Archive | United States Mining History

[South Dakota] The Black Hills Gold Rush – by John Matuszak (Kelly Collectors – August 31, 2020)

Deadwood, South Dakota (Wiki Image)

Fans of the television series Deadwood will be somewhat familiar with the Black Hills Gold Rush. It is this gold rush that forms the background of the television series. Indeed, it is one of the more transformative events in American history, despite being somewhat lesser-known.

There were rumors of gold in the Black Hills region in the early years of the 19th Century. Sioux Indians were rumored to have been mining gold in the region as early as 1860. However, there was one small thing preventing Americans from mining gold in the region: the Treaty of Fort Laramie, which recognized the land as belonging to the Sioux.

There is another point of law that is relevant to the Black Hills Gold Rush: The General Mining Act of 1872. This allows Americans to mine for minerals anywhere on federal land. The problem, for American prospectors, is that none of the land in the Black Hills was federal land — it belonged to the Sioux. Continue Reading →

Coal Miners Helped Shape America’s Labor Landscape. Their Industry Is Fading, But That History Is Worth Remembering – by Mark A. Bradley (Time Magazine – October 13, 2020)

Ahuge sigh of relief could be heard across the coalfields on Sept. 16 when Murray Energy Holdings, America’s fourth largest coal producer, announced that a federal bankruptcy judge had approved its Chapter 11 plan to sell all its assets to American Consolidated Natural Resources (ACNR), a new company set up by its former creditors.

ACNR is now the largest privately owned coal operator in the United States. Its owners hope to extract about 35 million tons of bituminous coal a year from its pits, and they have agreed to hire United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) coal miners, who once worked for Murray, to help them do it.

This is good news for the union’s sorely pressed coal miners, who could use the work. How long Murray’s reincarnation will last, however, is anyone’s guess. Continue Reading →

Visit To Virginia City Worth Its Weight In Silver (Escalon Times – August 25, 2020)

There was a time I would go to Virginia City eight times or so a year. It was back when my idea of fun was driving to the base of Geiger Grade off Highway 395, hopping on a racing bicycle, heading up to Virginia City, dropping down to Carson City, climbing up Spooner Grade, pedaling by Lake Tahoe, struggling up Mt. Rose and then pushing it to the limits downhill often topping 55 mph.

It was 88 miles of pure bicycling bliss involving 8,200 feet of climbing that allowed me to make two trips to the Sizzler’s salad bar for heaping full plates plus dessert in south Reno afterwards.

One time after doing the loop the guys I was with decided it might be nice to see what was in Virginia City instead of pedaling through it at 18 mph without stopping. That is when I fell in love with the place as well as the history of the Comstock. Continue Reading →

Tommy Knockers and the coal mines: A PA legend – by Emma Downey (North Central – August 8, 2020)

The coal mines of Pennsylvania were dark, dirty, and deadly. Among the many stories, folksongs, and superstitions of the coal miners comes the legend of a curious creature: The Tommy Knocker.

Tommy Knockers pronounced “knacker,” were described as small, little men who worked alongside the miners inside the mines. The creatures were known to be mischievous, described as stealing miners’ tools or food, but also benevolent helpers.

The creatures were blamed for missing tools and stolen items as well as saving the lives of many miners. The miners believed the creatures would “knock” on the side of the mine to warn miners of an impending collapse. Continue Reading →

History preserved: Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority turns restored structure over to city – by Jackie Jahfetson (The Mining Journal – July 1, 2020)

MARQUETTE — Driving west into Marquette along U.S. 41, passers-by come across a stone structure that resembles an igloo on the Iron Ore Heritage Trail.

Were those curious aware at one time the kiln was used to burn wood into charcoal which fed blast furnaces that converted iron ore and limestone into pig iron during the late 19th century?

