Hanging Flume Reconstruction Project

Hanging Flume Reconstruction Project

San Miguel River, Montrose County

Holding fast to the cliffs high above the San Miguel River, the Hanging Flume is much more than a marvel of engineering. It is a statement driven in stone – a monument to an era of innovation and “can-do” attitude in the 1880s. The Flume, an open water chute, was used to transfer 80 million gallons of water per 24-hour period from the San Miguel River through 13 miles of wooden flume and earthen ditch to the northern most Brancroft Claim for placer mining, located just four miles from the confluence of the San Miguel and the Delores River.

IAWC with the support of the BLM Montrose Field Office proceeded with plans to reconstruct 48 feet of the historic Hanging Flume located along the San Miguel River in Montrose County. The project came about during initial investigation of the Flume in October of 2004 by Robert Silman Associates P.C., Engineers with funds from a State Historic Grant administered by IAWC.

Teams of experts were trying to find the answer to “how did they do that?” Through the support of private funders JM Kaplan Fund and the John Hendricks Family Foundation, funding was made available. IAWC administered the funds and managed the over all construction project. Lead by Ron Anthony, of Anthony and Associates, wood specialist and Vertical Access the project got under way in the spring of 2012. In five days the project was completed.

An engineering marvel, the Flume was constructed using earthen and wooden canals, wooden bents and a wooden box secured by iron rods and fasteners. Without photographs or written accounts of the Flume’s construction, experts can only speculate on how it was built.

Today the Flume is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the longest historic structure in the State of Colorado. In 2006 the Montrose Placer Mining Company Hanging Flume was listed by the Worlds Monument Fund as one of the “100 Most Endangered Sites in the World.”

For more information, visit www.HangingFlume.org

Hanging Flume Photo Gallery