You can help preserve part of Colorado's mining history.
Crystal Mill, an oft-photographed piece of Colorado's history that balances majestically on a rock outcrop above the Crystal River, is now on a precipice of a different kind. The mill sits right at the intersection of our mining past and the booming real estate market of our current times, and its future is looking uncertain.
Located near Marble, the iconic structure, which was actually a turbine-wheel powerhouse built in 1893 to generate air for air-drill mining, is currently the property of a private owner and is facing a possible sale.
While there is no information as to what would happen to the mill after the sale, a non-profit foundation is hoping to preserve the mill and ensure it is protected for years to come.
"Our vision and mission is to preserve, protect, manage and maintain the historic Crystal Mill for current visitors, heritage tourists and future generations for educational and historic purposes. Our number one goal is to purchase the Mill. We intend on preserving, managing and protecting the Crystal Mill for the next 100 years for visitors to experience and learn about," said the Crystal Mill Foundation, which is currently trying to raise money to buy the mill and surrounding property.
After exploring several other options and partnerships, the foundation has concluded that the only way to save Crystal Mill is to buy it before the owner decides to sell it to someone else.
The price, however, is not just spare change. The foundation says it needs to raise $10 million by next June to purchase the mill from its current owners. Half of that money will go to the purchase and half will go to preservation and building visitor-amenities on the property.
The foundation needs to raise $5 million by December as security to keep the owners from listing the property for sale at that time, and it has to have the full $10 million by June of 2021 or the owners will get the property back to do with it as it will.
The plan to save Crystal Mill has garnered a lot of support, including the White River National Forest, Colorado Preservation Inc, History Colorado, Gunnison County, and many more.
"Preserving our past for current and future generations is essential to protecting our Colorado way of life. It is in this spirit, I write in support of preserving the beautiful, historic Crystal Mill property," wrote Colorado Representative Julie McCluskie in a letter of support.
However, what the foundation needs most is Colorado residents and those who love our state to help out. You can learn more about the mill, the foundation's preservation efforts, and make a donation at CrystalMillFoundation.org.
"The famous Crystal Mill is still standing and is an iconic Colorado Mill that should be available for future generations to see, experience and explore. The Crystal Mill demonstrates the tenacity and determination of the western spirit of men and women who came west to try their hands at mining and chase dreams of fortune in the 1880’s and the mining era. It is a priceless irreplaceable example of our Colorado western heritage that deserves to be preserved and managed for the next 100 years," said the foundation.