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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.

Attachment: 357 - Shay #3 at California Mine from DPL.jpg (Downloaded 190 times)

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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

Attachment: DSC00813_5.jpg (Downloaded 100 times)

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 133 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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