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 Post subject: Colorado anthracite mines
PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 8:27 am 
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Anthracite breaker in Gunnison county Colorado, 1909

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Ruby anthracite mine. Colorado 1909


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:37 pm 
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Location: Hard coal region, PA
holy hell thats sweet :shock:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:45 pm 
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Location: New Zealand
Ah Yes! What you got there is the end (and reason) of the 3 foot gauge Denver & Rio Grande Western's Floresta branch west of Crested Butte. The name of the mine was the Ruby-Anthracite but another branch north of Crested Butte went to a place called Anthracite(Smith Hill Mines) and Ruby was a silver mining district north of there so the place was called Floresta. The elevation was 9861ft. and was 327 rail miles from Denver via Pueblo. The 11 mile long line was constructed in 1893, Colorado Fuel & Iron closed the mine in '29, the rails were pulled up soon afterwards.
The breaker which was termed the largest west of Pennsylvania was constructed in 1898 and was 114ft high, 76 ft wide and 124 ft long.

The Smith hill mine 4 miles from Crested Butte was on the Anthracite branch and continued untill closed in1954. Without this traffic and other coal mine output in the area, the 3ft gauge lines were pulled up west of Salida.

Chris.
in New Zealand.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 9:18 pm 
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Location: Hard coal region, PA
now THAT says expedition alll over it!

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:54 am 
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Location: Western PA
nice, tony!

where'd you find those pictures at?

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 11:24 am 
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Location: Harrisburg, PA (or in the coal fields)
Nice find.That would be nice to roam around out that way.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:40 pm 
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Location: New Zealand
The Denver Public Library has a hugh collection of digital images including some of Floresta as well. There's one by Wolle of the remains taken in the 50's of the only building left standing there. The Breaker was demolished.

http://history.denverlibrary.org/images/index.html

e.g. Florestahttp://photoswest.org/cgi-bin/imager?20005004+CHS.X5004
Smith Hill anthracite minehttp://photoswest.org/cgi-bin/imager?20100627+CHS.J627
Remains of Florestahttp://photoswest.org/cgi-bin/imager?10004852+X-4852

If you want to see more as in book form, you might want to seek out "Trails among the Columbine 1989". Sundance Pub. or "Gunnison". R.L.Dorman Publishing...... both railroad books devoted to the Gunnison country.

Chris.
in New Zealand.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 8:30 am 
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Excellent links. Saved me alot of work as I was looking for some photographs of what remains.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:22 pm 
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Oh boy. I know a bit about Colorado. Spent a total of fifteen years inspecting those mines. South of Glenwood Springs, off of Anthracite Creek, there were some old mines too. When I get back to work, I'll put up some pictures.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:54 am 
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That would be interesting to see the pics.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:47 pm 
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The mine I used to love/hate to inspect in CO was Mid-Continent Coal Company's Coal Basin Mine. It was an old gassy coal mine right near Anthracite Creek, but I can't say it was an anthracite mine. Don't remember. Don't know when it started, but it was an old nasty place. There had been some disasters there and it was the only mine I know of where MSHA maintained a permanent office.

The topographic feature called Coal Basin is beautiful. One of my favorites in CO. Access is limited to foot or horseback, but we were authorized to run 4 wheelers as part of our inspections.

There were five portal locations that were very spread out. The highest portal was somewhere around 11,000' in elevation; the highest coal mine in the US. We saw mountain goats a couple of times coming off Huntsman Ridge.

Avalanches were bad. I remember there were pictures in the mine office of mangled equipment, one bulldozer for sure, that had been swept off of the bench. They used to control snow load with cannons...or try to.

Anyway, since I am an environmental inspector, I hated the place. PCB's, coal waste, etc., washing into the Crystal River which feeds the Roaring Fork. They wiped all life out of Dutch Creek. The portals weren't above timberline, but quite close. Reclamation in that environment, on those slopes had never been tried before in the US. They weren't good at it and eventually abandoned the mine and left us taxpayers to take care of it.

I had a number of actions on that site. All of my pictures that I took while it was active are in legal files in our Denver office. I did find some pictures of the part of the Basin though:

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This was one of the lower portals. Since the mine was opened before any environmental laws, they just pushed all the cut material over the outslope. Most of it was unrecoverable for reclamation. As you can see, not much was available to eliminate this wall.

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The black shale on the outslopes defines where they had some portals or vents. There are two portal benches in this photo, an old substation bench, and I think a storage area; just a small part of the overall disturbance.

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Getting a permanent vegative cover capable of stabilizing the soil surface on these slopes, with a northern aspect, where they probably get 30-40 feet of snow a year is...difficult, especially when alot of the growth medium is crappy ol' pre-law spoils.

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All the crap washing into Dutch Creek during a wet time.

Now, here is why I loved it:
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View from one of the benches. That's a sedimentation pond down in the bottom.

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Just another view off one of the benches.

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A little throttle will give you a thrill. (No, I don't ride with my handgun in that position :lol: )

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Break time. The guy standing is the current head of the Colorado coal program, and the other guy is the AML guy in charge of reclaiming the mine. Both good men.

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Left a little bit of history in place.

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Another bench, right in the middle.

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The dedicated public servant. I have loved my job.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:35 pm 
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Some one mentioned Crested Butte. I used to run between the North Fork of the Gunnison valley, over Kepler Pass and/or Ohio Pass, to inspect some mines near there.

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Somerset Mine in the Paonia valley.

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West Elk Mine a little further up valley. They had a longwall production record here for a bit, but Twentymile near Steamboat blew them away. West Elk would never acknowledge a fire inside; they always called them "thermal events".

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There are a couple of graves at the top of Kepler Pass in a little grove of aspens. One is of a teenaged girl. This was her marker. I have seen this since in other graveyards, but I was taken with it at the time.

The rest are pictures of the drive from Paonia to Crested Butte...gotta be careful, snows can move in fast and trap you. These were all taken on my last drive, just before I moved to OK.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:18 pm 
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
wow! now how would you like to come outside after a shift to one of those sights!!! great photos!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:23 pm 
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Those photos are awesome. You had the job of a lifetime. actually paid and get to ride ATV's as part of the job !!! And throw in mining.... especially like the one with the concrete opening.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:54 pm 
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Nice pics Mate, went that way myself a few years ago during the peak fall clour and saw gold for miles. Excellent, thanks for posting.
Chris
in New Zealand

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