Monday, December 27, 2010

Empire Mine State Historic Park

Gold was mined at this site in Grass Valley California from 1850 until 1956.  The surface was purchased by the state of California in 1975 but the gold, still in the ground, is owned by Newmont Mining.
 Many of the old mine buildings are still in good shape, their offices still containing much of the original furnishings and materials.
 Miners would start their day entering through this tunnel.  There are over 360 miles of tunnels, some of them nearly a mile below the surface.
 This is how the men descended into the mine.  I took this historic photo from the site of the volunteer group who runs tours and operates the bookstore.
 When the ore was brought to the surface it had to be crushed to release gold.  Forty of these stamps pounded the ore rock day and night.  The noise must have been deafening.
 Then it was smelted and refined.
 What does the sign say?  "Positively do not remove anything from this refinery".  Theft was a real concern.
Every office had a safe but this one was unique.  Perhaps this is where they stored the gold.

For more scenes from around the world, click on the link.  That's My World, Tuesday is hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.


Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I love this post Martha! My grandfather had been a mining engineer and he used to tell many underground stories when I was little; many years later, the first time we toured a mine (in AZ) I realized how incredibly noisy it would have been -- no wonder he wore a hearing-aid!). That's not to mention the claustrophobia! You got some great pictures -- the only one I got from our tour was on the tram as we started down.

Happy New Year!

Gaelyn said...

An interesting place to tour. That safe is very unusual.

Spiderdama said...

Very interesting!

I wish you and your family further good Christmas and a blessed new year!

Hugs from Tania in Norway:-)

sunnymama said...

That was an interesting tour! Great pictures. Thanks for sharing. :)

Anonymous said...

That was indeed interesting. Must feel amazing to be that close to history and inside earth. Please have you all a good Tuesday.

daily athens

Kay L. Davies said...

Fascinating history, Martha. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.
With best wishes for the coming year,

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Luna Miranda said...

fascinating post! i love your shot of the tunnel (second photo) with the golden light coming in. i remember visiting an ore mine when i was a kid, an uncle worked there. there were a lot of digging going on.:p

Sylvia K said...

What a fun, great tour, Martha! So interesting and, of course, I love your photos! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Have a great week!


Barb said...

This was a wonderful photo tour of a historic mining area, Martha. That safe reminds me of a diving bell or a ship's portal. Happy New Year to you and Jules!

Gattina said...

I shiver when I see these work conditions ! it must have been awful !

Pat said...

Great shots of the Empire Mine! I live only an hour south of there, down Hwy 49, and yet I've never seen it. My husband and I have lived here in Garden Valley for 32 years, so I think it's about time we go visit the Empire Mine!

Anonymous said...

Great tour and so nice not to see snow!