In 1891, Aspen, CO was on the verge of becoming the king of Colorado’s silver town and the five-story, 27,000-square-foot Holden Lixiviation Works was going to be the thing that got the town there. The mill opened on the west bank of Castle Creek on the outskirts of Aspen.
The plant used stamp mills, furnaces and chemical vats to coax silver out of the low-grade ore prodigiously produced by Aspen’s many mines. The mill and associated operations in surrounding buildings — a salt warehouse, assayer’s office and sampling operation — sprawled across 22 acres.
It operated barely more than one year — without a profit — before the U.S. government ended its mandatory purchase of silver and the market collapsed. The great Holden Works started a long decline. All that remains of the massive mill is the stone and brick foundation. The sampling shed is now the impressive Holden/Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum. The salt warehouse is a workshop.
A tiny part of the mill operation is being eyed as a big way to boost public awareness in one of the most important sites in Aspen’s mining history.
The Aspen Times tells the story of the efforts to restore the mill, using hand tools to construct a replica derrick that will help tell the story of the town’s rich mining history.
Read the article from The Aspen Times, here.