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Crystal River Powerhouse

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1892. Gunnison County 3, 7 miles southeast of Marble (NR)
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

One of Colorado's most photographed buildings generated electricity for nearby mines. This steep-gabled log structure perched on a rock outcropping in the Crystal River consists of a round-log compressor house attached to a single-story board-and-batten gear house. A penstock of rough-milled 6-inch-square cross braces on 12-by-12-inch vertical beams descends directly to the river from below the gear house. The operation closed in 1917, and the mechanical equipment, water wheel, and dam are gone, but the stabilized powerhouse remains.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel


What's Nearby


Thomas J. Noel, "Crystal River Powerhouse", [Carbondale, Colorado], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Colorado, Thomas J. Noel. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 544-544.

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