Colorado is famous for its history in the mining industry. There were many camps and towns built solely on the hopes of building a fortune from mining, and unfortunately, many of them eventually faded away when the money ran out.
All that’s really left of these abandoned towns in the Rocky Mountains is remnants of mining equipment and places resembling ghost towns. Almost all of these desolate locations have been completely devoured by time and the elements but some remain, and one of these places still attests to the beauty and majesty of Colorado’s famed mining past.
Built to house miners and mill workers of nearby mines, the town of Montgomery was founded in 1861. At one point, it was home to more than a thousand residents and had the biggest dance hall in the area, along with hotels and sawmills.
The nearby Mt. Lincoln is roughly 14,000 feet in height, and the Montgomery-folk named it after the President of the US at the time. Rumor has it that the residents even sent President Lincoln a bar of gold from their own Montgomery Mine.
Now, only the Magnolia Mill sits above the Montgomery Reservoir and quietly reminds all of the community that once thrived.
When the gold rush began to die down in 1890, the land was eventually purchased by Colorado Springs and completely flooded. That founded the Montgomery Reservoir, which acted as a prominent water supply.
Almost all of the town of Montgomery now lies submerged under water. As beautiful as the valley of water is, it’s slightly sad that a whole town was swept away by it.
As mentioned earlier, the Magnolia Mill still survives and watches over the city that used to be. The mill acts as a faint reminder of what the town of Montgomery might resemble if it was above water.
Mills were built to handle all of the ore that came from the mines, and the Magnolia Mill was one of six such mills in the area. It was built in the 1860s, and the building shown in the photos is actually a replacement structure that was built after the original burned down.
The mill is in relatively decent condition considering its age. Some of the equipment still sits in place, although it might not work quite as well as it once did.
In some areas the roof has caved in, and the equipment in those areas has been mostly removed.
A feat of engineering, the long walkway which ore would be transported through somehow still stands in place. It used to have a long conveyor belt to transport material, but it’s long been gone. Although it still stands, we wouldn’t suggest walking through it!
If you were hoping to explore the Magnolia Mill for yourself, we have some disappointing news for you. The mill was officially closed off for entry in 2015.
Maybe someday this incredible artifact from Colorado’s mining history will be restored and on display for all to see. Until that day, the surrounding sights are equally amazing and well-worth checking out. You’ll still be able to witness the Magnolia Mill as it watches over the former town of Montgomery.