spur behind the train


M.P. 0.22     HIDDEN TREASURE MILL SPUR No. 1
 
Continuing on, the track reached the Hidden Treasure Mill.  This mill was also known as the New California Mill – I think this was either owned by or associated with the mining interests that operated the California and Hidden Treasure Mines on Quartz Hill.
 
The Hidden Treasure/New California Mill was, at one time, an important shipper on the Gilpin Tram. This mill at its peak had 75 stamps, amalgamating tables, and Gilpin County Bumping Tables.  This mill was also the furthest upstream that the 3' Colorado & Southern reached. 
 
As years went by, the mill seemed to have been downgraded, and its capacity reduced. The Economic Geology USGS report noted that the mill had formerly had 40 stamps, and now was reduced to 10 stamps.





Here is additional trackage detail at the Hidden Treasure Mill




Here is an enlargement of a previous photo. There is dual gauge 2' and 3' track at the bottom center - the spur to the right is 3' gauge only. The dual gauge continues on the left side, next to the creek, and the dual gauge ends at the north end of the mill. The bridge used by the Gilpin Tram to unload cars can be seen. Also, note there are two wagon bridges crossing the creek to the mill in this area







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The C&S actually had two spurs here. One spur branched off to the east (right), and may have been used for loading ore concentrates, supplies, and possibly unloading coal. The wood-framed shed on the east side of this spur is identified as a “Tailings House” on the 1895 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map.
 
The other track was dual gauge, 2' and 3' gauge and passed by the west (creek)side of the mill. The C&S track ended here. See those big doors in about the middle of the left wall of the Hidden Treasure Mill?  Those were used to unload coal from C&S coal cars into the mill.  
 
That large box-like structure at the upper right houses a water wheel to power the mill.  Many mills along Clear Creek used water wheels to power the mills during periods of high water.  When water flow was low, they reverted to steam power.




There is no train in this photo, but a C&S gondola is parked on the short spur by the Tailings House

 
Traffic records for this mill seem to be non-existent, and I have no information regarding how traffic ebbed and flowed over the years.  A report, “Summary of Mineral Industry Activities in Colorado”, published 1922, notes that no mills were operating in Gilpin County by that time.




 The 1895 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map gives a lot of detail for this mill. At this time, the mill was at its largest capacity - 75 stamps, to feed the then-prospering California and Hidden Treasure Mines on Quartz Hill. There is a lot of activity in a relatively small area!


Today, the site is a wooded slope, and I have not found any artifacts indicating a mill was ever located here!




Time marches on, and nature rebounds. This is looking at the same area as some of the previous photos, and trees cover the former mill site. The road is roughly on the former railroad grade



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The book "Stamp Milling for Gold Ores" by Thomas Arthur Rickard is now on Google downloads archive here;

https://archive.org/details/stampmillinggol00rickgoog

Those Western Scale Model books look great, I've been on a list for notification if they ever come back in stock from Rusty Stumps.

On another note I found a couple of old out of print magazines (Light Iron Digest) and purchased them off eBay from the UK, the premier issue #1 has a nice rendering of Gilpin Tram Boxcar by M.J. Mechling 11-28-98 in 3/16" and Vol. 1 No. 4 The Gilpin Tramway article by our own Keith Pashina on pg. 8 :cool:

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Chriss,

Rickard's book on the Stamp Milling of Ores is a nice book, with great illustrations. Thanks for listing the link. I noticed it was on GoogleBooks, but several years ago I purchased it from a dealer as a PDF of CD (forget who it was).

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Some Notes Modeling the Hidden Treasure Mill







The Hidden Treasure Mill would be a very interesting, but challenging, mill to model. It is quite sizeable, and HO scale, would occupy a space of about 16” x 18”. On a model, there are the main tracks to Black Hawk that cross under, and perpendicular to, the upper spur entering the mill for unloading ore. On a model layout, building two levels of track in this configuration takes up a lot of space, and I have never figured out how to build this mill into one of my layouts. Maybe one of you readers can include this mill in yours.
 
Studying the photos provides a lot of interesting details, which if modeled, would give a mill model a lot of character and interest.









Looking at the previous photo, there are many interesting details to be seen, several of which would add some real charactor to a model. Some of these highlights are flagged in the sketch above




On the west, or creekside of the mill, enlarging the previous photo reveals some interesting details. In the center of the stone wall, is a pair of doors - one large and one short. These doors were used to unload coal from C&S gondolas into the mill. There appears to be a wooden platform that may have swung down to bridge the gap between the doors and the gondola. 



I don't know how the two railroads handled coal loads being unloaded at the mill - the C&S had to spot the gondola here, to be adjacent to the boilers, but then blocked the 2' gauge tram access to Black Hawk. There may have been some informal cooperation between the two railroads to keep the traffic flowing!




At the east end (hill side) of the mill, a large enclosure looms over the mill. This enclosure housed the large waterwheel, used in the spring and other times when there was good water flow. This was an unusually large wheel for the area, and I believe this is an overshot wheel (the water runs onto the top of the wheel, not the bottom, to turn it). This enclosure may be covered with tarpaper - the exterior looks "wrinkly".



Note the water flume entering at the backside on the right. This flume is supported on a spindly trestle.




There are several details here that would bring a model to life.


First, note the very simple wagon bridge over the creek at lower left - mere planks and no guardrails.


Next, note the variety of building construction in the mill, indicating the mill was built in phases. The main mill structure is stone, but the addition on the south side (between the spur and mainline), appears to be a tin clad wood addition. This is neatly painted, and the window trim outlined in white (or other light color). The lean-to like building at right appears to be over wood planks, that may or may not have been painted. This structure was identified as a tailings house - more on that later, when I'll discuss ore processing.


Third, note the clutter around the mill. There are timbers, what look like boxes and barrels, and other unidentified items.


Last, note the doorway at the southwall of the stone building - there is a wooden entryway built out from the wall, probably to help block the cold winter winds out of the warm and moist mill interior.











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Another look at the south wall of the Hidden Treasure Mill. There is a brick chimney on the roof - this would have been for a coal-burning stove to help heat the interior. Also, the roof has several small skylights.


The mill interior was a busy, cluttered space. This photo was taken when the mill was at peak production, and at least 50 stamps are visible - it was reported that this mill had 75 stamps at one time, later reduced to 40, then finally 10.

In front of the stamp batteries are amalgamating tables and Gilpin County Bumpint Tables.

So what does all this stuff do in a mill? What is the machinery's purpose, and how was the raw ore processed into a concentrate?

That will be the subject of the next group of posts, where we will explore Gilpin County ore processing equipment and processes (and probably in excruciating detail!).

Keith



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Can't begin to imagine the noise level with all those stamps running. Probably yelling into someones ear wouldn't work, Working in there must have been painful--and destructive to hearing very quickly.

Herb

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WHAT DID YOU SAY??
Jose.

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Eh?? I can't hear you - the darn stamp mill is running

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Can anyone recommend a kit I could bash or a ready to run models of the Gilpin Tram ore cars in HOn3? After a lot of searching I'm thinking I may need to scratchbuild, and I'm not sure I'm up to par in that area yet, as I've been out of modeling for far to long, a kit is reasonable for my current skill level.

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Chriss,

I would check with Railway Recollections (http://www.railway-recollections.com), and the proprietor is Barry McClelland. He offered cast resin models of the GT ore cars in two versions - the 2nd major phase that replaced the early cars, and the final version, which had an additional horizontal stiffener on the hopper body.

These cars were offered a few years ago, and I am not certain if still available today.

There was another small manufacturer that offered some laser cut cars a few years ago - he was based in California, and the models seemed to have come and gone very quickly - I never have seen one, but they might be worth tracking down.

Keith

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Thank you Keith, I see that all of the dealers listed either no longer carry them or don't have websites, I have contacted Barry directly.

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Keith, An other great posting, this last week on the trip to Gilpin County with the Denver Gang, we were in the area of the Hidden Treasure. later in the day we ended up at the Grand Army. It is getting closer to becoming a very large pile of rocks. Will send you some photos. if you need more photos of the Polar Star i can supply.

Keep up the great work. later..

Monte

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Thanks for that Keith! Barry just replied to me that he still has some early small cars left over, I'm ordering a six pack or them.

And to top that off I just bought my first HOn3 Shay to pull them with. Can't wait to get it. I know it's not quite the prototype model, but finding a nice running Shay in HOn3 with detail like this for under $300 shipped, I couldn't say no. :)

Attachment: IMG_0180.JPG (Downloaded 167 times)

Last edited on Fri Oct 28th, 2016 06:04 am by Chriss H

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Herb Kephart wrote:
Can't begin to imagine the noise level with all those stamps running. Probably yelling into someones ear wouldn't work, Working in there must have been painful--and destructive to hearing very quickly.

Herb


Yes indeed. Even just a single 5 head on fairly soft semi-rotten granite can be heard all over the mine but it's not a piercing sound like a firearm, more a rumbling heavy thump.

Regards, Michael

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Yes please Keith, as much excruciating detail as you can manage.
Stamp head drop rates & heights, ore feed rates, average stamp head wear rates, gpm water feed rates over the tables, in mortar box amalgamation vs table amalgamation results. All the usual simple stuff a miner needs to know !

Great subject, thanks Keith. Regards, Michael

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Salada, the book Keith mentioned and I posted a link here (this thread on Oct, 25) has a lot of this very information. One thing I'm learning is the stamp mills in Gilpin county were slow drop vs. the California method of speedy stamping, the ore in Colorado was amalgamated with a lot of different minerals and hence quite hard to get a good percentage of gold out, until the mining engineers figured out how to slow the stamps down, and use direct quicksilver methods as soon as they crushed the ore finely in the mortar box, to eventually end up with around a 70-74% recovery rate, equaling California's best averages of recovery. In the earlier days of hard rock mining they were stuck at around 40-50% recovery rates, making it almost not worth the effort of digging so deep and hauling the ore out to process.

I'm sure learning a lot about early days of hard rock mining lately.

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Michael,

Rickard's book that Chriss mentioned is a great reference, and I recommend tracking it down. I'll post some information gleaned from that book, and a few other references about milling. This will be an opportunity to either dazzle you with my brilliance, or baffle you with B.S.!  I'm not a mining engineer, and have no connection to that industry, so my interpretations are definitely that of a hobbyist.


DIRE STRAITS!

 

100 years ago today, business was not very good for the Gilpin Tram. This once-prosperous two-footer used to make its owners a profit each year, but those days were fast disappearing. 

 
Whereas 1913 saw a small surplus revenue of $10,238, 1914 was an ominous year – the tramway lost $9,750 on its operations. The troubling trend continued into 1915 – the tramway lost $10,437 that year.  1916 was looking worse yet! 

The prospects for any increase in traffic were none too good, either. By 1916, only the Polar Star Mill in Black Hawk was custom treating ores on a regular basis. Ongoing expansion by the Newhouse Tunnel (which exited over in Idaho Springs, and we know it today as the Argo Tunnel) was now taking over more and more ore haulage from the producing mines in the district. Already, the tunnel had tapped former major shippers on the tramway, such as the Frontenac, Aduddell, Saratoga, Old Town, and others, with more mines being reached each year.
 




What had started out as a European war in 1914 precipitously grown, and now seemingly engulfed the whole world. This impacted mining operations, too. Mining production had started a gradual decline in 1904, and dropped off alarmingly in 1914:
 
Year     Mine Production
1904    $1,707,257
1905    $1,764,283
1906    $1,435,842
1907    $1,283,855
1912    $1,330,796
1913    $1,035,746
1914    $  770,655
1915    $  709,605
1916    $  723,146
 
Bondholders were getting impatient – payments on the bonds were coming due, and where was this money going to come from?
 
So, what will happen to the Gilpin Railroad? Will it survive? Will there be a surge of new traffic and opening of new mines? Time will tell…[url=javascript:emoticon(':bang:', 'images/emoticons/banghead_125.gif')]document.write('[/url]');


Keith




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Thanks Chriss and Keith, from that Internet link it looks as though the book can be downloaded direct, without hunting through lots of obscure book dealers ?

I have a professional/amateur interest as we run our own stamps but nowadays it is almost impossible to find any practical advice, rules etc as to how to actually set up and operate a set. From personal experience there are so many variables, from water flow rate through the 'box' to stamp head (shoe) weight, drop etc. , all of which have an obvious effect on ore particle size and recovery rates. Drop rate is not easily varied because any change of pulley size will often require a different length or altered drive belt (not cheap these days !) and slowing down some prime movers such as water power is much easier said than done without losing Hp. Simultaneous winding and stamping off the same water power source is interesting !

Amalgamation stamping is a total unknown to me as we have never had much gold mining in the UK. The only cyaniding plant I have ever seen is in Spain or the U.S. - so the more detail the better !

Regards, Michael

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Thanksgiving Day is almost over, and I have had a lot to be thankful for. I just got home from a busy day of visiting with family and friends, and popped into my hobby room. I have a lot to be thankful for with model railroading - meeting many friends online at FreeRails, seeing others at local and national narrow gauge gatherings, getting together with other friends in the hobby.

Life has kept me pretty busy the past several weeks, but I did manage to get some of my newer modular sections mated with two of the older sections from the layout from my last house. This gives me a current L-shaped layout, about 6' x 8'. The current setup is very simple - spurs to 6 mines and a runaround track.



The left end is going into Black Hawk, which I am still researching and planning. The right side will go to a fiddle yard, and may be extended across a door and on to the other wall someday.

Keith

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Hi Keith :wave:

The setup looks AWESOME !

Somehow, even from a distance you can see how cool the terrain is !

I love your benchwork edge.
One of the 'wobbleyest' I've ever seen...
...I like it, makes the relationship to the shelf look really natural & random somehow.

Roll on Black Hawk !!

:moose:

Si.

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Keith
Great that were able to extend the layout--but how can you get anything done with those clean, neat work surfaces?

Herb ;)

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Herb, the clean work spaces will be cluttered soon with various projects - it always seems to happen that way. I was doing some scenery work and made a mess, so it was time to clean out the Augean Stables!

Si, thank you for nice comments. It's a challenge trying to recreate the Colorado mountainous terrain on a shelf only 12" - 16" wide. Varying the scenery profile and sloping down towards the front of the layout shelf seems to work for many of the scenes.



This scene is 12" wide, and is basically the corner from leg of the layout to another. This is a freelanced scene on the Gilpin, James Peak & Middle Park Railway, so that's the reason for the water tank. The spur off to the left was originally part of the mainline when this modular section was a part of a different modular layout, and got recycled. I'll probably name the place Martin's Siding, in honor of a fellow narrow-minded friend, and use the spur for loading ore from off-rail mines, and for unloading supplies. The St. Louis Mine appears at the background of this photo. I need to finish up a small area of wood cribbing wall to hold back the hillside, and then this scene will be more or less done.

Keith

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Can anyone here help me out with a question? I am wondering what type of switches (turnouts) were used on the Gilpin Tramway Line, point or stub? And what type of signals they used? I can't seem to find this out in my Gilpin reference books or through photos I have saved.
Thought I posted this earlier today, but after work I checked the forum and couldn't find the earlier post, so I'm trying again, my apologies if it appears twice on FR.
Thank you.

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Chriss...as far as I know it was stubs. And "harp" switchstands also. Hope this is acceptable.

