has marched steadily through the West, transforming the landscape and many
of the small towns involved with the great mine wars of 1900, you can still
catch glimpses of the bygone era. Generally, state historical societies offer
the best starting point for identifying preserved locations and "visitor friendly"
is just a sample of locations used by KUED-TV crews in the production of
Fire in the Hole:
Couer D'Alene Historic Mining Region
Step back in time to
the days when Silver Mining was King in the northern Idaho panhandle. The
town of Wallace offers numerous historic sites, a mining museum and a fully
restored railroad depot/museum.
Trial of the Century"
Many web sites consider
the 1907 trial of William D. Haywood for allegedly masterminding the bombing
assassination of former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg.
While virtually all of
the locales of the murder of Steunenberg and the trial of Haywood have been
pushed aside by modern development, an interesting side trip in the Boise
area is the restored Idaho Penitentiary. Dating back to pre-statehood days,
the prison held Haywood, Charles Moyer and George Pettibone for a year during
the trial. It also served as the "home" for confessed assassin Harry Orchard
for some fifty years, after he admitted serving as a union controlled bomber
in the West.
and Arizona Mining History
southeast corner of Arizona is filled with enduring images of the Wild West.
The town of Bisbee, once the "Queen of the Copper Camps" is now predominantly
a tourist location and budding art colony. An excellent museum provides an
introduction to the area's mining history, as well as the Bisbee Deportation.
Adjoining the town is
a large open pit copper mine that demonstrates the scope of mining efforts
in the region.
Nearby, the town of Tombstone
more directly caters to the myths and legends of the Old West, but also offers
the museum at the historic Cochise County Courthouse.
Also in Arizona, the
town of Jerome in the northern part
of the state offers a glimpse back at turn of the century copper mining. Jerome,
also a site of labor-management strife, is enjoying renew life as a tourist
and arts destination.
History: The Nevada Northern Railway
In Ely, Nevada local
citizens have rallied to refurbish and operate the Nevada Northern Railway.
In addition to scheduled summer runs of a period locomotive and passenger
cars through the nearby countryside, the Railway also maintains the historic
depot and museum in East Ely.
Creek Mining District
The mountains near Pike's
Peak offer spectacular scenery and wonderful historical opportunities. Cripple
Creek, Colorado has numerous attractions including the Cripple Creek District
Museum and the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad.
To relive the experience
of descending one thousand feet into a mine and working a stope in pursuit
of gold, visit Cripple Creek's Mollie
Kathleen Gold Mine.
Nearby Victor, Colorado
has remains of many old mines. NEVER ENTER AN ABANDONED MINE. PLEASE HEED
ALL WARNING AND TRESPASSING SIGNS. The scenic American Eagles Mine Overlook
offers views of the Mining District, Continental Divide and modern day mining
operations. The Teller County
Focus Group is a local band of citizens dedicated to preserving historic
mining sites and providing education.
Colorado Coal Fields
The United Mine Workers
of America erected a memorial to the men, women, and children killed at the
Ludlow tent colony.
Located about 15 miles
north of Trinidad, Colorado, off of Interstate-25, the memorial is built at
the site of the Ludlow tent colony.
Currently, an archeological team is excavating the Ludlow site along with
the ruins of a mining town in nearby Berwind Canyon.
To find out more about the history and archeology of this region, visit coloradodigital.coalliance.org/cfindex.html
Colorado also has several historic buildings and museums.
Butte, Montana has seen
its share of boom and bust days. Much of the town's proud mining history is
preserved at the World Museum of Mining. Located at the site of the former
Orphan Girl mine, the museum features the mine's original headframe as well
as a recreation of a 1890's a mining town. Housed on 23 acres, there's plenty
to do and see.
A side note. . .
Many old mine sites have
been designated for clean-up under federal and state environmental quality
laws. Contamination of streams and groundwater by heavy metals leaching from
mine tailings is a dark, and often controversial, legacy from the days of
unchecked mineral exploration. The clean-up efforts have removed many old
smelters from the landscape, and have often produced massive excavation efforts
to stabilize contaminated tailings. As such, should you visit a former mining
region, you will no doubt find that landscapes have often been dramatically
altered. A visit to a local museum can introduce you to photographic views
of most locations during their mining heyday.
Many former mine boomtowns
have taken on new character as the twenty-first century dawns. Artist colonies
have blossomed. Tourists with an interest in history are catered to. Even
ski resorts have opened on the hillsides where thousands tried to strike it
When visiting any mine
location, please exercise extreme caution, read and comply with all posted
notices, and remember that even inactive mine sites can be private property.