Monday, February 29, 2016

Gilman: The mining town in Colorado that got so contaminated it had to be abandoned

The ghost town of Gilman, Colorado sits at an elevation of 8950 ft (2,700 m) on a dramatic 600-foot (180 m) cliff above the Eagle River on the flank of Battle Mountain. It was founded in 1886, during the Colorado Silver Boom. John Clinton, a prospector, judge, and speculator from nearby Redclliff developed the town and the nearby mining operations when gold and silver were discovered in two vertical chimneys at the Ground Hog Mine, which continued to produced gold and silver ore until the 1920s. By 1899, it had a population of approximately 300, as well as a newspaper, called the Gilman Enterprise.

During the early 20th century, the mining operations transitioned increasingly to zinc, although the Eagle Mine was still the leading producer of silver in the state in 1930. The mining district became the richest and most successful in Eagle County. Between the 1940s and 1980s, zinc was the principal product of the mines. 

By the 1980s the mining operations had become unprofitable and the ground water contaminated. In 1984 Gilman was abandoned by order of the Environmental Protection Agency because of toxic pollutants. Since then the town has been vandalised and the main street has been heavily tagged. It is said that there are no intact windows left anywhere in the city anymore. However, many parts of the town remain almost as they were when the mine shut down. 


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