Alta Lakes townsite

Year Listed: 2000
County: San Miguel County
Construction Date: 1890s-1930s
Threat When Listed: Development, Demolition by Neglect – Vacant
Status: IN PROGRESS
 

On a forest service road that climbs high above Telluride is a collection of crumbling buildings that were once the great mining town of Alta Lakes.  Constructed around the turn of the 20th century and active until the 1930s, the Gold King Mine at Alta Lakes, elevation 11,000 feet, was the first mine in the world to receive AC power.  This high-altitude, scenic ghost town is accessible by four-wheel drive and still retains many of the original structures.

In 1999, the U.S. Forest Service tried to purchase the land and buildings.  Funding fell through, ending its involvement.  The owners, Leucadia Financial Corporation, originally planned to demolish the structures to construct a resort village, but the plan was turned down by the county due to its density.

Recently, the owners have been approved to develop the 540-acre site for private residences (28 homes).  The company is working with the City of Telluride and the San Miguel County Open Space and Recreation Program in order to try and save the site’s historical integrity. Their efforts have so for included stabilizing the boardinghouse and rehabilitating one of the cottages.

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Featured Project

4 Bar 4 Ranch

Homesteaded in 1895 by Dick McQueary to provide a stop for the Georgetown Stage Line, the 320-acre 4 Bar 4 Ranch has strong ties to Grand County and Colorado's heritage. The Georgetown Stage Line traveled on the road through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch from Idaho Springs to Hot Sulphur Springs over Berthoud Pass. In 1895 a roadhouse and stage stop were constructed on the ranch. The hotel and barn were constructed using trees from the Ranch property, and the hotel remained open for travelers coming over Berthoud Pass by horseback and wagon until 1913. With the coming of the automobile, the roadway over Berthoud Pass and through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch was considered an integral part of the Trans-Continental “Midland Trail” highway. Following the closing of the stage line, the ranch continued to host travelers until 1912 or 1913 when it was purchased and converted into a Ford Motor Company . Ford vehicles were sold here until 1917, when Harry Larkin purchased the ranch site. Today emergency efforts are underway to ensure it survives through the winter. Donations are in need. To learn more, contact Jennifer Orrigo Charles at jorrigocharlges@coloradopreservation.org.

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