Ron and Hazel's 'Travels with Nuggie' travel blog

Homestake is the largest and deepest gold mine in North America.

One of the worst decisions ever was the sale of this mine...

Hazel in one of the mine locomotives run by compressed air.

The visitor center next to the open pit mine.

The many displays tell the story of Homestake.

Donna is a retired teacher from Alaska, and now helps run the...

Hanging from the ceiling, this mobile shows the mine shafts in 1:5000...

Equipment from the mining operation and the deep underground scientific studies is...

Lead (pronounced "Leed") is the sister-city of Deadwood, and the location of the largest gold mine in North America. Hazel and I spent an afternoon checking things out, and had lunch at the local Subway,one of only two fast-food restaurants in the entire area. They like to keep things original 1870's around here.

Before coming to the Black Hills on this trip, I binge-watched the HBO epic "Deadwood", a mixture of interesting fact and fiction about the people and events of the 1870's in this area. The story of the Homestake mine was done with a whole lot of poetic license, but the arrival in town of George Hearst, father of newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, with designs to acquire the mine was a fact.

As reported by Wikipedia, after buying the mining claim from the original three miners who discovered it, Hearst consolidated and enlarged the property by fair and foul means. He bought out some adjacent claims, and secured others in the courts. A Hearst employee killed a man who refused to sell his claim, but was acquitted in court after all the witnesses disappeared.

Hearst purchased newspapers in Deadwood to influence public opinion, and an opposing newspaper editor was beaten up on a Deadwood street. Hearst himself realized that he might be on the receiving end of violence, and wrote a letter to his partners asking them to provide for his family should he be murdered. In the end, however, Hearst was the one who walked out alive, and very rich.

The costs involved in mining the gold began to exceed the results, and the mine closed in 2002. In 2007, the mine was taken over by the Sanford Underground Research Facility for multiple physics experiments in areas such as dark matter and neutrino research.

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