The World Museum of Mining sits on the grounds of a formerly active mine and boasts many different original structures and equipment, encapsulating a major part of Butte, Montana’s, rich mining history.
By the late 19th century to the early 20th century, the town had established itself as one of the major copper boomtowns of the American West. At that time, copper was in high demand and was needed for new technologies, including the use of electric power. By 1910, Butte was dubbed “the richest hill on Earth,” as it had many different mines sprawled around its city limits.
One such mine that was unveiled within the city in 1875. It was known as the “Orphan Girl Mine,” also nicknamed “Orphan Annie” or just “The Girl,” because of its desirably cool working temperatures (55 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit).
The Orphan Girl Mine had been mined to a depth of 3,200 feet and surprisingly did not produce copper, but did produce silver, lead, and zinc. The mine closed in 1956 and in 1963 the land was designated to become the site of the World Museum of Mining, which opened its doors to the public in July of 1965.
The Orphan Girl mine yard features many still-standing original structures from the mine’s heyday, including the 100-foot-tall headframe and the Hoist House (the headframe was renovated in 2013, making it accessible to walk up into). The Hoist House also houses other exhibits as well as original equipment.
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