|View single post by Keith Pashina|
|Posted: Fri Oct 13th, 2017 07:00 am||
|Although the Bobtail Mill was large and imposing, its size was not a guarantee of long-term success.
This new venture eventually ran into financial problems, as this operation was sold in 1911, but the local newspaper reported the company emerging from a bankruptcy in June 1913. This troubled company entered bankruptcy again in 1916, for the final time.
From the 1917 USGS Report – excerpts from the text:
"Mining near Blackhawk, on the Gregory, Fisk, Cook, Bobtail, and Mammoth veins and their branches, and on several minor veins, has in recent years been controlled by the Fifty Gold Mines Co. The properties under this management have been among the most productive in the district, but were unfortunately closed down at the time of this survey, and access could be had to only a small part of the workings. The Gregory, in this group, has the distinction of being the first gold lode discovered in Colorado (May 6, 1859).
In recent years development has been mainly through the Cook shaft, the Bobtail tunnel, and the Gregory incline. The Cook is a large vertical shaft 1,450 feet deep, equipped with cages. It connects with 14 levels, and from the surface to the eighth level is close to the Cook vein. Below this the Cook vein lies a short distance to the south of the shaft and the Fisk vein to the north. The Bobtail tunnel, begun in 1863, starts in Black- hawk, on the north side of Bates Hill, follows the Gregory vein through the hill, hosses be- neath the road from Central City to Black- hawk, and enters the hill south of Gregory Gulch, where it intersects the Fisk and Cook veins. (See PI. XX.)' The Cook shaft is con- nected with the mill at Blackhawk by a motor railroad running through the Bobtail tunnel. Ore is hoisted to the tunnel level, deposited in ore bins, and automatically loaded onto the motor cars for transportation to the mill 4,200 feet distant.
The concentrating ores from the Fifty Gold Mines properties were treated at a large and well-equipped 80-stamp mill in Blackhawk.
This mill had 125 stamps at one time."
Also from Bakers’ book:
"That same month (in 1886), the Register reporter stopped “at the Black Hawk foundry to look at the immense castings just made at these works for the hoisting rig of the Gregory Bobtail Consolidated company, the foundations for which are now being built adjoining the company’s 125-stamp mill… The spool has a diameter of 13 feet, on which will be carried three thousand feet of wire rope; the spider for the big wheel measures 16 feet in diameter and weights over two ton; the whole weight of the hoister is over 14 tons; three engines compounded aggregating a one hundred and sixty horse power, will be the motive power, which has the capacity of hoisting five cords of mill dirt, four hundred feet per minute, up the incline shaft. Mr. A.N. Rogers, manager of the company, was the designer of the rig, and the patterns were made by Mr. O. Hayes, of the Black Hawk foundry.”
Here is a portion of the 1900 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, and shows the Bobtail/Fifty Gold Mines Mill (colored in red for clarity). The two C&S spurs to the mill are clearly shown
This image from the Denver Public Library shows very well how the mill was basically across an alley from the main retail street. Note how the large imposing mill towers above the town buildings below. Typical of Black Hawk, a lot of buildings and activity is crowded into the narrow creek canyon. That building at the extreme upper left corner? That's a church building, still standing today. This scene just begs to be modeled
To clarify the previous photo, there are all Fifty Gold Mines/Bobtail mill photos, The C&S/Gilpin Tram dual gauge track sneaks through between the front of ht mill, and crosses Main Street. The cross buck for the railroad crossing can be seen at the bottom edge of the photo, to the left of the smokestack
By the time I visited Black Hawk in 1986, all the mill buildings were long gone, and all that remained was the wood cribbing wall, seen in one of the earlier photos I had posted. I was told by locals that the site was an EPA Superfund site, and the wall, tailings, and any other mill remnants gradually vanished. Today, there are parking lots and a casino on this site. Progress, I guess
Next, we'll head down the track a bit and take a look at the Black Hawk station grounds and Main Street.