Group racing to lift $10M to protect iconic Crystal Mill close to Aspen earlier than potential sale


The Crystal Mill, a gorgeous relic of Colorado’s colourful mining previous, has stood crazily on a rock outcrop above the Crystal River within the Elk mountains since 1893. However after withstanding greater than a century of harsh winters in a rugged, distant setting close to the ghost city of Crystal, its days could also be numbered.
Historic preservation efforts to save lots of the construction by means of the intervention of a non-profit basis are underway, however Crystal Mill Basis president Heather Leigh mentioned $10 million should be raised by subsequent June to buy it from the personal household that owns it and safe its future, in any other case the homeowners are prone to promote it.
“We actually consider that making it a non-profit and placing it in a spot the place it’s preserved and guarded for the subsequent century will assist get it into the correct place, and we’ve a really small window to do it,” Leigh mentioned. “Now we have to get this completed inside the subsequent 12 months, or it rolls again to the household and they’re going to promote it to the very best bidder. If you happen to’re a billionaire and also you need a quiet retreat place to go, you (can) knock down the mill and nobody will ever come on that highway once more.”
That’s as a result of it’s not straightforward to get to the Crystal Mill, which is 6 miles west of Marble. The final Four miles is on a particularly rugged highway, making it a vacation spot largely restricted to hikers, mountain bikers and 4×Four autos.
However it’s solely 17 miles southwest from Aspen because the crow flies — a couple of minutes by helicopter — so Leigh fears it might be a lovely property to a billionaire eager to demolish the mill to discourage guests and construct a house close by. That’s why Leigh spent a 12 months establishing the non-profit basis to put it aside so guests can proceed to make the journey.
“It appears faux,” Leigh mentioned. “It appears like a Hollywood film set façade, out in the midst of nowhere. You suppose you’re by no means going to see it, you’re by no means going to seek out it, after which there she is. She is sitting up on this precipice of a rock outcrop, this silent majestic image of the American West, of Colorado and the willpower of individuals after they set their thoughts to one thing. I believe that’s what brings individuals again.”
Regardless of its title, it wasn’t truly a mill. It was constructed beside a dam with a water-wheel turbine to function an air compressor that served mines within the space. It closed in 1917.

At its peak, the city of Crystal was house to greater than 600, however now there are solely six residents, all of them summer-only.
The inspiration’s web site has letters of help from a number of entities supporting preservation, together with White River Nationwide Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams, Colorado Preservation Inc. director Kim Grant and Aspen Valley Land Belief govt director Suzanne Stephens.
Leigh mentioned $5 million is required to amass the property, whereas one other $5 million will likely be wanted to put in bogs, present a supply of ingesting water and restore a collection of steps from the construction right down to the river beneath.
“We have to be midway there by December, or the household might be going to listing the property on the market,” Leigh mentioned. “Now we have to have the $10 million earlier than June of 2021 or they get it again. The race is on.”
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