Woodie

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Hello Chriss,

Yes, I agree with Woodie, the Gilpin Tram used stub switches almost everywhere on their own trackage. Where they had dual gauge with the C&S, the three-rail turnouts were point switches. I don't know if the Gilpin Tram or the C&S built the three rail trackage.


A harp switchstand can be seen at far left. Shay #3 is backing down off of the Quartz Hill Branch at Leavenworth Siding, on the south slope of Quartz Hill

The switches were harp switchstands, and where there were three-rail dual gauge turnouts, rotary C&S-style switchstands.  The harp switchstands varied - some had targets, some did not. In the some of the photos, the throw bar is noticeably bent from years of switching cars.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Keith

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Woodie, exactly what I thought and you confirmed, along with Keith.

Thank you both and have a Merry Christmas, happy Holidays to all.

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Trackplanning For The Black Hawk Scene



This is the space I have to model Black Hawk - an 18" wide shelf 7' x 3' long. This will be the main terminus of the layout, where my rendition of the Gilpin Tram will serve 2 or 3 gold ore processing mills, interchange with the Colorado & Southern 3' gauge, have the enginehouse and shops, yard trackage to make up trains, and have a few other spurs to switch.

Easy to model, right? Well, maybe not. There are so many interesting aspects to the prototype Black Hawk, and I have a very limited space, so an initial challenge will be to narrow the list of scenes I will model to just a few that will fit the space that I have.

I have risen to the challenge before, and built 3 different Black Hawk model scenes in prior versions of my layout. Each Black Hawk scene had its pros and cons, but they all were fun to operate.  So, as I plan for my next version of Black Hawk, I'll revisit my previous designs, to refresh my memory, and examine what worked and what didn't work.


This was an earlier version of Black Hawk, set on the lower shelf of a two-level layout. I finished most of the upper level, and roughed in part of the scenery on the lower level, but never did add any more buildings other than the enginehouse.



This is a trackplan of the 2000-era layout, on the lower level. I did not build the sampling works, but built a model of the Rocky Mountain Concentrator instead.  The layout ran pretty well, and was the first layout I built using the then new-to-me Peco 009 flextrack and turnouts.   But, this space was needed for some other family activities (my son's guitar practice and storage area, and I was leaning towards a new shelf layout concept anyway, so it was torn up. It was described in an article in the November 2004 Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette.


About the same time, I sketched up this track plan for Black Hawk, shown above. This was published in a short article in Light Iron Digest, and it was designed for a compact space. I never built this layout, but I think it would have run well if I had.


As I had previously mentioned, I then built a 16" wide shelf layout across two walls of the family room. This photo shows the Black Hawk area, which was 8' long. This is as far as I ever got with scenery on this scene. Like the previous layout, it was built with Peco flextrack and turnouts and operated well.


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This is the trackplan for the 16" wide by 96" long Black Hawk scene. I was able to fit in what I thought were essential elements for the layout:
  • Enginehouse/shops
  • Small yard
  • One ore processing mill + ore chute transfer to C&S
  • Transfer to 3' C&S
  • A spur to the boiler works
  • Turntable, to turn the locos
There was little room for any other structures - Black Hawk would have been painted on the backdrop and represented with building flats. One mistake I made was build the yard  (two runaround tracks), on a slight grade - my rolling stock rolled too freely, and this complicated setting out cars.





Joe Crea drew a much nicer looking trackplan for Black Hawk, and this is part of the trackplan originally published in Railroad Model Craftsman in September 2003.

Here is a view of the Black Hawk yard with some switching work in progress. This scene remained bare, and no other structures were ever added.


I moved in 2005, so parts of the old layout were scrapped, including Black Hawk. I tried out a two-level layout, shown here. Black Hawk was located on the lower level, and part of it is scenicked. The trackage was handlaid with Code 40 rail - it looked good, but a lot of work, too. The corner area was an efficient use of space - I included a wye, and spurs to two industries. I also had plenty of space for the enginehouse and some yard trackage.



Here is my sketch of the lower level of the layout, showing the trackage that was mostly completed. I never finished connecting the two levels, as I became disillusioned with the two-level concept. It seemed that one level was always too high, and the other always too low. Although I could fit double the amount trackage in as compared to a one-level layout, the headaches that came with a two-level layout were not worth it for me.

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Next, I moved again in 2013, and reused some parts of the old layout, but little of the old Black Hawk. So, I started planning for a new scene. Like an earlier layout, the Black Hawk space available was an L-shaped space. Atlas, the model railroad manufacturer, did and probably still does, publish track plans showing ideas for their track line. One layout idea they offered appealed to me - it is shown above, but flipped 180 degrees. The simple to build layout gave lots of switching opportunities and so I studied this idea for a while.



In the same space, I also sketched out several other ideas to see what could be done. One thought was to expand out from the wall, from a narrow L-shaped space to one that projected more out into the room. The plan above was one result. I had the basic trackage I needed for operations, and now more space to depict more of the town buildings.  I started building this layout, but then halted construction. After further consideration, I found that I preferred the simplicity of a narrow shelf, and thereby building the layout in small sections easily worked on at my workbench.


So, I came back to the space shown above - 7' long x 3' wide on a 18" shelf.  This photo shows two models saved - a large model of the Polar Star Mill + ore chutes transfer to the C&S, and a freight supplier (which I called "Clear Creek Supply Co."). I would like to fit these into the scene, but how best to do that and fit some of the other design elements in?

So, any further construction here is temporarily halted until I figure out what to do. One thing that needs to be done is review in more detail the buildings, track, and background that comprise Black Hawk.

In this thread, we covered the enginehouse area, and Martin branch up to the Wheeler and other mills. We then started downstream, towards Black Hawk town, and looked over the Hidden Treasure Mill. But, there is a much, much more to see. In the next several posts, I'll put up more information about "lower Black Hawk" as a modeling subject.

Also, Happy New Year everyone!  This should be a great year for modeling, I think.

Keith



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Happy new year to you Keith. I'm glad to see you back in the modeling "business", Black Hawk with it's connection to the C&S is a great place to replicate. Keep on working, it's great for the soul.

Woodie

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Hi Keith :wave:


Try not to move house too much, it's a real pain. ;)

I've always thought the Polar Star Mill was a really cool prototype, lots of interesting features in one place.

Pleased to see you're gonna work your 5-mooser model of it into the new Black Hawk !

As the boss says ^^ keep on it !

It isn't easy for us modelers to 'hit the mother lode' as far as that 'ellusive' workable-plan goes.

But I know you're in sight of a good un Keith !

Just don't move house for a while !! ;)


:moose:


Si.

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Keith, I don't think I've commented before but I've followed the thread along and the research material has been brilliant. Now I'm having to fit a strap to my bottom jaw which keeps falling to the floor when I look at your actual model making. Absolutely superb and a real inspiration.:2t::apl:

Last edited on Tue Jan 10th, 2017 10:27 pm by slateworks

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Woodie, Si, and Doug, Yes, trackplanning continues, and I'll arrive at a solution soon. Other model activities continue, and I'll post on them as they are completed. Meanwhile... IN ICTU OCULI A Gilpin Tram Farewell
And in the blink of an eye, The Gilpin Railroad was gone! 
100 years ago, the Colorado & Southern Railroad sent a dispatch to the Gilpin Railroad on January 12, 1917,  and the Register-Call newspaper reported that it was
ordering all the tram cars, engines, and the other equipment, to be in the roundhouse of the company, by Monday, the 15th That date ends the control of the line by that company (the C&S), and the transfer of the line to Denver parties, who have bought the road, will be made later. Reports have bee in circulation that the new owners intend to operate the line if then can make it a paying proposition, and if the find to be a white elephant on their hands, the line will be scrapped, and sold as junk.
 
Unfortunately, the tramway could not be run profitably, and the Register-Call reported the $67,000 of company bonds had been sold to Radetsky Brothers of the Colorado Iron and Metal Company of Denver. After various legal proceedings, the final sale was made on June 2, 1917, to the Radetsky Brothers.  Thereafter, scrapping of the line proceeded. By October of that year, trackage had been ripped up back to Chase Gulch, and the final removals to the enginehouse completed a few weeks afterward.
 
Only a few remnants of the Gilpin Tram survived. The three shays, numbers 3, 4, and 5, were sent to Radetsky’s Denver scrap yard potential sale. There they sat for many years, with no buyers, and were scrapped in 1938. Twenty of the Tram’s unique ore cars were purchased by the Iron City Mill, and used to transfer ore from a nearby loading point to the mill. Initially, these cars were hauled by horses, and later an internal combustion engine. Everything else – rolling stock, rail, and machinery were scrapped. 
The Gilpin Tram originally had a bright and prosperous start, when, on December 11, 1887, the first ore shipments were made. The Gilpin Tram was a technological marvel in its day, efficiently reaching many of the major producing mines and reducing shipping costs. The tramway allowed lower-grade ores, formerly not economical to mine, to now be extracted for their ore.  
This prosperous little railroad did not go unnoticed. The Colorado & Southern Railroad recognized the traffic that the tramway could feed them outbound ore and concentrates, and inbound coal and other supplies. Also, new railroad construction to the north (the Denver, Northwestern and Pacific) was threateningly close, and there was talk of building feeder lines north from Central City to reach this standard gauge line. This could not be allowed, and so on June 27, 1906, the Gilpin Tramway Company became wholly owned by the Colorado and Southern. 
But, the mining industry did not stand still. As the mines grew deeper, removal of subsurface water became more of a problem. Innovations in drilling appeared, too, and soon, haulage tunnels from Idaho Springs could be built to reach to bottom levels of many Gilpin County mines, draining the troublesome water, and hauling out the ore. Although many tunnels were started, it was the Newhouse Tunnel from Idaho Springs that reached the mines. 
Ongoing expansion by the Newhouse Tunnel was now taking over more and more ore haulage from the producing mines in the district. Already, the tunnel had tapped former major shippers on the tramway, such as the Frontenac, Aduddell, Saratoga, Old Town, and others, with more mines being reached each year. 
As more mine shafts were linked up, less and less ore was hauled by the tramway. By 1914, former operating surpluses turned into losses. 1915 was no better, and 1916 even worse! The prospects for any future increase in traffic were none too good, either. By 1916, only the Polar Star Mill in Black Hawk was custom treating ores on a regular basis. What had started out as a European war in 1914 had ominously grown, and now seemingly engulfed the whole world. This impacted mining operations, too, and precious metal mining had dropped off precipitously in 1914. 
The handwriting was on the wall – the outlook was poor, and it was time to end operations. So, with very little notice, the Gilpin Tram faded away into history.       

Last edited on Wed Jan 11th, 2017 04:53 am by Keith Pashina

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The end of the line was sad for the Gilpin Tramway. In thinking it over though, I may choose to model a post Gilpin Tramway RR where the economy is improving, and they are branching out and adding more updated equipment. Could be interesting, I'd do the entire Gilpin if I still had my old house with the 2500 sq. ft basement, but now I'm stuck having only a small module or two to place on shelf brackets in my single room.

R.I.P. Gilpin Tram 100 years ago tomorrow (Thursday).

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It's been a busy, but fun winter so far. But, time to get going on my model railroad planning, and along with that, further investigating the what and how of the Black Hawk mills, town, and Gilpin Tram trackage.




The map above shows the remaining portion of the Gilpin Tram route that we'll be looking at. The Part 2 continuation of the Gilpin Tram thread has previously looked at the Fullerton Mill branch, which served the Wheeler, Upper Fullerton, and Brooklyn (Golden Fleece) mills. This thread also looked at the engine house and yard area.  Last we were looking at the Hidden Treasure Mill, a very interesting mill in many respects. 

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Gold Ore Processing in the Black Hawk Area
 
The whole point of the Gilpin Tram was to economically haul gold-bearing ore down to the ore-processing mills located in Black Hawk. The railroad drastically reduced the cost of hauling ores down by horse-drawn wagons. But more importantly, the railroad allowed lower grade ores that had previously not worth enough to justify haulage by wagons to be hauled by rail.
 
Gold ore processing methods changed over time, in part due to changes in the ore chemistry, and in part due to advances in technology. For the time period I am interested in, when the Gilpin Tram operated, the ore handling methods used were similar at the various mills near Black Hawk.
 
During the first mining booms in Gilpin County, the miners were at first encountering free gold near the surface, and when they started pit or shaft mining, were encountering surface ores,  which were for the most part oxidized and easily milled using stamp mills and amalgamating tables. The “Mining and Scientific Press” on December 4, 1921, reported that the first homemade wood stamp mill was built in 1859, and a later that year a “modern” imported 3-stamp plant was erected. This technology took off fast, and there were 60 stamps in operation by 1860. But, as the mines deepened, the ore chemistry changed to containing more and more sulphides compunds. This was a disaster at the time. While the milling practices had been able to recover as much as 75% of the gold formerly, the same equipment did not work well on the deeper sulphide-containing ores, and the recovered gold contents at the mills dropped precipitously, to 30% or less!


The above section shows what could be considered a typical stamp mill for precious metals - at least as far as we modelers are concerned. However, the typical mill, one that cascades down the hillside, was not that common down in the Black Hawk area
 
The solution to the previous milling problems was studied by several ingenious inventors and tinkerers who eventually developed a modified process that was customized for the Gilpin County gold-bearing ores. These processes are more technical than what I, a non-mining type person, can fully understand. And, since my interest is a hobby, not professional, I cannot nor do I need to know all of the intricacies of how the ore was processed. However, what I am interested in knowing is:
 
·       Basic knowledge of how ore was processed, so I can understand how the mills were laid out and constructed, and,
·       What machinery was inside the mills, so I can build models of it
 
So, with some simple parameters set, let’s look at the how and why of the gold ore processing milling practices near Black Hawk.
A disclaimer: I will greatly generalize, and simplify, this discussion. I know several regular FreeRails readers have mining backgrounds, so if any of you would be kind enough to offer more detail and information, please do so!


In previous posts, we looked at the Hidden Treasure Mill. This mill had many interesting features that would make a fascinating model. We will look at this mill even closer, because several mining and technical publications in the early 1900s also provided a lot of information about how this mill operated.


This is a somewhat modified excerpt from an 1895 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map. This map was apparently drawn when the mill had grown to 75 stamp heads. This was a drastic enlargement from its earlier history, and in later years, was modified further


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ORE PROCESSING IN THE HIDDEN TREASURE MILL - AN EXAMPLE

This image shows a very simplified flow chart of how ore moved through the Hidden Treasure Mill. This could be considered a snapshot in time, because the process evolved over time, as ores changes and the equipment or flow of ores needed to change. This flow chart represents the mill when it was at its peak production, and about the time most photos were taken of this mill
The first step was to unload the ore, and get it ready to feed into the stamp mill. In most cases, this consisted of dumping Gilpin ore carloads directly into ore bins, or sometimes into piles on the mill floor.  The ore had already been sorted out at the mine, and only ore with good values would have been shipped by rail. Some pieces were too large for the stamp mortar opening, so these were broken into smaller pieces using mauls and sledge hammers. From what I have read, no mechanized crushing was used here, such as jaw crushers, as used in other mining districts.  
The basic idea of a ore-processing mill is to break down the raw ore into smaller pieces, to liberate the gold (and other metals) and somehow concentrate it so it can be sent to a smelter for final processing. As we mentioned before, conventional stamp mills did not work well on the ore with higher amounts of sulphides. The technological breakthrough was the “Gilpin county stamp mill”. At first glance, it looks like a conventional stamp mill: 5 stamp heads lifted by tappets and grabbers, a mortar box the ore is crushed in, and a big wheel for the belt drive. But, the big differences are: 1) the stamps were lighter and dropped much slower and 2) the mortar box deeper and larger.


