January 7, 2009, began the year-long celebration of the discovery of gold by George Jackson on this same date in 1859. His discovery at the confluence of Clear Creek and Chicago Creek began the major gold rush for the state of Colorado.
At this location today, the U.S. Forest Service has its offices and visitor center. After the gold was panned out of the creeks the miners began to dig into the mountains to try and find the mother lode. Many were successful, and thus began the second stage of mining of the gold.
The miners needed a place to send the gold ore to, and thus began the building of mills to process the gold ore. Near the original site, the Mixsell Dam was built, which provided the water necessary for the processing of the gold.
There were five to even mills in this area, among them the Jackson Concentrating Works, the Big Five Mill, the State Ore Sampling Co. and the Mixsell Mill. All of these mills needed the water that was backed up by the Mixsell Dam.
The accompanying photographs show the area at the turn of the century, where today the bridge goes across to Highway 103. The current middle school building is just to the left of the Jackson Concentration Mill. According to some of the local citizens who were here when the Mixsell Dam was still holding back water, this was a great place in the winter to go ice skating.
These are a sampling of the many photographs that are in the Historic Society Of Idaho Springs collection. If you have any photos we could use, contact Don Allan at 303-519-0376.