SAN JUAN EXPEDITION 1: THE BAGLEY MILL

Greetings from the Bureau of Exploration. This is the first section of a field report by the Mining Infrastructure and Geological Survey Corps on places of interest in the San Juan Mountains.

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Entering Bagley Mill, my fellow Bureau operative and I wandered through rooms of long-silent machinery, rafters punctuated by sky, towering columns still standing after over a century of abandonment.

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The initial area we entered has many lines of pillars supporting the floor above. A short stairway up, we reached a half-collapsed great room.

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Immense, rusted funnels can be seen outside, and the remnants of various machines are still held up in the decaying ceiling. Records state that this mill, once one of the most productive in the San Juan Mountains, processed 150 tons of ore per day.

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On the floor and high in the ceiling, the mill is full of stairways which lead to nowhere.

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What struck me the most about the mill is just how much blue sky you can see from inside. One of the most interesting aspects of exploring these old buildings is the ambiguity of where exactly the interior ends and the exterior begins. How many walls does a room have to be missing, or how much of the roof must be gone, for a place go from being inside to outside?

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