Gold in Them Thar Hills: Part One

SIA 2010 Overview.

In order to not overwhelm one post with images, there will be three (or four) posts about Gold in Them Thar Hills.

Friday June 4 was the tour day of the conferences, of which I chose to attend “Gold in Them Thar Hills.” (Okay, the title got me hooked and it’s fun to say.) The tour bus departed Colorado Springs at 7:30am and headed up Highway 24 and Highway 67 to Cripple Creek, CO. The scenery on the way was spectacular: mountainous, green, vibrant brown rock, shrubs, and Pike’s Peak in site for much of the time. Oh, and we saw the world’s highest ferris wheel (highest as in elevation, not tallest).

The aforementioned world's highest ferris wheel.

Pike's Peak in the distance, somewhere around Divide, CO.

Our first stop was the Mollie Kathleen Mine in Cripple Creek, which is a family owned active gold mine in the winter months with tours open to the public in the warmer months.  The surface of the mine overlooks the town of Cripple Creek. At the mine visitors travel 1000′ (10 stories!) below the surface. Hard hats and closed-toe shoes are mandatory and warm jackets are recommended. To enter the mine, you have to squeeze into the mine shaft cage. The descent takes about two minutes during which time you cannot see your hand in front of your face. A guide takes about 8-9 people on each one hour tour, where the guide tells and shows the history of mining at different exhibits, demonstrating the tools and techniques used. It is such an interesting tour! On the surface there are cars, machines, mining cars and other vehicles to explore (not to mention an awesome giant hat). The views are also incredible.

Welcome to the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine.

View from the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine.

In the mine: miner's tools, railroad tracks, and the homemade rail bicycle (no brakes!)

In the mine!

Miner's hat!

Uniform bell signals were invented for all of the Colorado mines to insure safety and understanding when workers changed mining operations.

"View from the top of the world only 25 cents." This sign was just sitting on the ground, but I loved it.

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Side note: This is post #500 on Preservation in Pink!

Preservation Photos #35

Dust blown, worn by the climate, and left to deteriorate at the American Eagles (abandoned) mine overlook near Victor, CO. One of my favorite pictures from the SIA tour.