Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to vacation we go. Today we took the Sierra Silver Mine tour. Departing from the Center of the Universe (see next entry), we caught the old town trolley up to the silver mine. Silver mine, however, was a misnomer. This was, as our tour guide, Butch, said, a dud. They started digging it around 1890 when they found a vein of quartz in the rock. Quartz often leads to high grade lead and silver. This vein led not to lead of the high grade quality or silver but to low grade lead. Economically they considered this leaverite – as in leave ‘er right in the ground. Later it was used as a teaching mine for high school students wanting to become miners. (What I would consider a surprising career choice.) And finally a tour site.
Butch showed us lots about mining – putting up supports, drilling bore holes, setting dynamite, and mucking out. When asked if he liked mining, he said it was a job. And since they had no ear protection when he started as a young miner, a job that has caused him to lose most of hearing.