One piece of equipment you rarely saw in a Black Hawk mill was a jaw crusher, such as shown above. Although common in mills in many other districts in Colorado, these crushers were generally not needed at the Black Hawk mills. Each mill seems to have a customized set of equipment and ore handling methods, and no two seem to be alike. But, there seems to be an exception to every generalization that I make, so a few of the mills did have jaw crushers!  That said, labor was cheap, and hand breaking-up of ores and shoveling of ores was the preferred practice


Just for fun, I included this photo of a modern-era jaw crusher, from above. Note the electric motor at right - not common at the era I model, the early 1900s. The ore feed was from left to right, and ore slid down the chute at left into the top of the jaw crusher at center


Here is the "guts" of the Hidden Treasure Mill - the large bank of stamp mills - at least 50 stamp heads are visible here, and there were 25 more not shown in the mill not shown in this photo!  One thing that strikes me in these and other photos are the crowded nature of the mill - there is a lot of machinery, walkways, launders, belt drives and structural members all over the place. This would be a challenge to model, but very rewarding if pulled off correctly!










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These stamp mills were fed by hand-shoveling the ore in the rear (ore bin side) of the stamp mill. From what I have been read (and told by those individuals who would know this stuff), no mechanized ore feeders were used in the Black Hawk mills.
 This is a flow chart I used in a presentation the 2014 Narrow Gauge Convention, and shows part of the ore handling methods. The stamp battery (the stamp mill machine in side the stamp mill building - whew! confusing, isn't it?) was probably the most important part of the mill. This machine did two critical steps, and until alternative crushing methods became more popular, this was the "Gold Standard" process (sorry, I couldn't resist the pun)


This is what a Gilpin County stamp battery looked like. This restored example sits in front of the Gilpin County Historical Society Museum in Central City. Note the gear drive on this mill (some had wooden bull wheels)


This image is representative of a stamp mortar battery - a cast iron box where amalgamation and crushing took place. These objects were heavily built to withstand the crushing forces and vibrations


Each stamp mill had 5 stamps each, and stamp mills were ganged up to attain whatever capacity the mill needed to handle. So, the Wheeler Mill had 40 stamps, meaning they would have had 8 stamp mills inside, and the Hidden Treasure Mill had 75 stamps – 15 stamp mills, at its peak production.
 
The stamp mills did vary, depending on each mill’s preferences. Some representative sizes were:
·       550# - the weight of each stamp head
·       18” – the drop height of each individual stamp head
·       30 – number of drops per minute
·       18” – depth of the mortar box
 
By enlarging the mortar box and slowing down the stamping, the ore was crushed to a smaller size, and stayed longer inside the mortar box, Unlike other stamp mills, that just crushed the ore, the Gilpin county stamp mill also used amalgamation inside the mortar box. The ore was gradually crushed and churned around in the mortar box by the stamps, along with the mercury. Some of the gold consequently adhered to the mercury that was on the amalgamation plates, and was cleaned off later. The remaining ore, after some time, eventually was small enough to pass out through the exit screen, and on to the third step of the process – more amalgamation tables.


The rear of a stamp battery - the narrow slot is where the ore was shoveled in, by hand, of course


The "front" of the stamp  battery - although slightly ajar, you can see the screen at the front of the stamp battery - the ore had to be crushed very fine to pass through the small sieve openings




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One thing to note - I have been told by knowledgeable people in the mining industry that mechanical ore feeders, such as shown here, were not used in the Black Hawk mills. This innovative machine was tied to the action of the stamp hammer cams, and mechanically get ore into the small slot at the rear of the stamp battery

This is a side view of mechanical ore feeders, not common in Black Hawk, but used elsewhere. These two photos were taken at the Argo Mill museum display in Idaho Springs
So, so far we have seen the crushing machinery and first steps in ore processing. But, there is a lot more going on inside a mill. Next, we'll at what happens next in the flow through the mill.
Keith



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Ore Processing: Amalgamation Tables and Blankets

A view of two stamps, with amalgamation tables in from of the stamps. I think parts of the mortar boxes have been removed here - normally, a narrow slot with a screen would be in front of the stamp heads
After crushing the ore in the stamp mill, a common practice was to run the mixture of finely crushed ore and water over first amalgamation tables, and then (but not always) blankets.
 
Amalgamation, at least as used in the Black Hawk mills, refers to the amalgamation of mercury with gold (and sometimes other precious metals).  This basically involved preparing the amalgamation table  and plates. As mentioned before, the stamp mortar box was used for both crushing and amalgamation. The stamp mortar box typically had copper plates at the front and rear of the mortar box. In front of the stamp mill, the amalgamation table was more or less a wooden or metal trough, with copper plates. Mercury would be applied by workers spreading it out with wooden paddles – the mercury would adhere to the copper plate.  Mercury was a consumable item – one source reports about 1/5 ounce of mercury was consumed per ton of ore stamped. Although most of the mercury was recovered and reused, some just “disappeared” out the mill – into stamp wastes or into Clear Creek.
 
When the slurry mixture of finely crushed ore and water ran across the mercury, the free gold, that is, gold not chemically bound to other minerals, would adhere to the mercury.


This amalgamation table is a display at the Western Museum of Mining in Colorado Springs

After passing over the amalgamation tables, some mills also had “blankets” – these were exactly what you think they were. A typical “blanket” was strips of 18” wide by 36” long strips attached to a sloping wooden table. The slurry ran across the blankets, and some of the amalgam which escaped from the amalgamation table was collected in the blankets. In the Hidden Treasure Mill, these strips were removed and washed of the amalgam every 4 hours. In a model, these would probably look similar to an amalgamation table, although I have never seen a photo of one.
 
 
Periodically, the stamp mill would be stopped, and workers would scrape off the amalgam – the mercury and gold mixture from the amalgamation table and mortar box.



An amalgamation table on display at the Argo Tunnel and Mill in Idaho Springs


The amalgam was collected, and then put into a retort oven or pot, where the amalgam was slowly heated until the mercury began to boil off. This was an extremely hazardous process – mercury vapors are poisonous. The sealed-off retort vented into a long tube, which was cooled by water. The water quickly cooled and condensed the mercury, which was collected and reused on the amalgamation tables and stamp mortar boxes.
 


Inside the retort oven/pot, was a “sponge”  was left inside the retort. The sponge was the gold, but with a spongy like structure, from where mercury had been boiled off. The heat was not sufficient to melt the gold completely. The sponges were collected and locked up, and later melted into bullion bars.






Next, we will look at ore concentrating tables: Gilpin County Bumping Tables, Deister tables, and Frue Vanners.


Keith

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The inside of the Hidden Treasure Mill, showing the stamps and amalgamation tables at the rear, with a line of Gilpin County Bumping Tables in front, used to concentrate the ore's metal content further
CONCENTRATING TABLES
 
After moving through the stamp mills, amalgamation tables and mortar boxes, and blankets, the ore slurry moved to concentration equipment.
 
For the time period I am interested in modeling, a limited amount of processes were used to concentrate the ore.  In later years, that is, after about 1900 or so, other processes were introduced into the area mills.
 
The Black Hawk mills favored a concentrator called, naturally enough, the Gilpin County Bumping Table.  If you’re familiar with gold panning, you basically separate the gold particles from the sands and gravel by agitating a mixture of rocks and water. The lighter density quartz and other minerals wash away first, leaving the heavier gold behind. The bumping table used a similar concept, although mechanized.

Generally, a Gilpin County Bumping Table was like a gently sloping metal sluice flat on the bottom. Ore slurry was introduced at one end of the table, and it was bumped back and forth (front to back), about 1 ½ to 3 inches 2 to 3 times per second. The bumping action moved the heavier gold particles up the slope to the front of the table, and the water would wash the lighter particles down to the bottom of the table. This table was developed and manufactured locally, and doesn’t seem to have very popular outside of the county.
 
Photos of mills show that 2 or more tables were paired with each stamp battery. The Hidde Treasure Mill, for example, had 20 tables, in 10 groups of 2. Modeling these tables would be a challenge, as to my knowledge no commercially made kits have ever been offered by anybody. However, these tables are also a key, distinctive feature in almost any of the mills, and worthy of being modeled.

Another concentrator used alongside the Gilpin County Bumping Tables was the Frue Vanner. This machine was first manufactured in the 1860s, and introduced in the Black Hawk mills in the late 1800s.  The term “vanner” comes from the word van, which means to wash ore on a flat shovel. The Frue Vanner differed from a bumping table, in that there was a gently sloped continuous belt shaken from side to side (whereas a bumping table was bumped back and forth).  Some sources say a large vanner was about 14’ long by 9’ wide and sat about 5’ tall, and the belt itself about 4’ wide by 12’ long. A smaller vanner had 4’ wide belt. The table was shaken side to side about 1”, and the belt rotated and moved about 3’ per minute. The lighter, non-metal waste separated to the top and was gradually washed away, and ore concentrate stayed on the table, moved to the end of the table, and was collected.


 Above, a Frue Vanner


Another popular concentrator was the Wilfley table, invented in western Colorado in the late 1890s. The table shook back and forth, and a series of riffles on the surface aided in separating light waste rock from heavier mineral concentrates. Probably more common in other mining districts, some Black Hawk mills did use them. This is good news for modelers, because kits have been offered in O and HO scales, and maybe others, too.




 
Yet one other concentrator used was Deister table. This was used in some mills, and looks similar to Wilfley or other tables. There is a side mechanism that actuates the shaking action, where Wilfley tables seem to have this mechanism on the narrow end. To model one, perhaps a Wilfley table kit could be used.
 




`Remember, I am greatly simplifying the explanation of how the mills worked, but for my purposes, I really don’t need to know all that much, just enough to make a plausible model. Although there are many very technical methods and adjustments going on in a mill, miniature models, at least in the smaller scales, don’t need to show all the nuances.

There is a lot more going on in the mills, and we’ll look at some of the other machinery next.


Keith

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Thanks Keith for the detail on ore processing at Blackhawk. 


It is interesting that Blackhawk developed differently than the most of the other "Colorado" mining areas and that the mill layout and equipment was significantly different. 


Your explanation of how some of this stuff works is some of the best I've seen (and I've read a few of the older ore processing books that I've picked up at old book marts or online). You have probably got enough stuff on both of your Gilpin threads here for a history Doctorate. 
Well done and please keep the updates coming, 

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Thanks everyone for the nice comments on this discussion. It's been a while since I posted, so here we go again...


A SUMMARY OF MILLING PRACTICES USED IN BLACK HAWK
 Example of the stamp heads with the front screen in the mortar box removed. This stamp mill display is actually in Leadville but the Gilpin County mills were similar


In the previous posts, we looked at the most visible and well known processes in a stamp mill:
 
·       Initial crushing and ore handling
·       Stamp mill crushing and amalgamation
·       Amalgamation tables and blankets
·       Mechanical ore concentrators – Gilpin County bumping tables and others
·       Secondary mechanical ore concentrators – Frue vanners
·       Mercury retorts for initial amalgam processing
 


But, there is a lot more to ore processing, we’ll look closer at some equipment. Remember, our goal here is to learn enough to understand the basic processes and build plausible models. There are an awful lot of technical issues that were considered by the mill operators that we can skim over – partly because it doesn’t matter in the models and partly because I, a non-mining engineer, wouldn't understand anyway!
 


Most of the gold ore flowed through the mill in linear process: crush, amalgamate, concentrate, and process concentrates. But, there are always exceptions, and Black Hawk mills were all similar, yet no two were fully alike.
 


Cross-section of a common stamp mill in the western United States - but, as will continue to see, mills configured like this one were the exception, rather than the rule, in Gilpin County




From the 1917 Economic Geology report on Gilpin County, a comparison of Black Hawk mills then operating shows nine of the fifteen then-operating miils used a combination of stamps, amalgamation plates and tables, and either Gilpin County Bumping Tables or Wilfiey tables:
 
·       Brooklyn Mill (used jigs, too)
·       Buell Mill (in Mountain City)
·       Eagle Mill
·       Fifty Gold Mines Mill
·       Hidden Treasure Mill
·       Polar Star Mill
·       New York Mill
·       Randolph Mill
·       Wheeler Mill
 


There were four other mills that operated in the 1800s and earlier in the century, but were not in operation at the time of the 1917 report. I don’t know for certain what all the equipment used, but the Sandborn Fire Insurance maps seem to suggest these used stamps + amalgamation + bumping tables or similar equipment:
 
·       Kimber & Fullerton Upper Mill
·       Meade Mill
·       Golden Gilpin Mill
·       Rocky Mountain Concentrator
 


There two other mills that used this equipment in 1917:
 
·       Frontenac (Iron City) Mill (Stamps, Amalgamation, Callow cone thickeners, trommels, jigs, Flood classifiers and Card & Deister tables)
·       Clear Creek Mining & Milling Co. Mill (Wilfley tables, Frue vanners, bumping tables, and canvas tables)
 


So, we’ll next look at what happened in the mills to further concentrate the ores after they passed through the stamps, crossed the amalgamation tables, and ran through the bumping tables and Wilfley tables.


Keith

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I can't imagine just how loud it would be inside a stamping mill (especially one with 70+ stamps running), not to mention outside in a house next door! All the equipment looks very loud, even the wiffley tables.

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I'm pretty sure this PDF has not been mentioned by Keith or any other poster in the first Gilpin Tram thread #1. It is an interesting, but dry document, on The Gilpin Tunnel Corridor from 2009, put out by the County of Gilpin, CO to study feasibility of historical properties. Lots of photos of some of the older still standing homes and buildings along the Gilpin Railroad area.
http://www.co.gilpin.co.us/Auxiliary%20Advisory%20Boards/Historical%20Society/Gilpin%20Tunnel%20Rail%20Corridor_Final%20Report_SWCA.pdf
I tried to attach it but it's size is just a tad too big at 5.7MB.

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Chriss,

Thank you for posting that link to the northern Gilpin County historic document. It seems to be a private consulting firm's report on a survey on potential historic properties along the former Denver & Salt Lake Railroad, where it traversed northern Gilpin County. Lots of detail there on several very interesting structures.

Also, the noise in a mill must have been terrific. There are accounts of the constant rumbling in the background that residents heard - it became a part of the normal background noise, and would wake people up if the mills stopped. I saw a demonstration of a 5-stamp stamp battery at the Western Museum of Mining (near Colorado Springs). That single stamp battery was very loud!

Keith

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The inside of the Iron City (Frontenac Mill), showing Deister tables - a piece of equipment similar to, but differing from the more-commonly used Gilpin County bumping tables and Wilfley tables


More Ore Concentrating Equipment


Now, we’ll take a short look at what happened in the mills to further concentrate the ores after they passed through the stamps, crossed the amalgamation tables, and ran through the bumping tables and Wilfley tables. To make some generalizations, ore concentrates were handled by a variety of secondary concentrating processes, and the equipment used would make some very interesting models.
 
