Crystal Mill, a hidden treasure among the Colorado mountains

Crystal Mill, a hidden treasure among the Colorado mountains

Crystal Mill,Colorado

Crystal Mill, a hidden treasure among the Colorado mountains

Nestled amidst the picturesque Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the Crystal Mill stands as an icon of the history defining this wild region. Also known as the "Dead Horse Mill", this abandoned mill has become a symbol of perseverance and resilience, a silent monument, and a fascinating example of 19th-century industrial architecture. Located near the town of Marble, the Crystal Mill was built in 1892 to support the rapidly growing mining industry in the area. Originally known as the "Sheep Mountain Power House", the mill was powered by a giant water wheel drawing energy from a canal constructed along the Crystal River.

The site's isolation and lack of access roads made the mill's construction a challenging endeavor. Yet, once completed, it became essential in sustaining mining operations, converting hydraulic energy into electricity to power tools used in the lead and silver mines. With the decline of the region's mining industry, the structure lost its purpose and was abandoned in the 1920s. Despite its dilapidated state, the mill drew the attention of history enthusiasts and photographers due to its unique scenic location along the river. Today, the Crystal Mill, though still a challenging destination to reach, has become one of the area's most popular attractions. Visitors must tackle rugged trails and cross the river, being mindful to preserve the fragile state of the structure and adhere to all guidelines provided by local organizations. The only safe road to access it is a dirt road requiring a four-wheel-drive vehicle, accessible only in summer and fall from the town of Marble.

While the mill itself is not open to the public, the surrounding area offers numerous opportunities for hiking, fishing, and photography. The secluded and pristine beauty of the valley makes Crystal Mill an unmissable stop, a place to immerse oneself in the untamed beauty of the captivating and wild American West. It's not merely an abandoned building but a monument to Colorado's history, a testament to the industrial past of this mountainous region, and above all, a lasting reminder of human resilience and the power of nature. Since July 5, 1985, the Crystal Mill has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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