Sunday, November 29, 2015
31 July 2015 Half-Mile Down
Besides visiting as many Minnesota State Parks as possible on our journey, we had plans to take the Soudan Mine Tour. The iron ore mine was open from 1882 through 1962. For over 50 years, it has been operated by the state as a park offering daily tours of the mine. The video below shows the ride to the 27th level of the mine with a dozen people packed in a mine car. I think the operating mine carried eighteen minors at a time. It's not for those with claustrophobia.
Once you reach the 27th level, it's time for a ride 3/4 mile into the level to the last operating area of the mine.
The tour before us heads back into darkness.
sub-surface lab. The equipment needs to function perfectly to keep the mine safe. The remaining extraction equipment remains as it was for an amazing historical look at past technology. The engineering geek and safety professional side of me was just as entertained by the look to the past at the surface level.
One of the many shaft towers supporting elevator traffic in the mine.
Queen Mine in Bisbee. Soudan was interesting for a trip a half mile below the earth's surface, but the Bisbee mine tour was unique because it was led by a former miner who could speak first-hand to the mining conditions. The youngest a miner could be from the Soudan Mine would be 71. Since the mine had been losing employment to automation for years, it's likely there are few of the old miners still living.