2013 Mining History Association Tours

 

Platteville Museum, Bevans Lead Mine,

and British Hollow Smelter Site

Tour Leaders: Mark Langenfeld,

Stephanie Saager-Bourette and John Broihahn

June 7, 2013

 

 

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The field trip to Platteville and British Hollow near Potosi, Wisconsin passed many sites where mining and/or milling lead and zinc ores had once taken place.  In the decades since the mines closed, abandoned mine reclamation programs of the State and Federal Governments plus natural revegetation have removed most signs of mining.  Platteville is the home of the University of Wisconsin - Platteville.  It was founded in 1907 as the Wisconsin Mining Trade School and later became The Wisconsin Mining School and The Wisconsin Institute of Technology (AKA “Whiskey Tech”).  Although the mining engineering program was dropped in the 1980’s, the large “M” (for Mines) on a nearby hillside is still proudly maintained by students.  The British Hollow Smelter operated from around 1840 to 1886.  The largely forgotten ruin has recently been excavated by archaeologists.

MHAers enjoy the ride through the verdant farmland of the southwestern Wisconsin driftless area.  An unusually wet spring helped the vegetation hide much of the evidence of past mining.

 

The buildings of the New Jersey Zinc/Mineral Point Zinc Company Elmo Mine and Mill have been repurposed by a farm machinery dealer.  Click here to see the New Jersey Zinc initials on the tallest structure.

The Platteville Mining Museum and the adjacent Rollo Jameson Art Museum occupy repurposed buildings.  The limestone construction of many town buildings like the one above displays the skill of the early stonemasons.

 

The reconstructed Bevans Lead Mine at the Mining Museum allows visitors to tour the underground workings.

A mine locomotive runs around a loop of track on the museum property.

 

No hard hats were required for the MHAers on the mine train.

 

(Left) “Riding the Can” was the standard means for miners to go down the shaft.

(Above) Once underground, the miners frequently worked in tight spaces to remove the galena and take as little waste rock as possible.

 


Photo Credits: Mike and Pat Kaas, Johnny Johnsson

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