After the last of the 43 Carp River kilns collapsed in a heavy wet spring snowstorm in 2016, the historical sandstone structure has been resurrected and was officially turned over to the city of Marquette Monday during a ceremony. Continue Reading →

Mine Tales: Miami-area mines often led Arizona’s copper production in 20th century – by William Ascarza (Arizona Daily Star – June 8, 2020)

The Miami-Inspiration Mining District has a long history of copper production. Some of its most prominent mining properties include the Inspiration, Miami and Copper Cities mines, which led Arizona’s copper production at intervals during the 20th century.

The area known as Miami was first noted for reddish outcrops that enticed prospectors like Black Jack Newman to invest and develop. Newman’s initial acquisition totaled 13 claims comprised of 260 acres.

With the backing of J. Parke Channing, a successful mining engineer who optioned Newman’s claims, the Miami Copper Co. was formed in 1908 with the financial backing of the Adolph Lewisohn family in New York. Continue Reading →

Homestake history detailed in Mitchell book – by Tim Velder (Rapid City Journal – December 2, 2002)

The history of the Homestake Mining Company in the Black Hills is a parallel with the overall history of the region, taking it from the unsettled Indian country in the mid-1870s, to an industrially-developed area rich with natural resources.

Steven T. Mitchell, a former manager at the Homestake Mine, has detailed this historical transition and permanent presence the mining company had in this area in a new book to be released this month titled “Nuggets to Neutrinos: The Homestake Story.”

Mitchell, a life-long resident of the Black Hills, recently discussed his new book during a special presentation at the Adams Museum. His book tells the story of how the Homestake Mine came into existence and its development into the largest underground mine in the world. Continue Reading →

Sense of Place: With One Last Stick of Dynamite, Two Miners Decided Joplin’s Fate – by Claire Kidwell ( – June 18, 2018)

Today, the City of Joplin is a thriving hub for health care and transportation. But there was a time when it was no more than a collection of tents huddled around a series of mines.

Walking into the Joplin History Museum, you’re greeted by the two resident cats who watch over the building—and an entire wing designed to look like an old mine.

Old mining equipment rests in the front lawn. It’s immediately obvious how much the mining industry once influenced the area. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Solaris Regrets to Announce Passing of David Lowell (May 5, 2020)

VANCOUVER, May 5, 2020 /CNW/ – Solaris Resources Inc. (“Solaris” or the “Company”) regrets to announce that J. David Lowell, a consultant and strategic partner of the Company, passed away at his home in Tucson, Arizona, earlier this week at the age of 92. David is survived by his wife, daughter and two sons.

Daniel Earle, President & CEO, commented, “We are deeply sorry to have learned of David’s passing and extend our thoughts and prayers to his family and everyone touched by this extraordinary person. David was the ‘World’s Best Mine Finder,’ discovering 17 major minerals deposits over a 50-year career. Our flagship project, Warintza, was a discovery he made while exploring in southeast Ecuador in the early 2000s, and our pipeline of grassroots exploration projects were his targets for future discoveries.”

Up until the very end of his life, David was busy designing programs to test his vision for the future of discovery in the Americas. Innovation and ingenuity were constants throughout his legendary career, which began with first defining the porphyry copper model with John Guilbert, a deposit type which is now thought to account for 60% of the world’s copper. Continue Reading →

Mining City History: ‘Angel’ of Skagway was laundress in Butte – by Richard I. Gibson (Montana Standard – April 26, 2020)

As Butte grew from a mining camp to a huge industrial metropolitan city, amenities expanded to accommodate the needs and wants of a population with money to spend. Laundries popped up all over town.

Most were operated by Chinese, but with improved technologies, a growing population, and prejudice against the Asian community, both household laundries and large commercial operations thrived in Butte under white management.

In 1884 Butte had nine Chinese laundries. The first non-Chinese commercial laundry appears to have been the Butte Steam Laundry, in 1885 on West Granite across from the skating rink pavilion at Alaska Street. Continue Reading →

Mine Tales: Rich Tombstone mines were a lure for prospectors – by William Ascarza (Arizona Daily Star – September 16, 2013)

Tombstone, renowned for its gunfights, gambling halls, brothels and bars, was a silver mining town of great wealth during the decade known as “The Roarin’ ’80s” in the 19th century.

