Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Underground Mining Museum, Creede, Colorado

It is amazing to me that there was so much mining going on in Colorado. We visited the Underground Mining Museum, which highlighted the Humphrey's Mine.  We saw the remnants of the Humhrey's Mine when we drove a bit past the museum. I found this website (mining artifacts) that talks about all the mining that took place in Colorado.

The Underground Mining Museum was built partially from an old tunnel that has been enlarged into a loop tour, with a community center blasted out of Willow Creek Canyon. 

Blacksmith Shop
From early times to present, the blacksmith shop is an important part of all mining operations. All of the miners' tools were made and prepared here. When the picks needed new points, when the drill steel needed to be sharpened daily, or when candle holders and shovels were made, the blacksmith shop was the place to go. Other frequently used items came from here, including spoons used to clean out ragged or loose drill holes, chute bars used to pry up the boards in the chute to let the ore into the waiting cars and numerous spikes and pins used to hold things on the wall out of the way. The blacksmith may have been the single most important person on the job.

Measuring fuses. The fuses would be wound around the peg to get precise lengths.

Fuse Burning Rate


Honey Wagon

Assayer's Office
Assayer’s office, with balance, crushers, and bone crucibles. To the left is the furnace for fire assaying.

Windless & Shaft
The hand windless was the machine of choice when the prospector or miner decided to sink a shaft straight down on a vein or outcrop. The blasted ore was shoveled into the "sinking bucket" and then cranked up to the surface by a partner or the miner if he was working alone. The shaft's sides and walls had to be "cribbed" (secured) to keep it from caving in, and in most small operations like this, small native trees were used.

Powder Magazine
Magazines were recognized as a necessary form of storage for explosives for safety and security reasons, and they were a convenient way to store "high explosives." This magazine would be used for dynamite and ammonia nitrate. Dynamite and primers (basting caps) cannot be stored together.

Humphrey's Mill

Humphrey's Mill Today
On this hillside is the preserved and expansive Humphrey's Mill. Constructed in 1901, the mill began processing silver ore in January 1902 from a number of mines lying alongside the Amethyst Vein. At the height of its operation in 1904/05, this massive gravity fed mill employed over a thousand men. 

Ore was hauled to the mill over a haulage track from the Nelson-Wooster-Humphrey Tunnel. Remnants of the haulage tracks can still be seen running along the steep hillside. Horses and mules were used to pull oar cars along the track from the tunnel portal to the top of the mill.

Gravity was used to separate the ore from the waste rock. The concentrated silver ore was then loaded onto rail cars at the base of the mill and hauled to smelters in El Paso, Texas.

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