View single post by Keith Pashina
 Posted: Mon Jun 19th, 2017 08:17 am
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Keith Pashina


Joined: Sun Nov 4th, 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 766
Steven, Michael, and everybody,
There is a whole lot to the subject of metal siding - when, what, where? I suppose there were several differences between the mining districts. Digging out the facts, searching through old photos, books, etc. makes this all a fun endeavor.
So, looking one more time at the question of when did the "modern" corrugated iron siding start being used in the Gilpin County buildings?
After posting my thoughts on corrugated metal siding, I heard from Chris Walker, who among many other railroad-related interests, is a big Gilpin Tram fan. Chris wrote to me:
“just reading your current discussion… (and) the big mill (later 50 Gold Mines Mill) was built with corrugated siding…(and) the Eagle Mill.
Over in Idaho Springs, the Plutus smelter had a corrugated roof, that was constructed prior to 1891. As for the intent, I'm thinking the less timber available in the Little Kingdom of Gilpin early on, and fire protection led to the corrugated iron being used all over. However, Leadville and Kokomo were still hanging on with the use of boards late, since the vast forests were nearby.”

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

This image is from the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection
Chris Walker is very good at noticing details in photos, and bringing out a lot of detail in them. As an example, from the same photo shown above, this enlargement gives this detail:

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

This photo shows the Iron City Mill, with the then-Union Pacific trackage in front. This photo is from the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection,
And, a closeup of the photo shows this roof edge detail:

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