Good self-guided tour. We were glad we watched the introductory video explaining the process, which helped us understand the processes we later saw in the mill. You also get to turn on some of the machinery and watch it operate! Highly recommend.
The mill sits like the day the they stopped operating it. Ore remains on the conveyor belts, spare parts are on the shelves, the ore carts hang on the cable in the tram tower and across the valley, metal shavings from the tool lathe remain. It is literally like they opened the mill one day and they shut it down at lunch and didn't reopen.The mill is fully intact with several types of mills to include steel ball, steel rod, and floatation.There is a large electric motor that is one if three manufactured. GE and the Smithsonian have tried to obtain this motor.Some of the machinery you can actually push a button and operate.The tour probably can be completed in an hour, but it took us over four as we are engineers and manufacturing type people. We enjoyed figuring out how things worked.I am amazed what was created over 100 years ago. We talk about technology today,but it is amazing to me what people designed, manufactured, and operated with the tools that they had back in this time period. An interesting note Tesla and Edison battled over AC or DC in these mountains as this area developed electricity before anywhere else. Electricity was established in the San Juan mountains before New York City.I highly recommend touring this mill.
I wrote my masters thesis on Leadville, Colorado and have been a mining buff for years, exploring old mining towns, giving programs on Colorado mining history, but the Mayflower Gold Mill was a first!! Active until 1991, this is an "intact" mill, with all the machinery there--conveyor belts, grinding machines and the metal balls that went inside, the dozens of bins and tanks that took the ore through the process of sorting and removing all the various materials that accompany the mining of any one specific ore. The tour is self-guided, so you can explore and examine the various segments of the mining process at your own pace. Anyone interesting in mining, engineering, chemistry, or just cool stuff would like the Mayflower Mill. The little shop at the end of the tour has rocks and geodes and books and stuff for sale.
We've prowled around the old mining roads by jeep and ATV but never took the time to stop at this historic site. On a recent rainy day, we decided to stop and are very glad we did. Very interesting and educational! The view from the tram house is worth the price of admission. The San Juan County Historical Society is charged with the preservation, maintenance and rehabilitation of this important heritage site, telling the story of the Mill but also of the people who worked there. A labyrinth of machinery, stairs, and equipment greets the visitor on a self guided tour after viewing a film. Do take time to watch the film, as it answers many of the questions you're sure to ask while touring the site. One of the small details we noticed was a small (3x5?) thin booklet of safety rules--today the safety rules fill several books and require hours upon hours of classroom training. If you have a problem with stairs, I'd say it might still be worth a visit to see the film and some of the exhibits that are viewable at ground level. It is an uphill walk from the main parking area, but as it was raining the day we were there, we were glad to see an arrow pointing uphill on a sign that said "Rainy Day and Flatlander Parking." Parking at the entrance is limited. Guided tours for groups can be arranged. At this time the entrance fee is $8.00 for adults; $7.50 for seniors, 12 and under free. Probably not suitable for very small children but interesting for school agers. If you plan to visit the Old Hundred Gold Mine and the Mining Heritage Center/jail, save money by purchasing a Heritage Pass.
Some tours of old ore processing mills are rather superficial and you don't get to see the machinery up close or the mill has just a few pieces of equipment remaining. This mill is just as it was when it shut down in 1991 with all of the equipment still in the building.The self-guided tour is amazing. You start off by looking at one of the few remaining aerial trams used to transport the ore from the mines, far across the valley, to the processing mill. The ore buckets are still hanging from the cables looking as if they are ready to go at a moment's notice.Descriptive signs explain the process of crushing rock into a fine powder and then how the powder is mixed with water and various chemicals to separate and extract the various metals. The separation of gold is particularly interesting.And for both big kids and little kids, it is fun to push buttons and see some of the machinery actually operate! This is a great tour if you are interested in knowing more about what happens to the ore after it comes out of the mines.
Mill is in excellent original condition. Tools, machinery, offices, etc, still in place and some operable with a push of a button! there is even still some ore in the buckets, and storage containers. A film starts the tour explaining more than I needed to know, but my husband loved it as well as the rest of the guys in our group.Extremely well preserved and presented, to show us all the workings of a REAL ore mill. Reasonably priced, and welcoming hostess.
Fascinating mill about what happens once the rocks come out of the mine. You will also get to pan for gold. A lot of places charge.
This was the "activity of the day" that my grandson picked to see. It was interesting, educational and entertaining for all ages. He loved all the machinery and belts. Some of the machines still can be operated at the push of a button. Well worth the price of admission.
I was amazed at the artifacts in the mill! Seemed like everything from the rock crushing to the gold assay was complete. The museum that accompanies the mill has many interpretive items and they staff was very knowledgeable. There are several parts of the mill that operate and give you a feel of what it would have been like to work there (without the noise) The tour was self guided so I did not feel rushed. I enjoyed looking out of the tram station and imagining riding one of the buckets to work in Arrista Gulch. A great trip back in time...
Unfortunately they were closed when we were there but you tell the buildings were still maintained and I am sure it would have been a great thing to see.