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Modeling 'The Gilpin Tram' - pt.I
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 Posted: Tue Nov 20th, 2012 01:28 am
   
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Bernd
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Thanks Keith.

Those people that worked in the mill must have died horrible deaths later in life, however long that was. Death by mercury poisoning, what a thought.

Bernd

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 Posted: Tue Nov 20th, 2012 04:28 pm
   
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Herb Kephart
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Years and years ago, in a science class (never had chem) in High School, we were shown how a test tube with some mercuric oxide (brown powder--I guess that was what it was) when heated would cause balls of liquid mercury to condense. Young Herb, thinking that mercury was fun stuff--you could make all sorts of things shiny and silvery with it, just by rubbing it on to the object --but lacking a supply of the metal--- stole a small container of the powder and proceeded to distil it at home in the basement. Never noticed any trees dying--but come to think of it there weren't any trees in the basement to start with.

Now--when I don't make a whole lot of sense--you know why

Breh   



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 Posted: Tue Nov 20th, 2012 04:50 pm
   
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Keith Pashina
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Herb:

Another fun item is collecting dirt samples for use for scenery on the layout. Friends warned me early on to avoid any mill waste, because heavy metals could be concentrated in it and cause potential problems. So, I resort to collecting dirt from mine waste dumps and hillsides. I always thought collecting some good, nasty mill dirt might be a neat scenic option on the layout - I could have glow-in-the-dark hillsides!

Keith

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 Posted: Wed Nov 21st, 2012 05:48 am
   
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Keith Pashina
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More On Stamp Mills


 

In this post, I'll talk about some of the stamp mills along the Gilpin Tram.  There were many mills served by or adjacent to the Gilpin Tram's 26+ mile-long route.


Most of the mills, and the largest processors, were all down next to Clear Creek in Bkack Hawk.


We saw a photo of the Avon Mill in a previous post.  This mill was at the base of Quartz Hill, near Nevadaville.  This mill recieved coal from teh Gilpin Tram, and shipped out mill dirt to other mills for further processing on the tram.


This shows the Avon mill site today.  The area has changed a lot, as the trees have grown up.  Nothing is left of the mill today, except for some stone foundations and railroad grade.


We also saw another view of the Olover Mill, along Chase Gulch, in a previous post.  Here is another view, and the Gilpin Tram grade can be seen snaking around the hillside in the background.


Here is the Olvier Mill site today, from about the same viewing angle.  That is not a mill structure at the bottom of the gulch, but a sprawling home built on the mill site.


The Hidden Treasure mill was one of the more interesting processors along the tram.  It was served off of a short switchback, crossing on a trestle over the Gilpin Tram down into Black Hawk.  Note the lower track in the foreground is dual gauge - 2' and 3', as the C&S had a spur terminating here.


This photo shows the Hidden Treasure mill site today.  The highway construction obliterated any traces of the mill building and railroad grade.


Perhaps one of the most magnificent mills along the tram.  The milll farthest downstream along Clear Creek was the Iron City mill.  This mill was greatly expanded over the years, to this large, sprawling structure seen here.


This photo shows what remains of the mill site in about 2005 - nothing, really, except for some cribbing for the Gilpin Tram grade.  Since I took this photo, even more of this grade has disappeared for a waste water treatment plant construction.


At the opposite end of Clear Creek, the Gilpin Tram served the Wheeler Milll, maybe a mile or so upstream from Black Hawk.  In the 1990s, you could see this structure which was either on or very near the original Wheeler Mill site.  This particular mill building was built sometime after the Gilpin Tram quit running - y guess is maybe in teh 1940s or so.  This building has since been demolished (progress!?), but I like the proportions - I could see building something like it on my layout.

That's all for today, but I can post more on millls, if you'd like.

 

Keith

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 Posted: Wed Nov 21st, 2012 07:18 am
   
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Dallas_M
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Keith Pashina wrote: That's all for today, but I can post more on millls, if you'd like.   Keith
Well, recognizing that it takes time to put together great posts like these ... THANK YOU! :apl:

And then, of course:  "yes, please!" :2t:



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 Posted: Wed Nov 21st, 2012 11:54 am
   
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Bernd
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I agree with Dallas. More please and also thank you for these great postings. I'm getting a good education on the mining that went on out west. B:2t:

Bernd

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 Posted: Wed Nov 21st, 2012 02:52 pm
   
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Herb Kephart
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X3 on that.