In my previous post on March 14, 2017, I listed the mills operating in 1917 – most used a simple combination of stamps, amalgamation plates and tables, and either Gilpin County Bumping Tables or Wilfiey tables, Only two mills at that time did anything different. However, the 1917 report is merely a “snapshot in time.”  Many of the mills evolved in their processing over time – we have already seen that in the Hidden Treasure Mill. This seemed to happen in many of the other mills also. So, when modeling an ore mill, I will need to select a particular year if I really want to be that accurate.
 
When the ores were crushed, there was a fine line between crushing the ore not enough or too much. If not crushed enough, the particles were too large to adhere to the mercury on amalagamation plates or separate easily on bumping tables. If the ore was crushed too fine, the slimes (fine particles suspended in water), would pass over the amalgamation equipment and bumping tables. It was inevitable that some particles would be very fine, and this one reason why secondary concentrating processes were also used at many mills.

The secondary concentrating equipment generally seemed to include three types of machinery:
 
1.     Concentrating tables or jigs
2.     Gravity separation in tanks or buddles
3.     Additional grinding equipment to rework the ores




The Card concentrating table for slimes - used in the Iron City/Frontenac Mill and others
More on Concentrating Tables 
To further concentrate the finely crushed ore particles, there were many different options available. Sometimes, a second group of Gilpin County bumping tables would be used. Wilfley tables were sometimes used, as well as Frue vanneers, Card tables, and Deister tables. All of these tables operated in a similar fashion – a bed with small ridges was bumped, shaken, or vibrated when the ore slurry passed over it. Often, the speed, ridge size, slope, etc. were customized for a certain size ore particle and specific sources of ores. This doesn’t really matter to me much – I care more about what the machinery looked like and its general location within the mill.
 
To me, all of these equipment looks similar, varying in size and general layout of operating drive wheels, gears, and movement arms. WIlfley tables are the only concentrating equipment I have seen offered as kits in my scale, HO, but I think they have been offered in O and maybe S, too.
 
I probably need to create a master for Gilpin County bumping tables, and either cast a few in resin, or print in 3D.


The Deister table was another type of concentrator used in some Black Hawk mills. This company is still in business manufacturing equipment for the mining industry




Example of a jig - this type may or may not have been used in Gilpin County mills. This type had a metal ore working box
Jigs

I haven’t mentioned the other concentrating equipment group yet – jigs. These machines took the ore slurry, and agitated it in water with added chemicals. The chemicals were oils or oil-like compounds, and the agitation produced an oily froth to which gold particles adhered. The froth was skimmed from the top by the jig to collect the gold. Think of a washing machine type apparatus and you have the general idea.

What is interesting from a modeling point of view is that the jigs look like large square tubs with wheels and gearing on top. I have never seen these offered in kit form, but these would be relatively easy to model. Again, probably a candidate to cast in resin or print in 3D.
 


Another type of jig - this type has a lower wooden box. From remnants of jigs I have seen in Gilpin County, I think this type was more commonly used than the metal box type shown in the preceding photo. This wooden box type could be scratch built with some effort - I don't know how common the elaborate cast iron bracing shown was - the examples I have seen, although more modern, were much simpler
The next group of concentrator equipment were those that used gravity to separate out the heavier gold and other metals from the lighter crushed minerals. This will be my next post.


Keith

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Nope, I lied!

After I typed the last post, I realized I had forgotten to show any contemporary photos of jigs. 



This schematic is from the 1907 Colorado Iron Works Catalog, and shows the general arrangement of how a wooden box jig was laid out - this one would have been belt driven from a central steam or electric engine

These mostly intact jigs are on display next to the Couer D'Alene Mine, a restored historic display in Central City

Joe Crea and I were exploring the Pittsburg Mine and Mill (just south of Central City), and at the bottom of the ravine are some jigs. This particular one is badly decayed, but it shows that most of the jig was of wood construction, with some fairly basic metal parts - making jigs relatively easy to model

This is the inside of a jig box at the Pittsburg Mine and Mill. The metal drive mechanism and agitating equipment have been removed. In a model, you don't need to model what's going on inside the jig, since it would be filled with slurry anyway
Keith

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Really good stuff Keith!
..
I'm waiting for the HO scale models from http://www.westernscalemodels.com to begin selling all those neat detail parts of a stamp mill, they've had the O scale parts done for awhile now. The detail bits they have look great. They should really jazz up my models!

With your information it will help greatly in recreating a believable mill interior.

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Now, we'll conclude the overview of Black Hawk milling machinery, with a look at some more of the secondary concentration and cleanup equipment.
Concentrating tables and jigs were looked at in my previous posts. So, to better capture the slimes, the too-finely crushed ore particles, other processes included gravity separation in tanks or buddles, and the use of additional grinding equipment to rework the ores.
 




BUDDLES
 
Buddles were commonly used in the Black Hawk mills, at least in the early years. Buddles were of two types – stationary and revolving. The stationary types basically ran the slime or slurry down a small trough, to the top of a cone-shaped table. The cone evenly distributed the slurry out into a shallow square or circular box (both were used). Some buddles were small, perhaps 8’ x 8’, but could get larger – some districts used buddles up to 16’ diameter, but I don’t know if this was used in Gilpin County. Gravity separated out the heavier metal particles from the lighter sand-like materials – the lighter sands spread out near the perimeter, and the heavier particles near the center. Once the shallow box was filled, the valuable concentrate was hand-shoveled out, and then the sands shoveled out and disposed of. Very labor intensive, but also very simple, too.  This equipment hasn’t been offered as kits, but it wouldn’t be that hard to scratchbuild, either.
 


Slime tables differed from buddies - the separated sands and concentrating were washed off, whereas a buddle collected the material inside the box or tank. Every so often, the flow was stopped, and the waste and concentrates hand-shoveled out




The above view shows a Callow cone inside the Frontenac/Black Hawk mill. A simple piece of equipment, easy to model. Also, note the electric motor and belt drive - this mill was a modern operation!


Remnants of a cone classifier by the Pittsburg Mill (about 1/2 mile south of Central City)
TROMMELS AND CONES
 
The next refinement was to mechanize the shallow conical table, so that it slowly spun clockwise while the slurry was run down over its center. By shallow, I mean the table sloped about 1½” per foot, and speeds were very slow, between 1 rotation per minute to 1 rotation per hour! Buddles would be a piece of equipment easy to model.
 
Other equipment used, particularly at the large Frontenanc/Iron City Mill, were cones and trommels.
 
Cones were similar to a funnel, and separated out heavier particles from lighter particles. Trommels were essentially a cylindrical rotating screen. This equipment would be interesting to model, although I have no idea how I would build a trammel in HO – trying to model realistic sized screen would be tough. I have seen no commercial models offered for this equipment.


Example of trammel

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Rod mills inside the Frontenac/Iron City Mill. Not available as a kit anywhere, but it wouldn't be hard to scratch build models off one




Another illustration of a rod mill
FINE CONCENTRATING/GRINDING
 
To also get the ores to a uniform size, and smaller than what stamp batteries and jaw crushers would provide, other crushing and grinding equipment was used – this was not all that common in the Gilpin Tram era, and seems to be a “modern” technology that came in in the 1900s. The large Iron City/Frontenac Mill did have this equipment, and maybe others did, too. Three types used were:
 
·       Ball mills
·       Rod mills
·       Chilean or Huntingdon Mills
 
Ball mills are a horizontal rotating metal cylinder, filled with large metal balls. As ore slurry is fed into one end, the gradual grinding action crushes the ore to a fine sand or powder like consistency.  Rod mills were also horizontal metal cylinders, but filled with metal rods, similarly crushing the ore.  The type of mill, speed of rotation, etc. were generally customized to the ores being processed at the time – there didn’t appear to be one universal standard.
 


A small ball mill, Russell gulch area


Once ore was concentrated further, where it went next for processing depended on the ore’s chemistry and mill practices. The concentrates might be run through more bumping, Wilfley, Card or other tables, or vanners, or jigs, or… From my limited reading, it seems sometimes one bumping or Wilfley table would be set up to process one very limited size of concentrate, and paired with that would be another one for the next smaller size, and so one. So, there could be multiple lines of concentrating tables lined up in a mill. Some photos seem to show two levels of tables, one row above the other, to do this.
 
But, not all ore went back onto tables, some of it, again depending on the mill and its practices, went onto final grinding and amalgamating.




A ball mill, this one with a conical shaped end

The inside of a partially dismantled rod mill - protective plates lining the metal barrel have been partially removed, and so have the steel rods that rolled around and crushed the ores

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Another grinding piece of equipment used were the Chilean and Huntingdon Mills. The Chilean mill had three heavy metal wheels grinding ore at the bottom of the pan. Huntington mills worked similar, but the wheels were horizontal rather than vertical as in the Chilean mill.
 
I have not seen commercial kits for any of this grinding equipment, but it would look great in a mill, or as a flatcar load.




A Chilean Mill on display at the Couer D'Alen Mine at Central City




This top view of a Chilean Mill, this one at South Park City near FairPlay, showing how slurry and slimes were fed into the top of the mill






A Huntington Mill worked similar to a Chilean Mill, but the grinding wheels were set horizontal, not vertical. I have seen a dismantled Huntington Mill on top of Quartz Hill, and may have been part of the Chain-O-Mines operation that came along after the Gilpin Tram quit running




A Denver Quartz Mill was similar to a Chilean Mill - the outside tank cover has been removed in this add, and shows the machinery mechanism clearly
CLEANUP AND AMALGAMATION
 
Other equipment used in some districts, maybe Gilpin County, were cleanup pans – these seem to be smaller than Chilean Mills, and either dragged flat stones around a circular pan, or heavy wheels, to further grind the ore concentrates.
 
The ore concentrates, after grinding to the right time, mercury was added to amalgamate with the gold and other metals. After working further, the water and waste was drained off, the amalgam collected, strained, and then sent off to the mercury retort to gather the metals and recycle (most of) the mercury. I think some manufacturers in the past have offered clean up pan kits. Currently, Wild West Scale Model Builders offers a kit of a horizontal one in multiple scales.
 
 
These mills were used as one of the final processes of finely ground concentrates, used to work on the material that the previous amalgamation tables, blankets, bumping tables, and others couldn’t trap.
 
FINAL CLEANUP
 
So, that will wrap up my brief, simplified explanation of how the Black Hawk mills processed ore in the era the Gilpin Tram ran. This over-simplified explanation has been kind of like saying you fly a rocket to the moon by pointing the nosecone at it and lighting the rear end!  But, models of this stuff don’t actually have to do anything – they just need to look plausible, and I hope my discussion here has helped with that.
 
I’ll next post some more thoughts on the mill buildings themselves, and then get back to a detailed mill-by-mill look at Black Hawk and the Gilpin Tram trackage.


Keith

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Keith, I have to say this is an ongoing and fascinating education on a subject I knew nothing about until I found your thread Mks.1 and 2. Superbly researched and presented.

Last edited on Sat Apr 1st, 2017 06:36 pm by slateworks

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Some Thoughts On Mill Interiors & Modeling Them



An example stamp mill (not Gilpin County), showing the typical design that descends down the hillside to take advantage of gravity, and general building framing, belt drive, and machinery locations
As I prepare to start modeling some ore processing mills for my Black Hawk scene, I thought I would review some of various parts of the overall mill interior that would help make a convincing and realistic model.


Depending on the mill I am modeling, the interior foundation walls might either by laid-up rubble stone, or "modern" concrete. Where modeling concrete, a nice detail is the marks left from the individual boards used to form up the concrete (this photo taken inside the Argo Mill in Idaho Springs)



This photo shows a Wilfley Table in the Santiago Mill near Waldorf on the Argentine Central. Two things jump out at me in this photo - first, note that the floor is dirt, not wood or concrete. Second, notice all of the various piping and launders (small flumes) serving this table. 



Next, here is the Mendota Mill in Silver Plume. This is an example of a small mill, and the overall design is ratter flat, not cascading down the hillside, and maybe this building shape is more typical of the mills in Black Hawk.  Also, I like the weatherbeaten look of the metal siding




This image was taken inside the Western Museum of Mining near Colorado Springs. This is a very important, and fun thing to model inside a mill model - the overhead belt drive that would serve the stamp batteries, bumping tables, Wilfley tables, and other machinery. Also, note how robust the wood building framing is - the pounding of the stamps was hard on buildings, and they had to be robustly built


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This photo is back in the Santiago Mill near Waldorf. This photo reminds of something Mike Condor told me about mills - they were very dirty inside. The ore crushing, slurries, slimes, and dust eventually coated everything, making machinery, walls, and framing all dirt-covered. The dirt color would be that of whatever ores were being processed - in Black Hawk, that would be a light gray.  So, an excuse to do very heavy weathering inside a mill - that is fun to model!


This was taken inside a modern mill near Central City, and what stands out in this picture is how cluttered the mill interior is. If this was an older mill, there would be belts and belt drive wheels and axles cluttering up the interior even more.  Even though this mill had electric motor-driven machinery, there are still water feed pipes, launders, sluices and flumes, and wooden building framing all over the place. 

This review of photos has reminded me to build models from the prototype, and not photos of other models. I will want to go for the dirty, cluttered, busy look in whatever mill interior I get around to modeling. Looking at past model magazine models, a lot of the models pictured seem to be to barren inside and too clean.



Not all machinery in a mill was massive. This cleanup pan in a modern mill (it was driven by an electric motor) is about the size of an old style clothes washing machine. This could easily be driven by an overhead belt and pulley drive system. Also note the machine and floor are covered in dirt and crud
So, that wraps up my thoughts on mill interiors, and next, we'll continue a review of the mills that existed Black Hawk during the Gilpin Tram era.

Keith


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" Looking at past model magazine models, a lot of the models pictured seem to be to barren inside and too clean."


Hi Keith :wave:


I think you've hit the nail on the head with that.

To get a realistic look...

...I think you're right to look away from many models & study the actual mills.


This is one of the things I really like about Woodies models.

He is 'The Zen Master Of The Industrial Apocalypse Look'. ;)

Purposeful CHAOS is what speaks 'realism' to me.

Pretty difficult for many people to model in my opinion.


Great research photos Keith !

Black Hawk is sure to be a great addition to the layout ! :bg:


:moose:


Si.

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Keith

Just one word--EXCELLENT!


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A new lesson every post thanks Keith. A super piece of illustrated research.

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Keith, I have written this before and will once more...THANK YOU FOR THIS! There is no other place I know of which has this much in-depth information. Not only does this spotlight the Gilpin Tram but anybody wanting to build an accurate model of a mine, mill, smelter, should appreciate the thread. We are indeed fortunate to have you here. And we can always stand more...much more!

Woodie

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Keith,
Fantastic shots and informative writing on the insides of those stamp mills. Looking forward to Aug/Sept Narrow Gauge convention in Denver (about 3 miles from where I grew up). Are you still planning on attending? I will have my pickup truck so a side trip to Gilpin county will be in order!

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Well, it's been fun posting and sharing information about the Gilpin Tram. My previous posts discussed the mill machinery and what generally happened inside the Black Hawk Mills. Now, it's time to continue the intermittent journey down the Gilpin Tram. The previous posts left off at the Hidden Treasure Mill.




THE HUMPHREY AND MEADE MILLS
 
Following Clear Creek downstream, we encounter two more mills that were literally “just around the bend”.  From the Hidden Treasure Mill, the main trackage was dual gauge 2’ and 3’ all the way to the south end of Black Hawk. Along the route, there were some dual gauge side tracks, as well as individual 2’ gauge and 3’ gauge spurs.
 
