The Paris Mill is located on the eastern slope of the Mosquito Range in Park County, Colorado. Construction of the Mill was completed in 1895 to service the Paris Mine high above Buckskin Gulch on Mount Bross. The complex ore and high altitude location of the mine, which was first discovered in 1878, hampered the profitability of the mine and so its investors constructed the Mill and tramway in order to reduce transportation and smelting costs. The Mill saw a nearly constant stream of investors throughout its first 40 years who strove to improve its profitability and retrofit the building with the latest milling technology. Unfortunately, the Paris Mine hindered these endeavors by providing ore that was increasingly difficult to process, which would shut down the entire operation for years at a time while new technology was installed at the Mill. The Mill's period of significance begins with its construction in 1895 and continues to 1937 when major mill operations ceased. The Mill has primarily sat idle since the 1937 closure with its most recent occupation being a brief drilling operation in 1977. It was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A for Industry as well as Criterion C for Engineering and Architecture. The Mill is nearly complete, including its machinery, engineered systems, structural elements, and architectural aspects and is one of few intact mills remaining from this era in Colorado.
Preservation efforts at the Paris Mill have been occurring for nearly a decade, beginning with its naming as one of Colorado's Most Endangered Places in 2004. Since that time, Park County has designated the Mill as a Park County Historic Landmark, purchased the Mill, performed over $300,000 in voluntary site cleanup, and funded the preparation of a Historic Structure Assessment. More recently, the County has performed roof repairs, hosted annual Community Work Days, completed a National Register nomination, and temporarily stabilized a number of structural issues. Public comment on the future use of the Paris Mill was solicited as part of the nomination process and the overwhelming response was that the Mill should be preserved and opened for public tours. South Park National Heritage Area would like to thank the following organizations for their efforts to preserve the Paris Mill: Park County Office of Historic Preservation; Colorado Preservation, Inc.; Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative; Alma Foundation; Trust for Public Land; History Colorado; National Trust for Historic Preservation; and the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety.
In 2013, Park County received multiple grants to to repair the mill's cyanidation wing. Construction will begin in the summer of 2015 and will bring the mill one step closer to being open to the public. This project is partially funded by a State Historical Fund grant award from the Colorado Historical Society and by a grant from the Bill and Carol Gossard Preservation Fund for Colorado and the Peter Grant Preservation Fund for Colorado of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Private donations and additional funding from the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety have made this project a reality.
Park County and the South Park National Heritage Area are currently accepting donations for the preservation of the Paris Mill. You can donate online using the button below or mail a check to Historic Preservation PO Box 1373 Fairplay, CO 80440. Please make checks payable to Park County Historic Preservation and include "Paris Mill" in the memo line. 100% of all donations go directly towards the preservation of the mill.
If you have questions about the Paris Mill or would like to offer public comment about its future use, please send us an e-mail or call 719-836-4273.