Glenwood Springs, Colo. — On Sunday, Aug 3, 2014, SGM, and local Snowmass Contractor Summit Construction, joined forces to help preserve pieces of the historic Crystal Mill. Twenty-four volunteers completed numerous items on the list for this year’s Crystal Mill Restoration Project.
Each year SGM commits to performing a few service projects, or four or five. Service projects are most often chosen by a staff person who has the passion for a particular project and has the will to lead a team of volunteers. The service projects generally involve preserving, restoring or building trails, roads or bridges.
The Crystal Mill is reportedly one of the most photographed historic sites in Colorado and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Originally it was built as a compressor station which used a water turbine to drive an air compressor for the mining equipment for a nearby mine. When the mine closed, the mill ceased operation. Since then it has seen the care of individuals and historical societies in the region; although currently owned by a private party, it continues to receive donations to maintain its structural integrity.
Matt Hutson, its caretaker and an SGM project manager, and several other staff felt the old mill would serve as a rewarding SGM service project. The SGM Grassroots Committee quickly agreed and began planning an approach late last summer.
A site visit a few weeks ago by Hutson, several SGM structural engineers, and contractors from Summit Construction, identified critical tasks to be addressed in the restoration project. Stabilization of aging penstock — an ongoing process — was started with the help of Summit Construction. The bottom logs at the rear of the building had deteriorated and were replaced with a tree that had been cut down from last year’s restoration project. A few other items that had been taken care of; such as the installation of the door on the downstream side and a general interior and exterior clean-up of the mill. In addition, numerous chainsaws were used to cut down trees and brush within 100 feet of the structure to provide defensible space to protect the mill from potential adjacent fires.
Next year, the team will look at replacement of the bottom front logs on the corners of the building above the mill pond and fire mitigation efforts, as well as general clean-up of the interior and exterior of the mill.