The next mill that sat next to the Gilpin Tram was the Humphrey Concentrator. This mill seems to have followed a typical practice of the time in regards to milling machinery used in the mine. The 1890 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map refers to a rolls and crusher, sizing screens, 20 stamps, and revolving buddles.  There is not much information I could find out about this mill. The 1890 Sandborn Fire Insurance Map shows a spur from the Colorado Central 3’ gauge to this mill. The 1895 and later Sanborn maps don’t show this mill. Also, I could find no references to it receiving any ore from the Gilpin Tram or by other means. My opinion is this mill closed down probably by the turn of the century.




The Humphrey Mill (also called the Humphrey Concentrator) back when it was operating - not the steam exhaust from the roof vent pipe. Notice that big square stack - we'll see more of that later. This mill apparently never received any ore from the Gilpin Tram




This is the 1890 Sanborn Fire Insurance map showing the Humphrey Mill. Note the 3' gauge Colorado Central spur which served the mill at the time. This seems to have a been a very active mill operation at one time




Here is a later view looking upstream at a high-water Clear Creek, with the C&S bridge. By this time, the Gilpin Tram had shut down and the 2' dual gauge removed. The Humphrey Mill is at the right hand side of this photo. The mill looks inactive, and rather dilapidated by this time




By the 1980s, all that remained of the Humphrey was some foundations and the brick smokestack (which you could clearly see in the previous photos showing the mill when operating). The City of Black Hawk chose to remove this "eyesore" sometime in the 1990s, dug out part of the hillside, and used this space for parking for a while






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This map shows the details of the area around the Humphrey and Meade Mills

The MEADE MILL
Next, we encounter the Meade Mill. The Meade Mill was another mill that was constructed before the railroads were built, and expanded over the years. As the Gilpin Tram was being built, the mill owners modified the mill to put metal sheeting over the wooden ore bins, and had a spur built to serve the elevated bins.   This mill received the first ore loads shipped over the Gilpin Tram, from the Gunnell Mine on December 11, 11887, when six ore cars were shipped to the mill. 

Another incident was reported in 1888, when a runaway ore car in what must have been an exciting accident. The runaway ore car, which had been unloading ore at the Hidden Treasure Mill, ran downgrade to the Meade Mill, where the runaway ore car struck a wooden ore wagon, demolishing it, killed one and injured the other mule, then when on to strike another GT ore car loaded with ore. This collision released the second ore car’s brakes, and the two runaway cars continued on to near the Polar Star Mill, where they struck a UPD&G 3’ gauge boxcar before everything finally came to a stop!




In this pre-railroad photo, the Meade Mill is the building with the smoking stack in the center of this photo. Several additions were constructed over the years on this building
 
The Meade Mill was sometimes referred to as the Fullerton, Gunnell and Kimber and Fullerton Lower Mill as various times. The mill building housed 40 stamps, powered by a water wheel seasonally, and a boiler and steam engine the remainder of the year. There was also a separate buddle house across the tracks.
 
There is a record of 27 ore cars being shipped to the Gunell Mill in September 1906, but that could have been this mill or another operation using the Gunnell name at the time. I could not find any records of any other shipments to this mill after this date.




The 1890 Sanborn Fire Insurance map shows the Meade Mill. The map doesn't show it, but the Gilpin Tram spur ran parallel to the double dashed lines (water flume for water wheel) and dumped into the ore bins




This image shows the Meade Mill, from the creek side sometime in the late 1890s and before 1902. The Gilpin Tram Era Sundance book has a series of three photos taken at about the same time showing more details of this mill. I think this would be an interesting structure to model - I like the combination of stone, wood, and metal-clad walls, and varied roof lines.  Nothing remains of the mill or its site today, due to more recent highway and water drainage construction


Keith








James C.
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New member but have been following this thread. I model the Colorado and Southern in Clear Creek as well as the Rio Grande. This is probably as a result of family trips there as a kid. I will be posting some pictures of the area in the 1960's that my Dad took.
Jim C.

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Hi Keith :wave:


I have been making a model of the Gilpin Tram No.02 snow plow.


Gilpin Tram No.02 Snow Plow - 1:35n2 Model


I've used the 'C&S Folio' drawing, which I'm sure you are familiar with.

I also have 1 fairly poor for detail, but a nice shot, of the plow in action.


I was just wondering if you knew of any other pics. or info on this & the other similar plow they used ?

I've got most of it sorted, but have not much to go on regarding how the blade was fixed to the car body.


I can of course just guess & make something up.

But I thought I'd see if you knew anything more about it.


:moose:


Si.

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Attached are some photos from Nevadaville taken in 1962 I will be adding them as I go along. I have lots more. My Dad was a prolific photographer.








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Really neat looking plow car Si! I love it so far, are you going to throw in a bunch of pig iron, rocks and junk iron weight? That car in particular seems to be pretty elusive in any great resolution photos of the G.T.
What color are you thinking it may have been? One of the things we can't really tell for sure is colors from the old B&W photos of the G.T. era. I guess we can all take some license in our choices somewhat as to prototypical. 
Welcome James C. Thanks for the photos, those are just a couple of years older than me, I think I first went through Gilpin county around 1971 or 1972, but not until the 1980's before I appreciated what was really there. Great photos and thanks for sharing them with us. Not a lot of Gilpin photos show up that are new (er/ish). :Salute:

Last edited on Thu May 11th, 2017 03:26 am by Chriss H

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Here are some more that might be of interest. I wish I had more identifying information. These ones were taken four years before I was born, but I will post some later trips. I also have a two foot gauge tie that was Dad's. I am not sure if it is a tram tie or one from a mine tram. I rember Dad saying that it was from Eureka. Rather this is from the Eureka Gulch on the Gilpin or from Eureka near Silverton. Problem with Eureka that is the SN in this area was 3 foot and I am unsure of any mine trams in the area (it appears that the one there was arial.) To me it looks more like a mining tram tie but perhaps some one who saw a gilpin tie could shed some light on it. L:

Jim C









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This really adds to a marvellous extra record of the era that Keith has been pursuing. I've learned so much from this thread.

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The Meade Mill picture shows something that IMHO is much too regular for cart ruts. Horse tram? But that may be a combination of visual deception and wishful thinking.

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NEVADAVILLE
Wow!  Those are some great photos posted by James. Thank you for sharing these.
One thing that struck me was how Nevadaville's main street has not really changed all that much in the past 55 years.

Compare this picture taken in 2015 to the one James posted on May 10, taken in  1962. The trees have grown up next to the buildings and on Quartz Hill (at right side of photo), but all the buildings are still there and look about the same.  Amazing the town buildings have been stabilized as well as they have.
But, the mine building photos James posted show a lot of interesting structures that are long gone. James' photos show a lot of mine buildings on the north slope of Quartz Hill. Fortunately, the Pozo Mine shaft is still there, and it was partially restored several years ago. But, a lot of the other buildings just "disappeared."



Compare James' photos of Quartz Hill to this image, taken in 2015. The brick smokestacks help identify the location to the photos James posted on May 11.
SNOWPLOW
Si, that's a nice snowplow you're building in 1:35n2. The photo you included with your May 7th post, of the snowplow at the Eureka Gulch water tank, is about it. There are a few more, but they do not definitely show much more detail



This photo shows 2 shays at the snowplow at the Gold Collar Mine spur on the east side of Prosser Gulch. This doesn't show much detail at all, but notice how small this plow was compared to the engiineman standing next to the shay!
So, if you are building a model, I'd say use your imagination as to what looks correct - there will not be any photos to contradict what you build!
MEADE MILL WAGON RUTS
Helmut, I agree that there are very pronounced ruts in that road. However, I think they are just the result of many wagons pounding down a narrow road, where there is little room to maneuver to either side. For example, check out the photo below, showing several ore wagons lined up on a narrow dirt road. I think they would make ruts rather quickly after several passes.  But, that brings up another detail to model for this area - wagon wheel ruts in the road!



Keith






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Hi Keith :wave:


Thanks for the snow plow photo.

I have a copy of that photo, but the resolution is poor.

The one you Posted ^^ above is much better. :cool:

Do you have a better resolution image than mine, of the Eureka Gulch photo ?


What is interesting, which is now a bit clearer from your photo ...

... is the structure right behind the plow blade, at the very front of the car.

I had seen that photo ^^ but thought it must be another plow, maybe No.01


This 'addition' was obviously not on the snow plow, when the C&S draftsman drew it for the 'Folio'.

Judging from the snow piled up at the front & in the Eureka Gulch photo ...

... my guess is this wooden ? structure, was added to stop snow going over the top of the blade.

Looks like a 'shop' add on, to correct what appears to be a problem with the original car.

Seems like the snow was deeper & heavier than the initial design could handle.

The car is very small, as you say Keith, looks like it may have been a bit too small at the front.


I am now quite tempted, to 'guess', & see where possible from the 2 photos, what that addition was.

Funny thing is, when I cut the simple timbers for the model, I thought ...

... hey, I may as well cut TWO sets of parts while I am at it !

There was apparently a snow plow No.01 as well as the No.02

I read that snow plow No.01 was kept at the yard & No.02 was used 'out & about'.


Maybe I could end up with a No.01 & a No.02 L:




- - - - - - -



Hi Chriss :wave:


I think my pig-iron ballast, may well be a load of ol' Gilpin sized plastic wheels I have stashed maybe.

As for colour ... Who knows ... I will go with 'generally grubby' when it his the paintshop ! ;)


Just as a massive guess.

I would think that if paint was used, it would be the cheapest & most weather-proof industrial paint of the era.

If that was a kinda 'oxide' type of colour, that would not surprise me.


Looking at the size of the timbers in the C&S drawing ...

... it very much looks like the timber could well be a typical railroad-tie size.

The cross-section looks about right ...

... and the actual length of the end timbers, could easily be that of a 'normal' 2-foot tie ?

Perhaps the timber was 'treated' if that was done to ties, or maybe not.




- - - - - - -




Hi James :wave:


Thanks for your eMail, telling me of your Fathers photos.

A great document of the area, and great to see them here on Freerails, & in colour as well !!


Both my Father & Grandfather, were prolific photographers also.

It looks like your Fathers photos are 'Kodachromes', which have a good colour permanence to them.

My Grandfather was big on 'Kodachrome' too, My Fathers E6s have not faired so well.


Can't wait to see what you are up to, modeling the Colorado & Southern as well. :bg:



:moose:



Si.



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MORE SNOWPLOW MUSINGS
Si,
I do not have a better photo than the one you linked to showing the Gilpin Tram's snowplow #2.  In fact, it really doesn't show up in photos anywhere else. I think the structure on top of the plow front was some heavy timber (they must have been braced somehow) to increase the plow front. Otherwise, as you pointed out, it was a pretty short plow and not good for plowing any deep drifts. The curved metal blade intrigued me, too - could it have been a cut-down section of a boiler plate?

I wonder what color the snowplow was? It seems a darker color, so I assume it was painted. Perhaps it was regular railroad red or black, or even Tiffany Reefer green ! ;)
There have been posts on the Modeling the Gilpin Tram Thread, Part 1, where other modelers have posted their snowplow models - Woodie Greene in 1:35n2 and Greg Hiley in Sn2 come to mind, and there may have been more. Those may be idea-starters for your model.
Whatever the snowplow was, it had to have been a huge improvement over the previous equipment - pushing the snow with the flat pilot on the shay locomotive, and hand-shoveling the rest!



Keith


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Have some more to post here from that same trip. Most of what Dad did was Kodachrome- unfortunately some weren't. I have scanned over 20,000 slides and still have another 2000? or so to go. We covered much of the Western United States and Canada. I will get some of my Colorado and Southern section of my layout posted eventually- have a bit of work to get it fixed. We just moved to Virginia in September when I took a pastorate here and haven't worked too much on that area yet. Some portions took it bad- the top of my Argo tunnel loading chutes got smashed and I have to fix the trackwork. I have a section that I added onto the narrow gauge too that I haven't even started yet. I am also putting on a couple of ones of the Argo Tunnel from that same set of slides- not Gilpin but since they drained some of the mines on it- does it count?
Jim C.




Jim C.






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Have some more photos of the Gilpin area- these were taken in 1972 but show a little more detail. The camper in a couple of the pictures was Dad and Mom's covered a lot of ground with that thing. I was curious I remember taking a mine tour in Central City this trip as a kid but can not remember much about which mine it was. Any ideas?



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Those are great old pics-good thing you had the foresight to photograph some of the buildings back in the day.

Any chance you know the approximate date they started using the corrugated tin in the Blackhawk area?

Last edited on Mon May 22nd, 2017 01:32 pm by elminero67

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The pics were my dad, Weldon's, work. He was a prolific photographer. So far I have digitized over 20,000 slides and probably have 2-3000 to go.i have photos all over the west. The top one is of my Mom and me- was this a grade for the Gilpin? The one after looks like one of their retaining walls.
Jim C.





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James, thank you again for posting the 1960s photos of the Nevadaville area. The photos are a good study of wood and metal siding weathering. It's also informative to be able to see what the Chain-O-Mines complex looked like 50 years ago, and compare that to the partial ruins still visible today.

CORRUGATED METAL SIDING
In one of the recent posts, Duane asked about when corrugated metal may have been first used in the Gilpin County area. The short answer is - who knows?

Flat sheet metal nailed to wood boards seems to be the preferred siding material on the buildings remaining today, at least the ones that appear to be older, and not 1950s or more recent construction.

This old shed has what looks liked patched or recycled metal siding, and this seems very common to the area
From what I could find, corrugated metal siding was invented in England in the 1820s, and first used in Pennsylvania in the 1830s. But, when did it make its way out to the wild, wild West?  That is where things get murky. I looked at the photos I had from the 1800s of the Gilpin Tram, and so many scenes were photographed with the buildings more in the background, that I had trouble telling if I was looking at flat metal, tarpaper, or something else.  However, there are some things we know.

This photo of the Frontenac Mine would have been taken in the 1890s or early 1900s, so we know the material was in use by that time. The Frontenac mine was added on to over time, so dating the corrugated siding is only a guess

The Quartz Hill (or Egyptian) Mine had corrugated roofing and siding, but again, when was this actually constructed? There is no photographic evidence from 100+ years ago for this building so once again, who knows for sure?


The Gilpin Tram's Quartz Hill depot was built by the early 1900s, and this has corrugated siding. I call this the depot, but this is only a guess - it could have been a mine office for a nearby mine, too. The point is, there is corrugated siding on this building
So what can we conclude from all of this? That once again, there is a segment of Gilpin County for which we know very little, and have to use an educated guess when constructing our models.
I have used a combination of flat metal siding, tarpaper, and corrugated metal on my models, selecting what looks "good" to me, and that works on my layout.

Keith


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James-Those are some great photos.

Maybe someone could help with a question.  Somewhere in my searches on the internet I remember finding a photo of a narrow gauge line running down the middle of a small mining town.  I want to say it was the Gilpin, but I'm not positive about that, and of course I can't locate that photo now.  Can anyone help?

