Work on the hoist house at the Matchless Mine is underway in an effort to overhaul and preserve the weathered building.
The project comes after years of preventative measures being taken against the decay of the building, Steve Whittington, director of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, said.
For the past 10 years, the organization has propped up the building’s structure against heavy snows and observed a leaky roof adding to the rot of the structure.
Since mid-August, work has been progressing at the site. Local contractors prepared the site, and staff and volunteers from HistoriCorp, a historic preservation nonprofit organization based out of Morrison, arrived at the beginning of September to complete the restoration work.
In their time working on the structure, HistoriCorps staff and volunteers have cleared away the built-up dirt from the base of the walls, replaced the rotted wood that made up the lower portions of the building’s facade, added a concrete retaining wall to increase drainage and prevent future dirt buildup, and started work on repairing the roof.
In addition to reworking the walls and roof, the project is replacing the forge in the building’s blacksmith shop. The old forge, which was rusted and badly deteriorated, was beyond restoration, Whittington said.
“This project is going to keep this building from falling down for a long time,” he said of the efforts being undertaken during this phase of the site’s restoration.
As one of the few remaining legally and publicly accessible buildings in Leadville’s mining district, Whittington said it is important to ensure the building remains intact and available for use.
HistoriCorps, which completed a separate restoration on the Matchless Mine’s headframe in 2017, plans to have the hoist house project completed by the first week of October, Jonathan Williams, HistoriCorps project supervisor, said.