Monday, July 14, 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho...

On our recent Road Trip, we had to opportunity to visit the Country Boy Mine in Breckenridge, Colorado.
The Country Boy Mine, founded in 1887, is one of the oldest and most famous mines in Summit County, Colorado. Early in its over 100 year history, the Country Boy Mine was known for its gold and silver production and later earned national fame by producing large quantities of high grade lead and zinc for use in World War I and World War II.
We strapped on our hard hats and ventured 1000 feet into the cool, dark tunnel. Water trickled beneath our feet as well as dripped down on us from the "ceiling".

Master Munchkin was old enough to have been a "Blast Monkey". These young boys would scamper up ladders in the mine, climbing up to 300 feet in the air, and place sticks of dynamite into the holes that the miners had chiseled out of the rock. If the stick did not detonate for some reason, the Blast Monkeys were sent back up to investigate.

Mining was hard and dangerous work, but it paid better than a lot of jobs back then. The men worked 10 hour shifts, working by candlelight in cold, wet conditions. Due to the dust produced by the drills, the average Miner died in about 4 years.

The Country Boy mine still has gold in it - 25 to 50 million dollar's worth - but it would cost more than that to retrieve it. So now they "mine" tourists.

Outside the mine, we had the opportunity to pet some friendly burros and to pan for gold.


Alisa said...

Man, for that kind of money, you should have left the Munchkins to mine it out for you. You could always pick them up next summer.

MrsMama said...

LOL. Tempting, but no. :) I was so happy to get out of that cold, dark hole!