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Hi Keith,
The corrugated siding question has me confounded too.  I did some research and found similar information to you.  Many buildings in Nevada were built out of corrugated siding too.  But from all the known dates, it looks like most were built in the second wave of discovery, mostly around 1900 (Tonopah and the like).  Dated photos from the earlier era (1870s-1880s) just don't show corrugated material, but there are lots of shingle and tar (paper?) roofs.  Maybe some of these were smaller tin sheets as that were popular for fire protection in California.  
 About the late 1800s as kerosene came in, sometimes the square tins were repurposed (flattened) into siding and roofing/shingles.  But, I just can't find much if any corrugation prior to 1900.  Too bad for us early railroad modelers, corrugation is a neat model feature. But I think it was still too expensive prior to 1890s to be used extensively out west.
I really enjoy this forum, thanks for so much information.

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Hi Keith and all,
This corrugated tin question has bugged me for some time.  I was looking through my Nevada Central (Ferrell) book and saw that in the mid-1880s (after 1882 anyway and before 1893 due to the equipment) the Clifton station appears to have had corrugated sheets on the roof!  This depot was probably built not too long after the road was completed (1880) and I don't suppose that they would have replaced the roof that soon after opening the line.  The engine house also appears to have it as well.  So that puts the use in Nevada 10 years earlier than I could find prior.  That's a nice bit of information for me anyway, just thought I would share.
:us:

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Good points on the tin/sheet metal, now I'm curious to look up the Nevada Central book.

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Somewhere I remember reading about freight charges in the 1800s.  For those mining towns without a railroad connection freighting expenses, charges were often by weight, could get rather outrages.  Corrugated tin would probably weigh a lot less than lumber and should have been cheaper to haul.  There are a number of photos where buildings were clad in flat metal, often cut and flattened from discarded metal containers.  In Rhyolite one miner made a house from discarded bottles (whiskey?).

http://www.mikesjournal.com/February%202008/Rhyolite%20Bottle%20House.htm

It would be interesting, and maybe somewhat challenging, to model a bottle house.

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Michael,
On June 8, you asked about a photo you had seen of a small mining town with the railroad running through it. I wonder if you were thinking of this photo, taken in Russell Gulch?


Keith

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Steven, Michael, and everybody,
There is a whole lot to the subject of metal siding - when, what, where? I suppose there were several differences between the mining districts. Digging out the facts, searching through old photos, books, etc. makes this all a fun endeavor.
So, looking one more time at the question of when did the "modern" corrugated iron siding start being used in the Gilpin County buildings?
CORRUGATED METAL SIDING AND ROOFING - REDUX
After posting my thoughts on corrugated metal siding, I heard from Chris Walker, who among many other railroad-related interests, is a big Gilpin Tram fan. Chris wrote to me:
 
“just reading your current discussion… (and) the big mill (later 50 Gold Mines Mill) was built with corrugated siding…(and) the Eagle Mill.
Over in Idaho Springs, the Plutus smelter had a corrugated roof, that was constructed prior to 1891. As for the intent, I'm thinking the less timber available in the Little Kingdom of Gilpin early on, and fire protection led to the corrugated iron being used all over. However, Leadville and Kokomo were still hanging on with the use of boards late, since the vast forests were nearby.”

 Chris also noted the the Gilpin enginehouse roof was corrugated iron.


This image is from the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/fullbrowser/collection/p15330coll22/id/70100/rv/singleitem/rec/128
Chris Walker is very good at noticing details in photos, and bringing out a lot of detail in them. As an example, from the same photo shown above, this enlargement gives this detail:


The corner of the Gilpin Tram's engine house shows it has corrugated iron roofing.
The engine house was one still when first used in 1888, and the second stall was added in 1890. So, the previous photos seem to show there was corrugated iron siding in use in 1890, and maybe earlier.
So, I asked Chris Walker how he could tell corrugated iron from flat tin siding from tarpaper in the black and white photos?
 Chris replied, “
 “.. I'd say that 1890 seemed to be the earliest that the corrugated iron roofing was used, and the mid-1890's maybe for siding (but not necessarily on all buildings). This was a sort of gradual transition until maybe around the turn of the century then taking off in popularity.
Flat steel roofing had a raised joint but looks like seams of tarpaper, so this is very hard to judge unless a close-up of the edge is visible.  Corrugated iron came in short 8ft-10ft(?) lengths so the patterns are different to seamed metal, since the sheets overlap at one length, as opposed to randomness of the roll.  As for viewing flat tin siding vs. tarpaper cladding: the tarpaper seems to me to have wrinkles to define the difference from flat sheet metal, making it more easy to discern.  However, not all photos are clear enough to distinguish."



This photo shows the Iron City Mill, with the then-Union Pacific trackage in front. This photo is from the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, 

http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/fullbrowser/collection/p15330coll22/id/72762/rv/singleitem/rec/54
And, a closeup of the photo shows this roof edge detail:











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Chris Walker noted that the “new” (last) Central City depot was completed in 1899, and replaced a building on the site previously was a metal roofed building. 




 Chris has an extensive post discussing the Central City depot area, on the C&Sng Discussion Forum – it can be found at:
http://c-sng-discussion-forum.41377.n7.nabble.com/Central-City-depot-tp6814p6839.html
And, for more information, this information was also confirmed by Rick Steele, also on the C&Sng Discussion Forum, at:
http://c-sng-discussion-forum.41377.n7.nabble.com/Central-City-depot-tp6814p6864.html
Are you familiar with the C&Sng Discussion Forum? It is a close relative of the C&Sn3 Blog hosted by Darel Leedy (another big Gilpin Tram fan). This site is a must-visit, and has page after page of all things C&S. And, since the C&S also served Black Hawk, there is a fair amount of tram-related material too!  The home page is:
http://coloradosouthern.blogspot.com
 Chris Walker has been a prolific researcher of railroad and mining along Clear Creek. This is quite an accomplishment, considering Chris lives in New Zealand!


Here, Chris Walker and I are exploring the Gunnell Mine dump in 2004. That's the Gold Collar Mine in the background






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Chris Walker and I have gone back and forth by email on this topic, and Chris also linked to an un-named Central City Shafthouse with all corrugated cladding  the mid-to late 1890's pictures (this can be dated by the Central City view showing the uncovered Armory Hall trussed roof and what may be an Union Pacific lettered boxcar in train). 
 
This mine building has corrugated iron siding - another image form the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, at:
http://cdm16079.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/fullbrowser/collection/p15330coll22/id/78903/rv/singleitem/rec/109
 
And a closeup of the same photo clearly shows the corrugated metal siding 
Chris Walker also points out that the Gregory Mill, (later the 50 Gold Mines mill), was built in 1898, mostly of corrugated iron, with the exception of the offices.
Of course, Gilpin County was not that isolated - neighboring Clear Creek County and Boulder County also had extensive mining operations. Chris Walker went to locate a "target-rich environment"  at Idaho Springs, and has identified a wealth of interesting details. An example - over at Idaho Springs, there the State Ore sampler:
 
This is an image from the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, and the link to this photo of the  Idaho Springs sampler is here:
http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/fullbrowser/collection/p15330coll22/id/38884/rv/singleitem
 

Chris Walker notes that on the Sanborn fire maps dated 1895,  and this sampler was noted to be sheathed with corrugated iron.


Continuing to delve into the Idaho Springs, Chris Walker goes on to point out that the Jackson mill was roofed with corrugated iron, and this mill was. built 1896. This is a very interesting building, and a link to the Jackson Mill discussion on the C&Sng Discussion Forum is here:
http://c-sng-discussion-forum.41377.n7.nabble.com/Idaho-Springs-Mid-Town-Ore-Processing-Part-3-tp2512.html
More C&Sng Discussion Forum links show the Dewey Bros. Sampling Works building was  roofed with corrugated iron as well, and this building was built prior to the 1895 Sanborn map.  The link to photos of this and discussion are at:

http://c-sng-discussion-forum.41377.n7.nabble.com/Idaho-Springs-Mid-Town-Ore-Processing-Part-1-tp2053.html






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This image is also from the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection. The link to the Newhouse Tunnel DPL photo:
http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/fullbrowser/collection/p15330coll21/id/4957/rv/singleitem


Finally, the nemesis of the Gilpin Tram,  the Newhouse Tunnel, was also clad with corrugated iron. This building was started in 1893, and Chris Walker notes that the original small Powerhouse had this material. A link to this building is also found on the C&Sng Discussion Forum, at:
http://c-sng-discussion-forum.41377.n7.nabble.com/Newhouse-Tunnel-Boilerhouse-Growth-And-Demise-tp1534p3111.html
 
Chris Walker also pointed out the Specie Payment mine – although not served by the Gilpin Tram, this was a well-known mine in the Clear Creek County area. The photo of this mine is a good example of rippled tarpaper walls with corrugated roofing of many mines.  
 
Another Western History Collection image, showing the Specie Payment Mine. The link to this photo:

http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/fullbrowser/collection/p15330coll22/id/74736/rv/singleitem/rec/357




And, here is a closeup of the same image, showing the "wrinkled" siding - tarpaper


And, a good example of a mine covered with a combination of flat tin sheets, tarpaper, and corrugated iron is the Cook Mine – a prominent producer near Mountain City (between Black Hawk and Central City).
 




Cook Mine, from the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection. Link to photo: 
http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/fullbrowser/collection/p15330coll22/id/39673/rv/singleitem/rec/2
 
So, here has been a more detailed look at cladding of mine buildings in Gilpin County. To recap this discussion, 1890 is about when corrugated iron was used for roofing was used, and by the mid-1890's maybe for siding. This was a sort of gradual transition until maybe around the turn of the century then taking off in popularity. However, there were still many mines with tarpaper, flat tin, wood boards, shingles, or combinations of these materials.
 
Whew! There is a lot to consider here when planning my future building models. And a big thank you to Chris Walker for doing the research to bring us this information!
 
I haven’t forgotten the look at the mills of Black Hawk – it’s just that my real job has been interfering with my hobby again. But, next, I post about the C&S transfer area, ore chutes, and Polar Star Mill. 
Until then,
Keith



We will close with this photo of Black Hawk, looking southward along Clear Creek. At front right is the Eagle Mill - served by the C&S 3' gauge. This is the area we will be visiting next. The link to this Denver Public Library, Western History Collection image is here:

http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/fullbrowser/collection/p15330coll21/id/3648/rv/singleitem/rec/1776

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Keith,

Thanks for posting that photo of Russell Gulch.  Not the one I was looking for, but it works for me.  I want to model a small (very small) town with track running down 'Main Street'.

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Made quite the score this past week - I found a copy of the Gilpin Ghost on DVD, new in the case, under $11 on eBay, I quietly waited and watched the auction, last second I put in a pretty hefty bid, and nobody else wanted or saw the auction, so it's in my hands now, will be watching it later tonight! :glad:
Looking forward to meeting Keith at the Denver Narrow Gauge Convention coming up in a couple of months, and doing some exploring of Gilpin County area with my camera. It will good to get back to my old hiking grounds after so long, I just hope there is still stuff to see.

Attachment: Gilpin Ghost DVD Cover.jpg (Downloaded 82 times)

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Just one thing Keith
THANK YOU!

Herb

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Just saw this drone 4K video posted on Facebook.

The Gilpin Glory hole mine! Shows how many trailings dumps are still there.

https://youtu.be/GEhc0kmvFiA

Last edited on Wed Jul 19th, 2017 06:11 pm by Chriss H

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It was mentioned earlier that corrugated iron came in 8-10 foot length.  Maybe I missed it but how wide was the corrugated iron?  4 feet; 5 feet?

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More like 2 feet or so wide. I have seen some 3 feet wide.

Woodie

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Hi all,
I used to work in the steelworks beside the place that made corrugated steel for  Australia from our steel. 

For a 2' wide between each sheet as viewed from above the actual individual sheet width was plus about another 2" for the overlap when laid. So this gives a seemingly odd-bod amount of about 26" when stacked as sheets. 

A 3' wide sheet as installed would have been about 38" wide. To roll this you need a relatively wide strip mill because the wider the mill is the harder it becomes to maintain flat strip out of the rolling mill. I wish I had a dollar for every foot of edgewave or ridge buckle caused by the rolling mills that my crew chopped up as defective when I was foreman on the tinplate shearlines. 

Anything prior to about WW2 would have probably have been hot-dipped by individual sheet, From memory the continuous dip process where the strip is fed through the galvanising bath in coil form was post-WW2.  The  hot dip process left the bottom edge of the sheet with a slightly thicker "drip-edge" of coating, So when stacked at the mill every so many sheets were reversed. so that the effect of the drip edge was neutralised and you ended up with a flat stack. 

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See, it pays to ask the experts before I go cutting up a bunch of aluminum the wrong width.

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Michael commented about a bottle house.
Brian Block's O scale bottle house was featured in the Gazette.
Brian sells an O scale kit and an HO scale kit.
http://bbtrains.com/products.htm

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Surely the bottle house had a determined owner who worked real hard to round up the material for the walls...
Jose.

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Liquor was so common in the West that it probably didn't take long to build a bottle house.
There were numerous bottle houses.
When the rebuild the one in Rhyolite, they first tried concrete for filler but found that it did not "give" enough.  So they went back to using mud.

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Darryl,

That's a very nice bottle house.  The kit is a little pricey for my wallet.  I'd have to scratchbuild one anyway since I model in 1/35 scale.  Still, it would be a nice addition to my layout.  Would need to figure a way to make a lot of bottles.  Something to add to the 'to do' list.

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Would need to figure a way to make a lot of bottles.

Don't. Make the walls out of clear styrene or acrylic, put round masks to simulate the bottles, paint the wall, remove masks and brush paint the bottles with different clear tints for variety.
Jose.

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What a wonderful idea!  Time to go shopping for some clear styrene.

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Brian paints the inside of the walls with different colored felt tip pens.
As the only part of the "bottle" that is seen is the bottom, this is one way to make walls.
Draw your walls on a sheet of clear styrene.
Glue short lengths of clear styrene rod to the wall.
The rods can be of different sizes if desired.
Build a dam of wood around your wall.
Pour plaster into the wall mold up to the top of the styrene.
When set, simply remove the wooden dam and you have a plaster wall with clear "bottles" embedded.

Trim the excess sheet of sytrene away from the casting.
Paint the inside of the clear wall with colored markers.
You can buy flickering, battery powered "candles" for the inside of the cabin.

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Thanks Darryl.  Sounds fairly straightforward.  I'll have to give it a go!

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Corrugated iron.  Maybe I missed it, but when using corrugated iron how is the peak of a roof handled.  I was thinking that the builders cut short pieces of corrugated iron and bent them to cover the peak.  But, that almost sounds too simple.  Was there some special way this was handled?

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Michael, that is one way to do it.
Manufacturers of the iron sheets also made "caps" available for the roof.

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Michael,
Do a Google search for:
metal roof caps
and you will find examples of such caps made today.
They were like that in the old days as well.

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Well, that was simple.  Apparently there are dozens (100s) of ways to cap a roof.

I just wanted to make sure before I went and put a metal roof on a little station I'm building.

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There has been a lot of great info shared about corrugated iron and bottle houses lately - thanks everyone! Unfortunately, I have not seen any buildings clad with bottles in Gilpin County, but as the sayings go: "There's a prototype for everything" and "It's my (model) railroad", so, we can do what we want.  

