Sound Democrat Mill

The Sound Democrat Mill is an awesome find and one of the highlights of the San Juan Mountains.  The mine was first discovered in 1899. Gold and silver ore from the mine was packed on mules over a 13,000′ ridge to the Sunnyside Mill in Eureka Gulch.

In 1905, this mill was built closer to the mine to process ore from the Sound Democrat and the adjacent Silver Queen mines.  The mill originally had four stamps, and around 1909, it was enlarged to seven.  It ran for a few more years until 1914 when the mine and stamps fell silent.

The BLM has been restoring the mill and it is amazing to see some of the equipment still here after over a hundred years.  It is one of the most complete stamp mills remaining in the high alpine elevations of Colorado.  Please help protect it from further destruction.

Photos are from 2005 and a return visit in 2016.

Our road follows an old tramway up a high alpine valley. 2005. Our road follows an ...
Mine ruins. Mine ruins.
The Sound Democrat Mill.  Built in 1905 with 4 stamps.  We are around 12,000' in elevation.  It isn't often you find a stamp mill this high up. The Sound Democrat M...
Looking down the valley. Looking down the val...
Note the flume to bring water in.  Ballast box for a fallen tram in the left foreground. Note the flume to br...
The wall of the mill has fallen. The wall of the mill...
Concentrating table remains. Concentrating table ...
The mill started out at a 4 stamp, but was enlarged by 3 more stamps. The mill started out...
Ore feeders still in place. Ore feeders still in...
Ore bin feeds into the feeders. Ore bin feeds into t...
Fingers for the stamps.  Even some canvas remains. Fingers for the stam...
Mines abound. Mines abound.
The Mill. The Mill.
Creek crossing. Creek crossing.
The BLM is working to restore the mill and has placed a sign here. 2005. The BLM is working t...
We made a return visit in 2016. We made a return vis...
A little bit of snow remains in July. A little bit of snow...
We finally got up to the Sound Democrat Mill around sunset. We finally got up to...
A look down the valley. A look down the valley.
Walking around the mill. Walking around the m...
Wilfley concentrating tables. Wilfley concentratin...
Back wall has fallen off. Back wall has fallen...
Original four stamps on the right. Original four stamps...
Stamp batteries and feeders Stamp batteries and ...
Four single stamps. An early design. Four single stamps. ...
Fairbanks Morse & Companies' Nissen Stamp Fairbanks Morse &...
Looking down on a shaker table. Looking down on a sh...
Another stamp. Another stamp.
Stamp mill. Stamp mill.
Automatic ore feeders load each stamp battery. Automatic ore feeder...
I climb up to the top of the stamps. I climb up to the to...
Gates control the ore into the battery. Gates control the or...
Finger is in place to put the stamp in maintenance mode. Finger is in place t...
Camshaft, fingers and bull wheel. Camshaft, fingers an...
Some pieces have been stolen by idiots. Some pieces have bee...
Samson Jaw Crusher Samson Jaw Crusher
Looking down on it. Looking down on it.
Drive wheels Drive wheels
Workshop with blacksmith stump. Workshop with blacks...
The bench has misc parts on it. The bench has misc p...
Restored water tank Restored water tank
Ballast box for a tram. Ballast box for a tram.
It's beautiful up here. It's beautiful ...
Farewell for now. Farewell for now.

 


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