Matchless Mine Headframe Restoration Underway
You can see them scattered all across Leadville’s historic mining district. They can be seen though the stately blue spruce and quaking aspens. Headframes are those carefully crafted timber structures that loom over the underground portals, as if standing guard above the fortunes extracted from the earth. And one of Leadville’s best known headframes is now being restored, ready to stand guard for another 100 years.
The iconic Matchless Mine headframe looms above the last remaining open mine shaft at the popular historic tourist attraction, which is owned and managed by the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM). These giant timbers were used to raise and lower miners and materials into the shaft that was known to extract millions of dollars of precious metals. The 125-year-old wooden structure has weathered many Leadville winters, but it is in danger of collapse.
Fortunately, help has come from another mining giant with a $13,500 challenge grant through the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation’s Community Investment Fund. Now, the NMHFM is hoping that others will express their passion for keeping Leadville’s mining heritage alive and donate, so that the NMHFM meets the match obligation by raising another $13,500 by December 1, 2017. And volunteers can be assured that the team has a solid plan in place and ready to execute it with professional help – and hopefully yours too! Here are the details:
A 2010 Historic Structure Assessment funded by the State Historical Fund rated the headframe’s condition as “Fair to Poor.” The powder magazine, whose condition the report rated “Fair,” by 2014 faced imminent collapse. The NMHFM successfully restored that structure with support from the State Historical Fund and private donations. The powder magazine’s decline suggests local conditions may cause the headframe to deteriorate quickly if it is not stabilized. If it collapses, the site will lose much of its tourist appeal and historic value.
There will be two five-day work sessions in September with a project supervisor and a crew leader from HistoriCorps and four to six volunteers per session. Anyone interested in being a volunteer on the project can connect HERE.
HistoriCorps will provide historic preservation expertise and logistical support and trained staff, volunteers, and tools and equipment. Its involvement will be beneficial because the NMHFM and other local historic organizations do not have funds or expertise to stabilize and restore endangered historic structures. The partnership will help the NMHFM to fulfill its mission and will help preserve an important Lake County tourist destination.
For more details contact: Stephen Whittington, Executive Director, at 719-486-1229 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org