The most recent posts talked about capping the roof peak on corrugated iron. I checked some photos I had taken in the Gilpin Tram area, and it looks like some had end caps from either shortened pieces or pre-made, and others just bent over part of the sheet. Here are 3 examples I could find:



This shows the simple bent-over roofing cap on the Quartz Hill Mine. That's Mike Pyne and Joe Crea, and no, they didn't knock it over! They found it that way, and are measuring up the remains - this eventually led to the Wild West Scale Models kit of this building




The Prompt Pay Mine near Russell Gulch also has a simple bent-over cap


This shows the Gold Collar Mine near Gunnell Hill. I can't tell what the cap on the peak is, but it is rather small, whatever it is. Also, this photo is a good reference for me for weathered wood colors


This summer has been very busy, and my posts on Gilpin Tram stuff has tapered off as a result. But, I have gotten caught up on some things, and will be posting more soon.
Keith




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Since there seems to be a variety of ways to cap a roof I'm just going to cut some short pieces, bend them over, and glue it down.

For whatever reason I was thinking that it might have been handled some special way.  It appears that the builders of these structures just kept it simple.

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Hi Michael,
To keep this a bit quarantined, have a look at http://www.freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=7872&forum_id=19&jump_to=95212#p95212 

Flat ridge capping is so much easier in model form - .005" to .010" styrene strips can be folded on a steel rule to make runs of ridge capping. Trim to the required length. 

This is the roof on the tipple house in 1/43rd scale for my Corrimal Colliery Incline layout. 
Please put some photos up when you are working on your building,

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Thanks for that link.  Gotta love all that rust!

I'll post a photo or two once I get some weathering done on my small station.  I ended up just folding some of the panels over to form the ridge cap.  Based on some of the photos here it looks like that's what some of the builders had done.

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Michael, John, and others modeling corrugated roofing:
This past thread of posts has been helpful to me, and great info for my next models.
Here is a photo of my Quartz Hill Mine model - the bent-over cap on the roof is probably too wide, and on future models, I will need to make the bent portion much smaller.



Keith

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I think it looks great!

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Here's a few photos of the station I've been working on.  A bit of an odd shape because it sits in a pie-shaped area.  Only light weathering on the roof.  Station still needs door and windows.






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I was checking out the On2 website and discovered that the Maine Two-Footers put tin roofing on most of their rolling stock.

https://maineon2faq.wordpress.com/category/equipment/boxcars/


There is quite a bit of modeling information on the page.  I'm thinking that a tin-roofed boxcar would make a neat model.

Last edited on Wed Sep 6th, 2017 10:02 pm by Michael M

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Well, I haven't been posting much lately - my job has been consuming most of my time. However, it's not all work and no play.  
I went to the National Narrow Gauge Convention in Denver in late August/early September. Wow! What a great time. 


I gave a clinic on Mines and Mining Along the Gilpin Tramway on Friday night and Saturday morning. It was fun to meet several of the FreeRails readers of this thread, and discuss Gilpin Tram stuff.


It was fun reconnecting with Rick Steele. Rick owns LaBelle Woodworking Company, and has also published several articles in Gazette on the Central City area. Here is Rick and me in the manufacturer's display area


Some other people I hadn't seen for a while where Doug Heitkamp and Darel Leedy (that's me on the right). Doug and Darel are very knowledgable on all things C&S and Gilpin Tram.


And there was time to do some visiting in Gilpin Tram country. Each year, there are more and more changes, most of them not good relative to historic sites. There is progressively more private land closed to access, new development closing off or demolishing sites, and the inevitable toll of weather and snow. Here is the Federal Mine near Russell Gulch. The amount of sagging due to settlement of the ground around the shaft is very noticeable. I wonder how many more years this mine building has left?
Well, that's what I have been up to lately. I have also been working on gathering more historic info on the Gilpin Tram-to-C&S transfer and Polar Star Mill in Black Hawk. I'll post that info "soon-ish".
Keith





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Hi Keith :wave:


Sounds like a great time in Denver ! :)



I really like the Federal Mine building.





A very nice option for a smallish, but 'real' structure.


Perfect for larger scales, where space is tight. :thumb:


:moose:


Si.

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I imagine you had a blast at the NG convention. Maybe someday for me. BTW, that Federal Mine looks like my old house except my place was a little more funky!

Woodie

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Woodie,
I hope your next home is better than the previous one!  Actually, as long as one has space for model building and layout, everything else becomes secondary.


This is the back side of the Federal Mine, which looks a whole lot worse than the front (east) side! Deterioration like this will greatly foreshorten the remaining life of this mine, unfortunately.
The Federal Mine is available as a laser kit, and was brought out maybe 4-5 years ago. I built a test build for Mike at Wild West Scale Model Builders:

Weathering structures like this is fun, and not hard to do. Laser kits have pretty much done all the thinking for you already, so they do assemble fairly quickly

Here is my HO version of the Federal Mine - I didn't put a full interior inside, and wish now that I would have. I modeled it as it may have appeared in earlier years, before the metal siding went on. Of course, I don't know if this is how this mine was actually built or not, but hey, it's my model railroad
Here is the same HO model, showing the backside. I don't know if that lean-to addition is accurate or not, but it certainly adds interest
Keith

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Back to Black Hawk!



This photo is from Gilpin Railroad Era, and shows Shay #1 and a work train in front of the Meade Mill.
In previous posts, we started at the upper end of Clear Creek, and looked at the Wheeler, Golden Fleece, Fullerton, Hidden Treasure, Humphrey and Meade Mills.  Continuing downstream on our tour, we go around a slight bend and soon encounter the C&S to Gilpin Tram freight transfer, the C&S-Gilpin Tram ore chutes, the Polar Star Mill, and the Eagle Mill.




This map shows the previously covered sections, and the portion of Black Hawk that we will be looking at today





Here is a great view from the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, showing a view of Black Hawk looking south. Lots of detail can be seen in this view



Here is an enlargement of the same Denver Public Library photo, zooming in on the Gilpin Tram and C&S freight transfer. There are two C&S coal cars parked on the siding, next to two Gilpin Tram coal cars. The C&S coal cars will be unloaded by hand shoveling into the Gilpin Tram coal cars. Empty C&S coal cars are parked on the siding next to the ore chutes, and will be filled one-by-one from Gilpin ore cars above. The loaded cars will be coasted down on the slight gradient, and the next car loaded



















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Here is a key to the previous photo, identifying the major areas of interest



This is a photo from the Ronzio collection, and published in the Gilpin Railroad Era. There is a lot of detail in this photo. This photo was taken when the Gilpin Tram and shut down and was being scrapped - that is torn-up rail inside the C&S gondola in the foreground. Note the dual gauge track at right - the 2' gauge Gilpin Tram track is to the left of it. The "mainline" is the dual gauge track at far left (in front of the shay). One interesting detail here - the turnouts to 2' gauge track are all thrown with harp switch stands, and any dual gauge turnout is thrown with rotary switch stands. I wonder what color the switch stand targets were painted?


GILPIN TRAM –C&S TRANSFER
 
The narrow valley of Clear Creek took a slight bend to the west, and just around the corner were the freight transfer tracks from the 3’ gauge C&S to the 2’ gauge Gilpin Tram. The accompanying figures show the simple track arrangement – 2 parallel sidings where freight was hand-transferred from the 3’ gauge to the 2’ gauge. I think most of the freight was coal for the mines – it was delivered in 3’ gauge gondolas (coal cars) and then shoveled into both Gilpin Tram ore cars and specially-built wooden coal cars. Records from October 1907 show 15 C&S cars of coal were transferred to the Gilpin Tram that month.
 
There was other traffic the Gilpin Tram hauled periodically, and this included this traffic in August and October 1907:
 
  • ·       “Merchandise” (not described any more than that), in shipments varying from 0.14 to  0.66 tons, and hauled in ore cars to the East Pewabic and Pewabic Mine s
  • ·       “Steel”, 1.666 tones in ore car 141 to the Pewabic Mine
  • ·       Drill steel, 4.09 tons to the Pewabic Mine in Car 4 (a coal car)
  • ·       A casting (not described) of 0.1 tons in ore car 139 from the Pewabic Mine to the depot area
  • ·       “Oil” in ore car 136 to the East Pewabic Mine (must have been in cans or barrels)
  • ·       Steel (not described) of 2 tons in coal car 4 from the Pewabic Mine to the depot area
  • ·       Iron pipe, 0.92 tons from the depot area to the Old Town Mine in coal car 4
  • ·       “Powder” in ore cars 45 & 48 – 11.45 tons of it! This was from the depot area to the Old Town Mine




Here is a view from the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, greatly enlarged from a small corner of a photo. The south side of the Polar Star Mill can be seen at left, along with the Gilpin Tram ore spur for unloading (track is on a trestle). In the center (blurry) distance, some C&S cars can be seen parked on the transfer track. I love this scene showing how crowded together the buildings are  - there seems to be smokestacks and buildings everywhere!






This track map is enlarged from a C&S track map from the Colorado Historical Society collection. The Gilpin Tram transfer track is very close to the Polar Star Mill




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The Polar Star Mill and Ore Chutes




This is a Ronzio photo from the Gilpin Railroad Era. Of interest here is the 2' gauge Gilpin Tram spur to the ore chutes, and the trestle for unloading ore into the Polar Star Mill. At the ore chutes, there are 4, 3' gauge C&S gondolas waiting to be loaded with ore from the ore chutes. One Gilpin Tram ore car sits on the ore chute dump track above. There are 8 loaded Gilpin Tram ore cars to the left of the C&S gondolas. They are sitting on a 2' gauge track that seems to be use for ore car storage while waiting to be unloaded. Immediately above the Polar Star Mill is the Eagle Mill. The Eagle Mill was served only by the C&S, and never by the Gilpin Tram

There was a lot of interesting switching activity around the ore chutes and transfer track. This information is from C&S records in the Colorado Railroad Museum archives. Some moves that were documented in 1907:
  • Transfer of C&S cars 4858, 4106, and 4037 from the Hidden Treasure Mill to the C&S Transfer
  • Switching C&S cars 7625 and 4065 from the Polar Star Mill to the C&S Transfer
  • Other car switching was of C&S gondolas 4226, 4245, 4895 and 4140 in October 1907, from the Hidden Treasure Mill to the C&S ore chutes. 
  • These switching moves refer to switching of 3’ gauge gondolas by the Gilpin Tram, on the dual gauge track.

The Polar Star Mill was literally right next to the ore transfer chutes.  The transfer chutes were built to easily dump ore that was going to a Black Hawk area mill into C&S gondolas for shipment elsewhere. I speculate the ore chutes were located here because of a convenient space for a 2’ gauge spur and because the track was up on a trestle already, to reach the Polar Star Mill.  Photographs from the era show that the ore chutes were built from timber, and later mostly filled in with dirt and rock.  The chutes were just that – a metal trough where Gilpin Tram ore cars dumped directly into a waiting C&S gondola below – there was no storage bin.  A pair of ore chutes was constructed, spaced for two Gilpin Tram ore cars.  The entire ore chutes spur was only long enough for two ore cars.  Again, simple, compact, and an ideal scene to model.






This enlargement of a photo is from the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection. A &S passenger train to Central City is passing the Polar Star Mill. A loaded C&S gondola may have been loaded from the ore chutes, and dropped by gravity to in front of the Polar Star Mill. There are 2 loaded Gilpin Tram ore cars sitting on the ore chutes track, waiting to be dumped into C&S gondolas. The trestlework at right supports the Gilpin's 2' gauge unloading spur. The doors are shut on the structure where the cars were unloaded. This structure is actually a warming shed, heated by steam pipes in winter for thawing frozen ore in the Gilpin cars

Polar Star Mill

The Polar Star Mill is a distinctive structure, still standing today. The Polar Star Mill actually is the 2nd structure on this site, and replaced an earlier wooden mill.  The existing mill is a simple structure, with stonewalls and a post and beam-supported sloping roof.  Unlike what we think as a “typical” mill, the Polar Star Mill was built on a relatively level site and does not have the typical cascading construction of the a building constructed on the side of a hillside. This different look appealed to me.  The mill walls are about 2’ thick rough stonewalls, mortared together with local stone on the nearby mountainsides. The Polar Star Mill was built before construction of the Gilpin Tram, so when the tramway was built, the spur to the mill was built on a wooden trestle above the driveway for horse-drawn wagons to also deliver ore to the mill.  That same trestle also had a warming shed for thawing out frozen ore cars in the winter, before dumping into the mill.



This view is from the Ronzio collection, and published in the Gilpin Railroad Era. A UPD&G boxcar is parked on the dual gauge track in front of the Polar Star Mill. Two or more loaded 3' gauge gondolas can be seen behind it. This is also a nice view of the south end of the Gilpin Tram unloading trestle



Remember this photo previously posted here? This is looking south along Clear Creek, towards Black Hawk and shows the transfer, ore chutes, Polar Star Mill and other buildings





This is a similar view to the previous photo, showing Black Hawk about 10 years ago. There has been even more casino development and construction since then. A lot has changed in the past 100 years. However, the Polar Star Mill still stands - it can be seen with the light-colored roof, immediately above the green-roofed municipal building in right foreground









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Here is the Polar Star Mill about 15 years ago. It is privately owned by the Blake family, and has been in that family for many decades. This is a wonderful example of stone wall construction. The present roof is a new membrane, and not the original roof material (I don't know what the original roof covering was)

Polar Star Mill

How big was this mill? Well, the 1902 Mining Reporter Magazine reported the mil was operating 40 "slow-drop" stamps, and had a capacity of 40 tons per day. That equates to about 4 to 5 Gilpin Tram ore cars, but this mill also received ore from wagon teams, so this makes the mill a very-modelable size.





This view is looking east at the west wall of the Polar Star Mill. The bathtub-shaped stone enclosure in the foreground was the end of the water flume, which diverted water for Clear Creek during high creek flows, and was used to power an interior water wheel that powered the stamps and machinery





This is the business side of the Polar Star Mill - the Gilpin Tram ore trestle would have been on the left side of this photo, above the "road". The small doors on this wall are for unloading ore into the mill. The Polar Star Mill predates the construction of the Gilpin Tram. The ore trestle for the 2' gauge spur was a late addition, and an unusual ore chute arrangement was used to unload ore cars - I will explain in more detail, later






This is the northwest end of the Polar Star Mill, about 15 years. I had special permission from Norm Blake, then his son Kent, to be on the their property to photograph the mill. This little wood addition was possibly a stable for mules/horses




This view shows the stacked stone construction, mortared together. This photo was taken about 15 years ago, before a recent repair/restoration of the mill building. The eroded mortar joints have since been repointed. Note the heavy wooden window sill, and lintel at the top of the window. The stone walls are about 2' thick, so the lintels and sills are built of heavy wooden boards laid side-by side

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More Polar Star Mill info...






This view shows the inside of the Polar Star, after restoration. The mortared stone walls are clearly visible. The current owner uses part of the mill as a workshop




During a owner-given building tour, I took this photo of the inside of the cupola structure that projects above the roof. Originally, this cupola covered the top of the wooden water wheel that powered the mill machinery during high water flow along Clear Creek. Today, all of the original mill machinery is gone from the building




About 20 years ago, the Blake family had several parts of mill machinery laying on the ground next to the Polar Star Mill. Norm Blake told me in about 1992 that this cam and bull wheel were from a slow-drop stamp originally from the Randolph Mill (which is further south along Clear Creek and the subject of a future post)





This little shed was modified by the Blake family and used as a donkey barn when I first saw it in 1990. Norm Blake told me at one time, this little structure was the mill office for the Randolph Mill



This photo is looking east, over the Polar Star Mill building. Black Hawk residences, most which date back 100 years or more, are on the opposite side of Clear Creek. The home at far left was the Blake home, and apparently has been in their family since the late 1800s

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If you drive into Black Hawk, you see this mill building just north of the Polar Star Mill. This mill post-dates the Gilpin Tram period, and is a relatively modern addition. I think it was built in the 1930s or 1950s. An interesting structure, but too modern if you model the Gilpin Tram



I'll post this map again, so you can reorient yourself to where we are in Black Hawk. We have looked over a lot of activity in a compact area - something that draws me to this as a scene that would be fun to model



This is a Ronzio view from Gilpin Railroad Era. We are looking north at the Polar Star Mill at center, and the Eagle Mill is on the right hand edge of the photo, just above the white-painted railroad crossing sign

The next mill along the tracks was the interesting Eagle Mill, across the track from the Polar Star Mill, and served by the C&S. That will be the subject of the next posts.
Keith






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Keith, this is fascinating information and we all appreciate it. Thank you so much for keeping this thread going and the "now & then" photos bring the GT to life. We who model mining and narrow gauge railways owe you our gratitude.
Keep the faith!

Woodie

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I agree with Woodrow, Keith.
It is almost incomprehensible (50¢) what you have done compiling information.
I, for one, thank you.

If you don't care to publish--and I hope that you do publish--how about selling a disk with all the info on it? A lot less cost to you, and you might end up with more $$ than publishing.

Herb

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Herb and Woodie,
Thank you for the nice comments. It is a lot of fun researching, posting and sharing Gilpin Tram information with other enthusiasts.  And, remember that the original goal was to research the railroad enough so I could build accurate models.  Well, that project kind of grew. But, I need to continue with looking at Blackhawk, because I am getting anxious about deciding what I want to model in my HOn30 Blackhawk portion of my home layout!

The Eagle Mill

The Eagle Mill was located across the tracks and just a little bit south of the Polar Star Mill. Check out my previous post, and there is a C&S track map showing this arrangement.

There is not too much information I have been able to find out about this mill. This mill had 35 fast-drop stamps, and a capacity of 75 tons of ore per day. Compare this to the Polar Star Mill, which although the buildings were of similar size, had a capacity of only 40 tons per day with its 40 slow drop stamps.
  I do not know when it was built or when it ceased operations. In 1917, Bastin reported in his USGS report that the mill had been owned by the same company that operated the Next President Mine in Gregory Gulch, and their ore was treated by this mill. I do not know if this mill processed other mills' ores, or was used only by the one mine.

The Next President Mine was located alongside the Colorado and Southern Railway branch to Central City. It was not directly served by the C&S, and I believe all the ore was teamed by wagon down to Black Hawk.



The Eagle Mill had a C&S 3' gauge spur on its east side. A C&S gondola can be seen on the left side of the mill, and probably had unloaded a load of coal. On the right side of the mill, there are 8 small hatches that are open - these doors are in the open position, and where wagons would be unloaded by hand-shoveling the ore into the receiving bins





This is a view of the Eagle Mill from the 1907 Mining Investor Magazine, and shows the south (downstream) side of the mill. This photo was taken later than the previous photo, and the ore unloading bin doors are now covers by a building addition. The dual gauge C&S-Gilpin Tram trackage wound its way between the mill and the barn-like building at the left






Here is the Sanborn Fire Insurance map showing the Eagle Mill at about the turn of the last century. The steam pipe crossed the tracks and served a City water pumping station. The track shown was actually dual gauge 2' and 3' trackage




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This view is from the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, and shows the north (upstream) side of the Eagle Mill. Two C&S gondolas are parked on the coal unloading spur - one car has been unloaded and the other one appears partially unloaded. The dual gauge Gilpin Tram and C&S track appears on the right side of the mill. In the background can be seen part of the 50 Gold Mines Mill






This drawing is from an accident report where a worker was struck and killed when switching by the Eagle Mill - they struck the steam pipe support for the steam line going to the City water pump house. There is a lot of information about this incident in Darel Leedy's C&S Blog. If you go to the link, http://c-sng-discussion-forum.41377.n7.nabble.com/A-bad-day-in-Black-Hawk-or-how-I-lost-my-head-td1045.html  , you can read all about this incident. This image was one posted in that blog post





Last, I wanted to post this image, originally posted by Todd Hackett in the same blog post in Darel Leedy's C&S blog mentioned above and at the same link. This is a similar image to one I posted previously, but shows a slightly different view of the C&S-to-Gilpin Tram transfer. Three Gilpin Tram coal cars are on the siding. The left-most one has the end panel lowered prior to loading. There are three C&S gondolas parked on the transfer track. You can see the barn or similar structure that was located between the transfer area and the dual gauge "mainline" track

Just around the corner is the very large and interesting 50 Gold Mines Mill - that will be our next stop.
Keith





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POLAR STAR MILL AND ORE CHUTES - THE MODEL




The Polar Star Mill and Ore Chutes transfer to the C&S can be modeled relatively easily without taking up too much space. This is an HO model I built for my HOn30 layout in 2007. You are looking at my version of the ore chutes transfer (where the Gilpin ore car is sitting), and the Polar Star Mill behind it. It is hard to see easily, but the 2nd and 4th tracks from the left are dual gauge HOn30 and HOn3. I found that by using Code 40 rail, I could get dual gauge track. The rails are so close together because HOn30 is actually closer to 33" gauge rather than the 30" gauge it is supposed to depict




The Polar Star Mill model was scratch built. This construction photo shows the styrene shapes used to frame the ore unloading spur trestle. The Polar Star Mill walls are some nicely detailed plaster wall castings formerly available from CC Crow



The ore chutes were built up on styrofoam. The rock walls were painted resin castings, made from master I cast, molded, and poured. The ore chutes did not swing up - I think they were fixed into place. There was no ore holding bin - the workers would release the bottom dump hatches on the Gilpin Tram ore cars, and it would dump out into waiting 3' gauge gondolas below




This shows the start of the ore unloading spur on the trestle to the Polar Star Mill. 









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POLAR STAR MILL AND ORE CHUTES - THE MODEL



Shay number 2 is about to pull out two emptied ore cars from the ore chutes, as shown on this HOn30 model



Here is an aerial view of the backside (mountainside) of the Polar Star Mill and ore chutes. This model is compressed about 20% in size from actual, built this way to better fit into the space I then had on my layout. 




Here, a teamster is shown unloading ore from a wagon into the ore bin doors on the backside of the Polar Star Mill. The diagonal bar is a model of an ore chute for diverting ore dumped from Gilpin Tram ore cars above into the ore bins. The metal chute was hung from hooks under the ore unloading trestle (inside the warming shed built onto the trestle), and the lower end was fitted into one of the ore doors. This cumbersome arrangement was needed because the Polar Star Mill was built decades before the Gilpin Tram being built, as it was originally constructed for wagons only. The trestle above was a creative way to get ore into the mill. The ore wagon is a modified HO Jordan beer wagon, with horses from Musket Miniatures

If you want more information on the Polar Star Mill, check out the November 2005 issue of the Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette. Joe Crea published an excellent article, photos, and scale drawings of this mill.
Keith




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Polar Star Mill in 1:24 Scale!






Monte Pearson sent me some photos of his under-construction Polar Star Mill, and gave me permission to post some of his photos. As you can see, he is modeling the side facing the Gilpin Tram ore unloading trestle, and he is making great progress.  The rock work carving and coloring is particularly outstanding!
Thanks for sharing your model work Monte!






Keith

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Dual Gauge Track at the Eagle Mill



We previously saw this image of the Eagle Mill. The dual gauge 2' and 3' track is on the right side of the mill. The spur to the left side of the mill, where two gondolas are parked, is 3' gauge only. This image is from the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, and can be found at http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/fullbrowser/collection/p15330coll21/id/3648/rv/singleitem/rec/1776

In previous posts, we looked at the Polar Star and Eagle Mill locations. Chris "Eagle-Eye" Walker pointed out an interesting detail. Chris noted, "you might want to mention that the Gilpin 3-rail was transposed opposite the Eagle Mill.  Only two photos I’ve seen actually show, this one somewhat blurry extreme right. The (dual-gauge track) Draw is just in advance of the Stub rails to the Polar Star Chutes siding.  It appears to me that there was only about a rail length between the draws as well."
[size=Thanks for ][size=sharing this information, Chris!][size=
]
[size=
]
A closeup view of the previous photo clearly shows the draw, where the 2' gauge track inner rail changed from one side of the track to the [size=other]. There was more than one draw in Black Hawk, and we'll see another one down near the station area. Draws were needed to get the 2' gauge track to the proper side of the track for turnouts to the various mills. There may have been more built than what we see in [size=available] photos.

[size=Keith]

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The Bobtail/Fifty Gold Mines Mill


Dominating the north side of Black Hawk was the Bobtail, or as later known as, the Fifty Gold Mines Mill. This mill served several nearby mines, and was at one time an active shipper and the C & S 3' gauge.


This operation operated under several names, and apparently was called the Black Hawk Mill and Gregory Bobtail Mill for a time. Its successor was the Bobtail Mining Company, which was the predecessor to the Fifty Gold Mines mill.
 
The Fifty Gold Mines mill was the result of the consolidation of several older and contested claims in Gregory Gulch. By 1906, these properties were consolidated and controlled by the Fifty Gold Mines Corporation. At this time, several improvements were made to the mining machinery, and a new laboratory/assay office was added.






This is from a C&S track map of Black Hawk, and shows the two 3' gauge spurs serving the Bobtail Mill, which is shown in red.  This was a large complex of buildings.  The blue line shows the dual gauge 2' and 3' gauge trackage heading downstream along Clear Creek






 This image is from the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection. Taken from a hilltop high above and east of Black Hawk, we see the Bobtail Mill at bottom center. To the upper left of the mill is Black Hawk. The mine dumps immediately above town were in Gregory Gulch, and several of these mines were under control of the same syndicate that operated the Bobtail Mill







An enlargement of the same photo shows the main mill complex. This large mill processed ores from several Gregory Gulch mines. Some ore was shipped into the mill at the tall structure at the top - note the trestle on the right side. This was a narrow underground mine tram - it tunneled through the hill behind the mill, crossed Gregory Gulch, and entered the hillside beyond





Here is an enlargement of the upper narrow gauge mining tramway. This was electric powered, and a short underground mine train can be seen just right of the trestle




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Enlarging the same previous photo, we see a 3' gauge gondola and boxcar on the short siding next to the mill. This mill looks like what we expect a typical Colorado stamp mill to look like, unlike some of the previous mills we explored further upstream along Clear Creek




There is a lot detail here. In front of the 3 stacks (which were not a part of the Bobtail Mill, they were the local coal-powered electrical generating plant), is a very long wood-cribbed wall to retain tailings and provide a level area for buildings.There are two wooden water storage tanks, and the right of them you can see two flumes discharging water, possibly from underground mine tunnel drainage





Here is the coal-fired powerhouse for the stamp mill, electricity for the underground mine trains, and other mining company usage. The second 3' gauge spur came into the backside of this building, so I speculate it may have been used for unloading coal





On the north end of the complex, we see this wooden building with the tall brick smoke stack. This was called the "Rocky Mountain Machine Shop" in earlier years, and appears to have been acquired by the Bobtail Mill in later years. I like this interesting structure - it would make a great model!

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Although the Bobtail Mill was large and imposing, its size was not a guarantee of long-term success.
This new venture eventually ran into financial problems, as this operation was sold in 1911, but the local newspaper reported the company emerging from a bankruptcy in June 1913. This troubled company entered bankruptcy again in 1916, for the final time.
 
From the 1917 USGS Report – excerpts from the text:
 
"Mining near Blackhawk, on the Gregory, Fisk, Cook, Bobtail, and Mammoth veins and their branches, and on several minor veins, has in recent years been controlled by the Fifty Gold Mines Co. The properties under this management have been among the most productive in the district, but were unfortunately closed down at the time of this survey, and access could be had to only a small part of the workings. The Gregory, in this group, has the distinction of being the first gold lode discovered in Colorado (May 6, 1859).
 
In recent years development has been mainly through the Cook shaft, the Bobtail tunnel, and the Gregory incline. The Cook is a large vertical shaft 1,450 feet deep, equipped with cages. It connects with 14 levels, and from the surface to the eighth level is close to the Cook vein. Below this the Cook vein lies a short distance to the south of the shaft and the Fisk vein to the north. The Bobtail tunnel, begun in 1863, starts in Black- hawk, on the north side of Bates Hill, follows the Gregory vein through the hill, hosses be- neath the road from Central City to Black- hawk, and enters the hill south of Gregory Gulch, where it intersects the Fisk and Cook veins. (See PI. XX.)' The Cook shaft is con- nected with the mill at Blackhawk by a motor railroad running through the Bobtail tunnel. Ore is hoisted to the tunnel level, deposited in ore bins, and automatically loaded onto the motor cars for transportation to the mill 4,200 feet distant.
 
The concentrating ores from the Fifty Gold Mines properties were treated at a large and well-equipped 80-stamp mill in Blackhawk.
 
This mill had 125 stamps at one time."
 
Also from Bakers’ book:
 
"That same month (in 1886), the Register reporter stopped “at the Black Hawk foundry to look at the immense castings just made at these works for the hoisting rig of the Gregory Bobtail Consolidated company, the foundations for which are now being built adjoining the company’s 125-stamp mill… The spool has a diameter of 13 feet, on which will be carried three thousand feet of wire rope; the spider for the big wheel measures 16 feet in diameter and weights over two ton; the whole weight of the hoister is over 14 tons; three engines compounded aggregating a one hundred and sixty horse power, will be the motive power, which has the capacity of hoisting five cords of mill dirt, four hundred feet per minute, up the incline shaft. Mr. A.N. Rogers, manager of the company, was the designer of the rig, and the patterns were made by Mr. O. Hayes, of the Black Hawk foundry.”






Here is a portion of the 1900 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, and shows the Bobtail/Fifty Gold Mines Mill (colored in red for clarity). The two C&S spurs to the mill are clearly shown




This image from the Denver Public Library shows very well how the mill was basically across an alley from the main retail street. Note how the large imposing mill towers above the town buildings below. Typical of Black Hawk, a lot of buildings and activity is crowded into the narrow creek canyon. That building at the extreme upper left corner? That's a church building, still standing today. This scene just begs to be modeled




To clarify the previous photo, there are all Fifty Gold Mines/Bobtail mill photos, The C&S/Gilpin Tram dual gauge track sneaks through between the front of ht mill, and crosses Main Street. The cross buck for the railroad crossing can be seen at the bottom edge of the photo, to the left of the smokestack




By the time I visited Black Hawk in 1986, all the mill buildings were long gone, and all that remained was the wood cribbing wall, seen in one of the earlier photos I had posted. I was told by locals that the site was an EPA Superfund site, and the wall, tailings, and any other mill remnants gradually vanished. Today, there are parking lots and a casino on this site. Progress, I guess


Next, we'll head down the track a bit and take a look at the Black Hawk station grounds and Main Street.


Until then,


Keith













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