Holden Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum

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Housed within an old barn in Aspen, Colorado, Holden Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum is located on the site of the Holden Lixiviation Mill.

It provides opportunities to learn about the town’s short-lived silver boom as well as its ranching history. On display are former silver refining artifacts and the remains of a family ranch.

Founded in 1891 as a 22-acre mill, the Holden Lixiviation Mill was one of only 18 plants built world-wide to utilize the experimental Russell Lixiviation process to refine low grade ore.

Though it employed the most sophisticated technology and industrial design of the times, the mill had only a 14-month life. It went bankrupt and was closed down when Congress demonetized silver.

In 1940, the Marolt family purchased the site and combined it with the Midland Ranch to form the Marolt Ranch. They primarily used the grounds for cattle ranching, raising pigs and chicken, and growing crops. An extensive vegetable garden was also maintained here for family purposes.

By the 1950s, they started to sell off the land due to several reasons such as decreasing forest service grazing acreage and financial strains of the children’s college education.

The site, managed by the Aspen Historical Society, was opened as a museum in July 2003.

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