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Bisbee, Arizona - a copper mine

View USA South on divatmotoros's travel map.

After enjoying great company and the KOA amenities we drove South East to a small town famous for its abandoned mines. The Queen Mine Tour was a perfect midday stopover and while the dog and our smallest kid was excluded I enjoyed the tour with the two older kids a lot.

First we got flashlights and helmets, then we had to hop on a tiny, narrow bench woth wheels (aka the train). Our slow journey underground started with a bell ringing and the driver had to open the large door to enter the mine. After about ten minutes we stopped and climbed on 47 steps to a large underground "room". The tour guide (a retired miner) explained how they worked in the beginning (only two persons working at a time, 12 hpurs a day and the room we saw was excavated in three years!)

We learned how a wooden structure (a box) was built and used to protect the miners and to enable paralell worl for more miners. Then we traveled further into the mountain with the small train and at the next stop we learned how they used mules to move the 1 ton wagons to the surface. The mules could pull 4 wagons and they were good enough in math, as they refused to move if they heard the 5th wagon being connected by chains. It was told that after 5 years of service in the dark mine the mules were taken to a dark stable and sunlight was introduced to them gradually, over months to protect their eyesight.


Later we learned more how they used dinamite and carbonite to speed up mining, and the shocking closure which happened in the 70ies when the price of copper collapsed overnight.

After the tour we continued to the Levander Pit, which is a huge, abandoned open pit mine nearby. It covers an area of 300 acres and is 900 feet deep.


Posted by divatmotoros 06:16 Archived in USA

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