The City of Boulder owns a significant portion of Valmont Butte, east of town, including the abandonded gold and fluorspar mill. The entire property is in the County and as part of a intergovernmental agreement, the City has been asked to grant landmark status to portions of the mill and associated buildings.
The City conducted a tour of the facility for Landmark Board members and we got a brief glance into the history of the place. Walking through the building was fascinating and frightening as only dark, abandoned buildings can be. Even in the middle of the day in the company of others, this place, with its obscure machinery, broken glass and menacingly dark corners is daunting and a bit thrilling.
Once a Landmark, what will happen with the mill? To clean it up and secure it for public tours will rob it of its mystery and power. It is decidedly too dangerous in its current condition to allow access. Every passage holds dangling wires, shards of glass and rusty metal flanges ready to pounce on the unwary visitor. The roof is coming off in sections and the entire place is probably a heavy metal contamination nightmare. To leave it as is, mothballed but beautiful in its decay and abandonment, would shut it off from the citizens who now own it. Any thoughts on what to do with these monuments to both an industrial past and the notion of the past in itself?