View single post by Keith Pashina
 Posted: Wed Sep 21st, 2016 09:55 am
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Keith Pashina


Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 750
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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