I know the time that it takes, and appreciate that also.

Looking for where I left my wayback machine--------


Herb 



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 Posted: Wed Nov 21st, 2012 04:51 pm
   
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W C Greene
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Fellow modelers-this is just the kind of material that sets Freerails apart from all others. Keith is able to post these superb photos in a manner that reads like a magazine which better suits his work. I am just elated (25 cent word) that Keith arrived here and I know that we will all learn from his historical and modeling expertise. And I ain't forgetting Duane Ericson either...same goes.
Thanks to both from me and everyone else.

Woodie



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 Posted: Sat Nov 24th, 2012 05:14 am
   
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Keith Pashina
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Let's start a short tour of the Gilpin Tram, starting with a couple of gold ore processing mills, and then heading up the mining areas.


We'll start at the Gilpin Tram's enginehouse (or roundhouse, as they referred to it).  This was a converted barn, and this photo shows the first remodeling of the building - there is only one loco stall, but this was later expanded to three.  The trestel in front of the enginehouse curves upgrade around a large rock outcropping - it's the main line up Chase Gulch.  This trestle was eventually filled in.  The wood cribbing seen at lower left is where Clear Creek was located.


This map shows the area we're starting from - the enginehouse and yards are snuggled into the North Branch of Clear Creek, and the mainline takes off  to the lower right, in a general westward direction to reach the mines. The railroad and Clear Creek, along with a wagon road, are closely intertwined at this point.


Today, these bridge abutments remain on the old grade just a short distance from the trestle at the enginehouse seen in the previous photo. 


From about the same site, I pivoted 180 degrees, facing east, and snapped this photo of the Gilpin Tram grade looking towards Clear Creek and the former Hidden Treasure Mill site.


Now, turning around and facing west again, we are standing on the grade, perhaps 150' from the enginehouse.  The mainline veers off to the right, whereas you can see the start of the switchback that dropped down to serve the Hidden Treasure Mill.  That's Darel Leedy, a Denver-area Gilpin Tram fan.


Stepping about 50' west, we can see a better view of the switchback grade to the Hidden Treasure at left.  The grade on the Gilpin Tram was neatly supported by dry-stacked stone walls in many areas.  In the days of hand labor, it was easier to build grade this way then to blast and excavate a shelf out of the rocky hillsides.  This photo also gives a good idea of the steepness of the grades used.

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 Posted: Sat Nov 24th, 2012 05:32 am
   
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Keith Pashina
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Now, let's explore the switchback grade down to the Hidden Treasure Mill.  Around 1900, the Hidden Treasure Mill looked like this:


This was, at one time, an important shipper on the Gilpin Tram. This mill had 75 stamps, amalgamating tables, and Gilpin County Bummping Tables.  This mill was also the furthest upstream the 3' Colorado & Southern reached.  They had  a spur off to the left, and also went alongside the mill, next to the creek.  This was all dual gauge track - 2' and 3' gauge snaking downstream to serve the mills. 

See those big doors in about the middle of the left wall of the Hidden Treasure?  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.

At upper left, that is the Giplin Tram's bridge over it's mainline where ore cars entered to dump into the ore bins.


Here's that map again, zooming in on the Hidden Treasure mill area.  I'd like to model this scene on my layout someday.

The Midas Mill was next to the grade, but I believe it was closed down before the Gilpin Tram was built.  Sanborn Fire maps from 1900 note the the structure was closed and dismantled by then.  The Midas Mill had 20 stamps at one time.


Here's a photo of the Midas Mill when it was abandoned.  Near the bottom edge, you can see the Gilpin Tram's lower switchback curving into the Hidden Treasure Mill - note the simple bridge that spans over a wagon road, Clear Creek, and the tram's own mainline.


Here is another image showing at bottom left the switch at the bottom of the switchback.  If you squint a bit, you can barely make out a harp swithstand.  This is all 2' gauge track in this photo.

In about the center of this photo, there is another Gilpin Tram spur curving off to the left.  This spur does not show on any maps, but obviously existing at one time.  I do not know what that structure is next to the spur, either.  There seems to be a small mine operating in this area - maybe it was an ore storage shed.


Last, here's a neat shot of Gilpin Tram shay #2 heading up to the enginehouse with empty ore cars from some of the mills down in Black Hawk.

In future posts, we'll poke around Chase Gulch and Winnebago Hill.

Keith

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