Title: ARGO TUNNEL AND MINE
Location Current Site: Idaho Springs CO UNITED STATES
Creator Assoc Person Name: Wolf, Shayla
Creator Assoc Person Role: Photographer
Subject.Image Description: Equipment detail and mill
Style/Period Description: VERNACULAR
This term applies to ordinary everyday buildings, frequently not architect designed, which are direct responses to the needs of users. Vernacular buildings can be distinguished from High Style buildings, which are the self-conscious products of elite clients and designers. The works of Thomas Jefferson (a gentleman amateur designer) and those of Frank Lloyd Wright (a professional architect) are High Style artifacts, because, in addition to providing shelter, they were explicitly intended to produce an esthetic response in viewers and, most important, to make a significant cultural statement about the relationships of people to history or to nature. In contrast, vernacular buildings, such as 19th century American farm houses, were not unique or pretentious. The term vernacular originated with reference to language, to designate local, everyday speech from Latin which was spoken in church by the clergy.
The term refers to many types of buildings. Vernacular includes pre-industrial structures, folk architecture, or traditional buildings, such as the houses and barns of non-mechanized farmers in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Examples include the earliest structures erected by the first Europeans in the New World and cabins of early settlers in Colorado. Some vernacular buildings were built by the users, and others by specialist craftsmen, who followed time-honored patterns, placing little if any value on innovation or self-expression.
Industrial vernacular structures include pre-fabricated buildings, and those produced by builders on site for sail or rent using industrial materials such a steel, or industrially produced subassemblies such as windows. Like traditional or folk buildings, these are the "tools" of everyday life. Diners, storage sheds, and mobile homes do not embody complex philosophical or esthetic principles, and consequently can be changed or replaced as needed, without much concern for interfering with the designer's unique expression, as in the case of High Style buildings. Industrial buildings are frequently also Vernacular buildings, although architects have designed factories. Neither category is actually a style term in the strictest sense, although certain visual or formal qualities, such as simplicity of detail, are often common to both.
Subject Image View Type: Exterior, detail
Description.Subject Report: Vernacular is an architectural term used to categorize a type of structure constructed with regional materials and customs to concentrate on local needs and requirements. The Argo Gold Mine did just that. It was built to satisfy the growing demands for gold mining in the area. In 1859 George A. Jackson made first discovery of gold in Colorado at what is now known as Idaho Springs. It seemed as if the Rocky Mountain gold rush began overnight. 50,000 men overtook Clear Creek Canyon and many were rewarded well. After all the easy gold was taken from the creeks the miners moved to a slightly bigger challenge: the ‘hard rock’ or the gold source within the mountain. By 1902, over three hundred hard rock mines were being worked in the Idaho Springs area. The mining shafts got deeper and the miner’s work got harder. The further they went into the mountains the more water the miners encounter and flooding occurred. According to Merle L. Sowell, a local historian, the idea to drain the flooded mines by building a tunnel under the mines originated from Silas and Ralph Knowles. It was going to be the world’s largest mining project and when it was completed it was the longest tunnel in the world. The progress on the tunnel was setting new records with its over a half mile per year construction rate. The tunnel measures twelve feet in diameter for the first two and a half miles then narrows to six feet. The completed tunnel measured 4.16 miles in length. In 1910 the Argo Tunnel was completed. On January 19, 1943 the mine was closed due to miserable conditions. In 1976 the mill was purchased by James Maxwell and was quickly added to the National Historic Register. It has been renovated into a five-story museum displaying vintage equipment, artifacts, old payroll records, photographs and milling receipts. The Argo Mill has also been used as a set for many film productions and featured in many national and local publications.
Information from: http://www.historicargotours.com/
(By Shayla Wolf 2010)
ID Number.Former Image Accession VISC: 194972
Rights Description: Copyright owned by The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate, and the photographer. All rights reserved.
Source.Requestor Full Name: Lickteig, Lynn
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