Broken Boot Gold Mine
Broken Boot Gold Mine
Step into the Black Hills' best underground mine tour and return to a time when the powerful punch of a miner's pick and the roaring boom of another dynamite blast signaled the ongoing search for the richest veins of gold on Earth.
Follow the path of ore cars deep underground into the century-old shafts of the Broken Boot. Walk in the footsteps of thousands of faceless miners who sought their fortunes in the dark and explosive atmosphere of black powder and candlelight.
Eager to enter the untamed frontier and become rich on the gold that was surely concealed in it, Olaf Seim and James Nelson came to the Black Hills and dug a mine just outside Deadwood in 1878. Known simply as Seim's (pronounced SIMES) Mine, it produced about 15,000 ounces of gold for its two young owners over a period of 26 years - which wasn't very much. In fact, the men averaged only about 1.5 ounces of the yellow metal per day.
But gold wasn't the only metal Seim and Nelson found in their mine. They also found plenty of iron pyrite, or fool's gold. Fortunately for the miners, iron pyrite was in demand. Since it could be used to make sulfuric acid, which was used in the processing of real gold, the miners could get decent money for iron pyrite. Indeed, the mine made more profit from selling fool's gold than they did real gold.
But eventually even the iron pyrite wasn't enough to support the mine. It closed in 1904, only to reopen briefly in 1917. With World War I raging, demand was high for iron and sulfur - crucial components of gunpowder - and Seim's Mine had enough to become profitable again. But when the war ended in 1918, so did the mine's lease on life.
Seim's Mine sat vacant for thirty-six years. In 1954, Olaf Seim's daughter decided to repair and reopen the mine as a tourist attraction. During the renovations to make it safe for tours, the crews found an old worn boot (among other long-forgotten relics) in a back chamber. Seizing the opportunity, Seim's daughter decided to rechristen the mine as the Broken Boot.
The Broken Boot has been giving tours to visitors ever since. In fact, the Broken Boot has operated longer and more successfully as a visitor attraction than it did as a working mine.
Pictures and information were provided by Broken Boot Gold Mine
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