CAUTION: MapQuest and GPS Users -- Do not take the Schofield Pass road (Gunnison County Road 3) from Crested Butte to Marble, unless you are an experienced driver in a high clearance, short wheelbase 4X4. The Devils Punchbowl section of the road is treacherous. Lifts of at least 2 inches recommended.
To add some perspective, here are some demographic statistics circa 1900.
Marble is a Colorado Statutory Town which operates under Title 31, Article 1, Section 203 and Article 4, Section 300 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. Statutory Towns have an elected Mayor and a Board of Trustees composed of the Mayor and four or six additional members elected at large. Marble was incorporated in 1899 and is located in Gunnison County. Crystal River Jeep Tours and the Beaver Lake Lodge (both established in 1951) are the oldest business's in the city.
Marble information on Wikipedia: Marble, Colorado, Yule Marble.
Marble, Colorado: City of Stone. The history of Marble. Significant events are summarized from the book.
Colorado Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation -- Marble. The historic resources of Marble, Colorado and vicinity. Buildings on the National Historic Register. The link to the nomination form is a significant historical reference.
Buildings in Marble, Colorado listed on the State and National Historic Registers. (From Directory of Colorado State Register Properties, Gunnison County, and the National Park Service Register of Historic Places.)
101 W. Silver
National Register 4/4/1996, 5GN.2557
Constructed during the 1905-1917 building boom, the house is associated with the settlement of the town and the development of the local marble industry. It is significant as a well-preserved example of the town’s settlement-era architecture. Listed under Historic Resources of Marble, Colorado and Vicinity Multiple Property Submission.
MARBLE CITY STATE BANK BUILDING
105 W. Main St.
State Register 8/11/1999, National Register 9/17/1999, 5GN.2872
Constructed in 1909, the first floor retail space of this simple vernacular, front gabled roof building originally housed a millinery shop. The Marble City State Bank operated in the building from 1912 to 1918, and the concrete vault and safe remain in place. It is the only known building in Marble that utilized stacked timbers in the construction of its walls.
MARBLE HIGH SCHOOL
412 Main St.
National Register 8/3/1989, 5GN.2041
The 1910 building features many Craftsman-style elements, including its overhanging eaves, "elephantine" porch piers of marble, and nine-over-single paned windows. The school was built in response to a population increase related to the founding of the Colorado Yule Marble Company. After 1917, the company cut operations, and the population of Marble dwindled considerably. By the 1920s, both elementary and high school classes were taught in the building, and the school closed in 1941. For a time, the Marble Historical Society owned the building and used it to house a museum. During the 1990s, it was reopened as the Marble Charter School. Listed under Historic Resources of Marble, Colorado and Vicinity Multiple Property Submission.
MARBLE MILL SITE / COLORADO YULE MARBLE CO.
Park & West 3rd
National Register 2/7/1979, 5GN.270
Constructed sometime between 1896 and 1905, the mill produced marble that was used in the construction of the Lincoln Memorial and in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as a host of significant buildings in Oregon, California, and Colorado. The plant consisted of departments for sawing, polishing, and carving. Most of the facility was constructed of marble. The mill survived a series of disasters, including a snow slide in 1912 and a fire in 1925. It eventually closed in 1941 due to market issues and transportation costs. By the late 1970s, the mill was in ruins. Efforts to re-open the quarry commenced after 1989.
MARBLE TOWN HALL
407 Main St.
National Register 8/3/1989, 5GN.2042
Built circa 1908, the Marble Town Hall is significant for its Dutch Colonial Revival architectural features, and for its role in the development of the town of Marble. As many as ninety-one cottages were built in Marble in response to the housing shortage created by the establishment of the Colorado-Yule Marble Company in1905. The Marble Town Hall originally functioned as a company cottage. In the 1960s, it was relocated to a new site in Marble and adapted into a town hall. The building is one of Marble’s best examples of company cottage architecture and in the late 1980s was one of only three large company cottages still in existence. Listed under Historic Resources of Marble, Colorado and Vicinity Multiple Property Submission.
WILLIAM D. PARRY HOUSE
115 Main St.
National Register 8/3/1989, 5GN.2043
Constructed in 1891, this house was built by William D. Parry, who along with William Wood, was responsible for founding the town of Marble. Considered an example of Marble’s settlement-era architecture, the William D. Parry House is a vernacular wood frame building with some ornamentation. The house remained in Parry’s family until 1950. After that, Mary and Paul Ganley purchased the home. Listed under Historic Resources of Marble, Colorado and Vicinity Multiple Property Submission.
ST. PAUL’S CHURCH
123 State St.
National Register 8/3/1989, 5GN.1355
Originally known as St. John’s Episcopal Chapel, the church was built in Aspen in 1886 by the Episcopal Missions of Western Colorado. In 1908, it was relocated to Marble and was renamed St. Paul’s Church. Two rooms were added to the rear of the building, and a belfry was added in 1911. The church is Marble’s only example of Gothic architecture and is an example of early religious structures of late 19th century mining communities in Colorado. Once the local marble quarries and mill shut down in 1941, the church closed. In 1974, the present congregation received permission to move into the church in exchange for maintaining the building, which they purchased in 1985. Listed under Historic Resources of Marble, Colorado and Vicinity Multiple Property Submission. (Marble Community Church web site.)
HISTORY OF CRYSTALThe town of Crystal was incorporated in 1880. There were as many as 400 residents, mostly miners and their families and support services. Today it is considered a ghost town with summer residents only. Area mines included silver, lead, iron, copper and zinc. Very little gold was discovered in the valley. Most mines in the area ceased operations in the early 1900's.
Among the last mines to remain open was the Black Queen (silver), Lead King (lead, copper, silver) and Copper King mines. The Black Queen was among the most prolific silver mines in the state and is somewhat infamous because of it's owner, Captain (Helen) Jack, who was also a frontier character in the Colorado Springs area. The Lead King and Copper King mines are located in Lead King Basin. The Copper King was in limited operation as late as circa 1970. Lead King Paul's cabin was once a zinc mine called Meadow Mountain Mine Number 2.
Crystal... What Really Happened. The history of Crystal City by Roger Neal, resident and area historian. The book is available from Roger in Crystal City during the summer season, or online from Crystal Tale Books.
Wikipedia listing for Crystal City: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal,_Colorado
Wikipedia listing for the Crystal Mill: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_Mill
How the Crystal River Valley got its name: Turning Rock Creek into Crystal River
Colorado Ghost Town: Crystal City
History of the Crystal Mill from the US Forest Service: Crystal_Mill.pdf
Treasure Mountain Ranch souvenir brochure.
Buildings in Crystal, Colorado listed on the State and National Historic Registers. (From Directory of Colorado State Register Properties, Gunnison County, and the National Park Service Register of Historic Places.)
County Rd. 3, 7 miles southeast of Marble
National Register 7/5/1985, 5GN.1627
Constructed in 1892 for use as a powerhouse, the wooden Crystal Mill sits on a dramatic rock outcrop above the Crystal River near the town of Marble. It consists of three sections: the compressor house, the gear house, and the penstock. The mill generated power for mining operations of the Sheep Mountain Mining and Tunnel Company until after 1917. The Crystal Mill is reportedly one of the most photographed sites in Colorado and has appeared in many publications.
Star Route #3
State Register 12/13/1995, 5GN.2432
The 1889 Tays House was built during the early settlement of the Crystal River Valley and the town of Crystal. It is a well-preserved and essentially undisturbed example of a late 19th century miner’s residence.
GORP Travel - Crystal City and Lead King Basin
Crystal City Four-Wheel Drive Road
Lead King Basin Four-Wheel Drive Road
Schofield Pass Four-Wheel Drive Road
Google image search on Marble, Colorado. Hundreds of images of Marble and the surrounding area.
From Crested Butte, County Road 3 to the summit of Schofield Pass is a tame Jeep road. From the summit the road gets progressively rougher until you get to the Devils Punch Bowl (a short distance west of Schofield Park and about 2 miles east of Crystal City). The river ford is the last opportunity to turn around. The Devils Punch Bowl is among the most treacherous 4WD roads in the state. It consists of a steep grade with the road cut into a rock face, rising to some 500 feet above the river crossing at the bottom. The road is very narrow, barely wide enough for a full size pickup (literally inches) and very rocky. Most years there's a snow bridge at the bottom of the Punch Bowl that prevents passage, or a large rock has fallen. Inquire before attempting because backing up the road is risky. Of all the jeeping we have done, the Devils Punch Bowl is the only one my wife never wants to travel, ever again. This photo was taken in 2009 of an accident on the road. -- Smitty
If you decide to attempt the road to Crystal City or Lead King Basin, please keep in mind the following rules of off-road etiquette.
Please yield the right-of-way to hikers, horses, bicyclists, and vehicles going up hill.
2. Leave no trace.
Pack it in, pack it out. If you see trash on the trail, pick it up.
3. Do not go off the trail and do not widen the trail.
Millions of acres that once were available to off-roaders are now closed because of improper use. Every time someone misuses a trail it puts everyone that much closer to losing more ground. Please respect the area you are in and try to enhance the image of off-roaders, not erode it.
4. When you really have to go, bring a shovel.
Solid waste should be buried at least 6 inches deep and 100 yards from any campsite and/or water. There is a public outhouse in Crystal City behind the store.
5. Air down your tires.
This improves traction and helps prevent punctures (20-25 psi recommended).
6. Don't harass the wildlife.
And don't let your pet do it either. Keep them under control. By law all pets must be leashed while in the White River National Forest areas.
7. Do not speed.
Excessive speed, and the noise and dust that go with it, is no ones friend off-road. Our drivers average 2.5 mph on the trail and rarely spin a wheel. If you do not have four-wheel drive, you probably should not attempt this road. If you want to ride a motocross or race off-road, find a track.
8. Be prepared.
Water, food, spare tire and jack come to mind. Sensible footwear and dressing in layers helps as well.
9. Read this web page:
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Last Update: January 2016
Crystal River Jeep Tours