Ute Ulay Mill and Town Site

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Year Listed: 2015
County: Hinsdale County
Construction Date: 1870s through early 1900s
Threat When Listed: Demolition by Neglect – Vacant


Video courtesy of CBS4

The Ute and Utlay mines were some of the best known silver and lead producers in Colorado.  Between 1874 and 1903, the mines were responsible for $12 million worth of minerals which today would amount to more than $280 million in value.  Located in Hinsdale County, the mines were largely responsible for the development of Lake City.  The booming mining-based economy attracted many people to the area and the mines continued to produce on and off through the 1980s.

Thanks to LKA Gold, the ten-acre site has been donated to Hinsdale County and the environmental stabilization work completed with the help of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Colorado Department of Public Health & the Environment (CDPHE), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  The site consists of 18 structures including residential cabins, a blacksmith shop, a boarding house, a red-cedar water tank, and assayer’s office.  Over the past 20 years, the structures have continued to degrade during adverse weather and many are unstable.  Due to the unsafe nature of the site, the public is currently not allowed near the buildings.  Each structure requires an assessment to identify their own individual needs.

The Ute and Ulay mines, mill complex and surrounding Henson town site are rare examples of a more complete mining community with large amounts of historic fabric remaining.  The site’s location along the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway increases its opportunity for education and as a heritage tourism destination.

Since listing, Colorado Preservation, Inc. partnered with HistoriCorps to host a weekend workshop at the site to install a new roof on a section of the mill.  The site has also been awarded funds for various projects including the Division of Minerals, Reclamation & Safety (DRMS) for emergency stabilization of buildings and a five-day HistoriCorps project; a USDA Rural Development grant for business planning, and a BLM grant for a National Historic Register nomination application. The Ute Ulay is moving forward with Hinsdale County and other groups actively working to preserve and stabilize the site. It was awarded a Stephen Hart Award by History Colorado for such efforts. The site needs to identify funding sources and address immediate concerns with the flume, as progress incrementally continues toward saving this resource.

Additional Links:

Lake City Dirt: Ute Ulay Project
Lake City Facebook