Although small mines existed in 1857 in what would later become known as the Tombstone district, it wasn’t until 20 years later that prospector Edward L. Schieffelin discovered the rich silver deposits that attracted a mass migration of miners to the area.

The future town’s name was taken from an encounter between Schieffelin and soldiers from Fort Huachuca, who warned the prospector that all he would find in the area would be his tombstone. Continue Reading →

Museum to serve as unifier for history of coal mining, miners – by Eddie Trizzino (Times West Virginian – December 12, 2019)

FAIRMONT – Curators of Fairmont’s coal mining museum will unveil the first phase of an expansion project this weekend along with hosting a Coal Miners Swap Meet.

Located on the third floor of the Arts and Antiques Marketplace at 205 Adams St., the coal mining museum is more than doubling in size to represent the coal history of Monongalia, Harrison, Preston, Taylor and Barbour counties alongside its current Marion County exhibit.

“We’re dedicating some space to each of the Fairmont field counties,” said Mike Rohaly, president of the Northern Appalachian Coal Mining Heritage Association. “We would like to get there, have a little bit more cohesion between our six counties.” Continue Reading →

Coal and the Industrial Revolution – by Dr. Thomas G. Andrews ( – March 7, 2019)

Dr. Thomas G. Andrews is the Assistant Professor of History at the University of Colorado.

As of 1860, the United States was an industrial laggard. Great Britain, France, and Germany each produced more goods than their transatlantic counterpart. By 1900, however, U.S. industrial production exceeded “the combined manufacture of its three main rivals.” Why, and with what consequences?

Rise of Fossil Fuels

Most textbooks provide at least a few glimpses of the transformation of the U.S. into a fossil-fueled nation: a photo of child laborers outside a Pennsylvania coal mine, a statistic on rising coal production, perhaps a brief mention of the Ludlow Massacre of 1914 (in which Colorado National Guardsmen killed 18 men, women, and children during a miners’ strike in southern Colorado).

Aside from these disconnected tidbits, though, textbooks offer little insight into the profound historical significance of energy, nor do they provide a coherent interpretation of what the adoption of fossil fuels portended for the nation’s economy and environment. Continue Reading →

On The Colorado River’s Banks, A Toxic Pile Continues To Shrink – by Molly Marcello (KZMU Radio – October 21, 2019)

In a park, nestled in a red rock canyon outside Moab, Utah — a short drive from a giant pile of uranium tailings — a crowd gathered for a celebration. Elected officials and community members mingled, and enjoyed refreshments. Volunteers placed pieces of yellow cake in small paper bowls.

It was a facetious nod to the gathering’s purpose: to celebrate the removal of 10 million tons of toxic uranium tailings from the banks of the Colorado River.

“You never would have thought you would have all these people congratulating themselves in the community on moving 10 million tons,” said Sarah Fields, executive director of the nonprofit Uranium Watch. “They seem to be really dedicated to getting this done.” Continue Reading →

Mine tales: Bisbee’s famed Lavender Pit wasn’t its only open-pit mine – by William Ascarza (Arizona Daily Star – October 14, 2019)

Bisbee, in the Mule Mountains of southeastern Arizona, has an extensive mining history dating from the 1870s. It is said the value of copper produced from the Copper Queen in 1925 alone was valued 10 times more than the cost of the Gadsden Purchase, which was $10 million in 1854.

The first open pit mine at Bisbee was the Sacramento pit comprising 35 acres. It began as a shaft in 1911 and six years later developed as an open pit.

Extensive geological research had determined copper ore deposits throughout the Bisbee district resulting from a large mass of intrusive granite porphyry pushed up into the surrounding schist and limestone. The copper was deposited in limestone traps forming ore bodies. Over time, progressive layers of barren limestone were formed on top, with the entire mass tilting southeastward. Continue Reading →