Decades of Dunes: The 1920s

Image of an abandoned gold-processing mill built in 1929.
Image of an abandoned Volcanic Mining Company gold-processing mill built on the banks of the Medano Creek in 1929. The mill used amalgamation to extract flour gold from the sand. This process required the use of mercury, vats of cyanide, or other dangerous chemicals to slowly leach out the gold.

NPS Archive Photo

Milestone Memories of the 1920s:

  • The P.E.O. step-up their letter writting campaign to have the Great Sand Dunes federally protected.
  • 1929- the Volcanic Mining Company built a gold mining mill on the banks of the Medano Creek.
1920s Gold Dredge along the Medano Creek
The remains of a 1920s Gold Dredge along the Medano Creek.

NPS Archives Photo


Last updated: May 10, 2020

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