Deep in the heart of the Crystal River Valley lies the town of Crystal, Colorado. Today, Crystal is small, and that is putting it mildly, with just a seasonal population of a few hardy souls. It is mostly isolated from the world, and doesn’t even have electricity.
But back at the turn of the century, Crystal (then Crystal City) was quite the different place. With about 400 residents, it was a bustling mining community and its mill and stamp machinery served many of the area’s mines, including the highly profitable Black Queen. Processing the ore and preparing it for shipment to nearby Crested Butte, Crystal played a key role in the area’s mining operations.
The silver crash at the turn of the century changed all that, and Crystal faded to almost nothing almost overnight. Gone were its days of activity and glory; gone were its residents; gone was, almost, its very existence. Yet, despite the odds, the mill remains standing today, serving as a reminder of the days gone by.
Considering how busy the city and mill was, it has earned its time to rest. And so it does, enjoying the late afternoon sun in the autumn and its esteemed place in history.