Historical Preservation

"Historical Context for the Creede Mining District"

Building a case for nomination to the National or State Registers of Historic Places

The Willow Creek Area consists of mines associated with the four major mineral producing veins. The farthest east and firstly discovered is the Holy Moses Vein, next, moving to the west, is the Amethyst, then the Bulldog, and the farthest west is the Alpha-Corsair vein with the Monon vein nearby.

All these vein systems except the Bulldog have many historical mining structures. Work at the Bulldog didn’t begin until the 1970's and ended in 1986.

Beginning in 1999, the WCRC contracted the services of Mountain States Historical in Boulder, Colorado for a Cultural Resource Inventory of the sites along the Amethyst, Holy Moses, and Alpha Corsair Veins. This consultant is an historical archaeologist and specialized in recording, evaluating, and interpreting historic mine sites. Funding for these inventories came from the U.S. Forest Service, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, and the State Historic Fund.

Initially, Mountain States Historical produced a 160 page "Historical Context for the Creede Mining District." This publication was produced from research of seven libraries and archival repositories, and includes Creede geology and physical setting, historic mining methods and technology, mine owner/worker arrangements, and the psychology of pioneer mineworkers of that era. This document is to serve as an historical framework for recent and future cultural resource inventory work.

Field methods of this historical investigation include and surpass Class III procedures as defined by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior and the Colorado State Historic Preservation Office. Each site was recorded with the intent to gather sufficient detailed information to reconstruct and interpret their operational and residential histories through examination of their physical remains, and to provide data to build a case for their nomination to or exclusion from the National or State Registers of Historic Places.

Registry listing for sites in the district is of interest to the WCRC and the historians of Creede due to the historical recognition and the eligibility for preservation oriented grants.  To be eligible for inclusion to these registers a site must include one or more of the following points:

  1. Association with events that made a significant contribution to broad patterns of history.
  2. Direct association with the lives of persons significant to our past.
  3. The embodiment of distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or representing the work of a master.
  4. A likelihood of yielding information important to history.

An exhaustive approach toward documenting remains of surface plants, transportation networks, support facilities, and residential complexes was entered into. Maps, drawings, photos, and floor plans were completed along with SHPO Historic Architecture and Building Survey forms. Each feature was assigned a number and then described with text. Descriptions attempted to capture physical constitution, size, historic function, era of operation, and relationship to other mines and components.  

The reports are available by clicking on the links below: