Archive | United States Mining History

BUTTE, MONTANA: World Museum of Mining (Atlas Obscura.com – September 2019)

https://www.atlasobscura.com/

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). Continue Reading →

4 Investigates: Abandoned uranium mines continue to threaten the Navajo Nation – by Colton Shone (KOB.com – August 19, 2019)

https://www.kob.com/

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There are hundreds of abandoned uranium mines scattered across the Navajo Nation.

The clean-up process has been slow for those who live right in the heart of them. For many, it’s been a decades-long fight for the removal of “hot dirt” and there’s still no real end in sight. Red Water Pond Road Community Association is home for Edith Hood. She and her family have lived there, a few miles east of Gallup, for generations.

“We had a medicine man living across the way,” she said. It’s a remote village on Navajo land surrounded by beauty and radioactive waste. There is tons of “hot dirt” left behind from the nearby abandoned Northeast Churchrock Uranium Mine and the abandoned Kerr-Mcgee Uranium Mine Complex. Continue Reading →

Washington continues critical inquiries into rare earths and uranium supply chains – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – July 15, 2019)

http://resourceclips.com/

While somewhat relaxing its concern about uranium, the U.S. appears increasingly worried about rare earths supply. A Reuters exclusive says Washington has begun an inventory to itemize domestic RE projects.

“The Pentagon wants miners to describe plans to develop U.S. rare earths mines and processing facilities, and asked manufacturers to detail their needs for the minerals, according to the document, which is dated June 27,” the news agency reported.

“Responses are required by July 31, a short time frame that underscores the Pentagon’s urgency.” The request mentions the possibility of investment by the military, Reuters added. Continue Reading →

‘Bisbee ’17’ Documents Dark History Of Mass Deportations In Arizona Mining Town – by Robin Young (WBUR.org – July 15, 2019)

 

https://www.wbur.org/

More than a century ago, nearly 2,000 copper miners — most of them immigrants — were deported from Bisbee, Arizona, to the desert of New Mexico. Those who survived the deportation were banned from returning.

At that point 1917, copper was critical for Americans fighting abroad during World War I. The miners, who were underpaid and worked in dangerous conditions, had joined the Industrial Workers of the World, which threatened a strike. Some residents saw the workers as communists who were undermining the war effort.

Authorized by the sheriff, residents dragged workers and their sympathizers from homes and businesses, forced them into cattle cars and deported them miles from town. Continue Reading →

Tiny Town Of Nucla Looks To A Future Without Mining And Sees Opportunity And Uncertainty – by Stina Sieg (Colorado Public Radio – June 24, 2019)

https://www.cpr.org/

Home to just a few hundred people, the town of Nucla, Colorado, isn’t just tiny. It’s far from just about everything. Tucked into the western edge of Montrose County, it’s 350 miles from Denver and 60 miles from the nearest stop light.

For generations, this area — known as the West End — was a hub for mining. Most famously, they dug for uranium here and the area saw a big boom thanks to the Cold War era. Later, coal arrived to support a local power plant.

“You think things are going to boom forever,” said Jane Thompson, a 62-year-old longtime local. “They’re always going to need uranium. They’re always going to need coal.” Continue Reading →

[Homestake Mine, South Dakota] The real Deadwood – by Peter Fish (Sunset Magazine – ????)

Sunset Magazine

Peter Fish explores the South Dakota town made famous by the hit TV show

This is a tale of two cities. The first is a mining camp in the Black Hills, where greed, lust, and violence kindle in such volatile combinations, you think they may burn the whole town down. The second is a tourist attraction whose tidy Main Street throngs with tourists jingling the quarters they won in the casino slots.

The first town is Deadwood, Dakota Territory, in 1876, as experienced on the HBO series Deadwood. The second is Deadwood, South Dakota, as experienced in real time in 2006. The genuine and virtual towns have become inseparable.

It’s Deadwood’s real history that made the television series possible. It’s the television Deadwood that is breathing new life into the real town ― proving that in 2006, some juicy Western history can be as valuable as gold. Continue Reading →

Rebuilding ‘Deadwood,’ Plank by Plank – by Robert Ito (New York Times – May 15, 2019)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Deadwood is based on the South Dakota Homestake Mining Company. Here is a brief history: https://bit.ly/2X8YTAx

SANTA CLARITA, CALIF. — “Deadwood” is back for one final hello and goodbye. Last November, more than a decade after David Milch’s award-winning HBO series unexpectedly and maddeningly folded, Timothy Olyphant, as Seth Bullock, was once again in the center of the town’s perpetually muddy main drag, having words — heated, profane, Shakespearean ones — with Gerald McRaney, the show’s villainous George Hearst.

From the balcony of the Gem casino, Ian McShane (Al Swearengen) glowered; offstage, Robin Weigert, the show’s foul-mouthed, tenderhearted Calamity Jane, waited in the wings.

Against all odds, the producers were able to reunite nearly all of the show’s principal cast for “Deadwood: The Movie,” the show’s much-delayed, much-anticipated finale. “I didn’t think it was ever going to happen,” Olyphant admitted later. Continue Reading →

Cripple Creek donkeys released into the city for the summer – by Zachary Aedo (KRDO.com – May 15, 2019)

https://www.krdo.com/

CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. – Cripple Creek is one of two cities in the United States where you could run into a wild donkey herd on the streets.

The Two Mile High Club nonprofit released its donkey herd into the streets for the summer. The local group spends each winter keeping the donkeys safe and healthy at a nearby ranch. But every summer, the donkeys are released to run wild for the public to see.

Clinton Cline, the president of Two Mile High Club, said the creatures remind people of the city’s mining history. “The donkeys pretty much built Cripple Creek originally,” Cline said. During the gold rush of the late 1800s, miners used donkeys to pull ore carts and transport materials to local mining camps. Continue Reading →

Mining City History: Augustus Heinze and the Panic of 1907 – by Richard I. Gibson (Montana Standard – April 8, 2019)

https://mtstandard.com/

Local geologist and historian Dick Gibson has lived in Butte since 2003 and has worked as a tour guide for various organizations and museums. He can be reached at [email protected]

Butte’s riches and people have had some far-reaching impacts. Brooklyn-born F. Augustus Heinze arrived in Butte in 1889, and with help from a $50,000 inheritance, soon established the Montana Ore Purchasing (M.O.P.) Company and by 1894 had opened a huge new mill-smelter complex just south of Meaderville on the east side of the hill.

The MOP bought ore from smaller companies to process until Heinze had his own mines, including the Rarus. It’s well known that Heinze went on to exploit the rule of the apex to allege that veins reached the surface within his claim boundaries, winning huge riches in the courts to add to his other mining ventures.

In 1902, Heinze combined all his interests in the United Copper Company, which had a production capacity of about a third of that of the Amalgamated (Anaconda) Company. Continue Reading →

Mine Tales: Payson’s long history included a thriving mining center – by William Ascarza (Arizona Daily Star – April 7, 2019)

https://tucson.com/

The town of Payson, established in the early 1880s, has contributed to Arizona history in multiple ways, including being located near the well-known Pleasant Valley War waged from 1887 to 1892.

It also contributed to Arizona’s economy with a robust logging and cattle industry while billing itself as the “World’s Longest Continuous Rodeo” established in 1884.

Located almost in the geographic center of Arizona in the low, rolling, granite hills between the Mazatzal Mountains and Sierra Ancha Mountains, Payson has acquired the attribute, “the Heart of Arizona.” Continue Reading →

Howard Balsley, uranium pioneer, preserved the past – by Heila Ershadi (Moab Sun News – March 21, 2019)

http://www.moabsunnews.com/

Howard Balsley is known in history books as a Moab uranium pioneer. In the book “The Moab Story: From Cowpokes to Bike Spokes,” author Tom McCourt writes that Balsley is “considered by many to be the father of the uranium industry in the United States.”

McCourt’s account says that Balsley came to Moab in 1908 and primarily made his living as a forest ranger, but also prospected and assisted others in their mining endeavors, even before the WWII uranium boom.

Balsley contracted with a number of small-scale miners across the Colorado Plateau to regularly make 50-ton shipments of uranium and vanadium ores to the Vitro Manufacturing Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the early 1930s, the company used the ores to make pigments for glass and pottery manufacturers. During WWII, Balsley used a similar business model to supply the government with vanadium needed for the war effort. Continue Reading →

Opinion: They tell you surprisingly little before sending you home from the hospital with… – by Aaron J. Brown (Hibbing Daily Tribune – February 9, 2019)

https://www.hibbingmn.com/

Like a lot of kids who grew up on Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range during the economic crisis of the 1980s and ‘90s I saw plenty of reasons to leave. Many of my friends did. But I’m glad I found good reasons to stay. Many friends did that, too. That doesn’t mean, however, that our lives are easy or our fate resolved.

When I was in college, I saw the movie “October Sky.” This 1999 film tells the true story of a boy and his friends who, during the Cold War space race, launch their own rocket from a West Virginia coal mining town. They win the national science fair with help from the folks back home.

I also sought out the 1941 Best Picture winner “How Green Was My Valley.” This story follows a Welsh coal mining family over several years, beaten down by small town social mores, unsafe mining conditions, and the economic collapse of their town. And yet their valley was so green, you could even see it in black and white; the love and spirit endured. Continue Reading →

A place in history: the Mackay School – by Karl Fendelander (Nevada Today – January 9, 2019)

https://www.unr.edu/nevada-today/

Born the School of Mines in Nevada in 1888, the Mackay School of Mines is more than just an iconic building sitting opposite Morrill Hall on the University of Nevada, Reno’s historic Quadrangle.

It was one of a handful of mining schools that opened around then at Land Grant Universities to teach those untrained Gold Rushers the science of extracting precious metals – and John William Mackay, one of those eager early miners armed with little more than ambition and a strong back, would come to change not only this mining school but the entire University.

Mackay spent time in the California Gold Rush mining camps before arriving to mine the Comstock Lode in Virginia City, where he went from penniless Irish immigrant to multi-millionaire and one of four Bonanza Kings known the world over in a few short decades. While his fellow Kings cut and ran with their riches to big cities, Mackay’s deep sense of gratitude to Nevada tethered him and his family. Continue Reading →

Mine Tales: A.P.K. Safford, from California gold rush to Arizona Territory governor – by William Ascarza (Arizona Daily Star – December 9, 2018)

https://tucson.com/

Anson Peacely-Killen Safford, prominent for his mining ventures, served as the third territorial governor of Arizona from 1869-1877.

A native of Hyde Park, Vermont, he ventured to California to participate in its gold rush during the early 1850s. He later served as a mining recorder in Nevada before accepting the nomination as governor of Arizona Territory by President Ulysses S. Grant.

His nomination was at the request of powerful railroad promoters including Coles Bashford who, like Safford, was also a fellow incorporator of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. Safford is known for his focus on law, order and education during his political tenure. Continue Reading →

A return to legacy: The reopening of Central City’s Bates Hunter Mine – by Sarah Haas (Boulder Weekly – November 15, 2018)

Boulder Weekly

It’s 8 a.m. at Central City’s newly reopened Bates Hunter Mine, the sun just peaking over the valley walls. It’s been over 70 years since gold was last mined here, but as the miner’s begin to arrive at work on a November day in 2018, it feels like they’ve been here all along, like this is where they’re supposed to be.

By all appearances today is a normal day, although on the agenda is at least one extraordinary task; after months of removing water from the main shaft, the miners can finally access the 163-foot level, submerged and unseen since an exploratory visit in 2008. And, aside from a few maps that look like a simplistic version of Snakes and Ladders, the crew doesn’t really know what to expect on today’s seminal descent.

“We’re just gonna go down and check it out, gauge the condition of the infrastructure, poke around on the landing,” says Matt Collins, the mine’s general manager and engineer. “It’ll be neat to see how close these are to our maps.” Continue Reading →