View single post by Keith Pashina
 Posted: Thu Oct 6th, 2016 08:42 am
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Keith Pashina


Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 777

This map shows the Fullerton Mill Branch

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

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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