Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

To The Mines

One of the biggest attractions in Tonopah is the Tonopah Historic Mining Park, which covers the grounds of the mining area above Tonopah. We spent most of the day ranging over the grounds of the museum.

Tonopah Historic Mining Park

This is the centerpiece of the museum: the Mizpah Mine's steel head frame (one of the first such ever built), hoist house and assorted support buildings.

Tonopah Historic Mining Park

This is the entrance to the park. We could have driven up to the visitor center, but decided to walk up the hill. We spent a lot of time walking up and down the steep hills on which the many mining claims were scattered and then consolidated into a number of large mines.

Tonopah Historic Mining Park

The Visitor Center is the starting point, where you pay admission ($5 regular; $4 if you stayed in a local hotel as we did) and can, if you want, see the 20-minute introductory video before setting out to hike the trails.

Tonopah Historic Mining Park

There is huge amounts of old mining equipment throughout the grounds.

Tonopah Historic Mining Park

There are many areas fenced off. Here is a shaft entrance where an emergency lift is perched.

Desert Queen Mine

Sticking to the marked trails, we climbed up to the Desert Queen Mine and Hoist House. This structure is sufficiently iconic that it forms part of the town's logo on their web site.


Tonopah stretches out below the mining area.

Tonpah Panorama

From this high perch above the town, I took a panoramic 360-degree video.

Crescent Dunes

The bright spot in the distance (also visible in the video) is the Crescent Dunes solar thermal power plant, about which much more later.

Bullion Storage Vault

We continued across the upper level, although we skipped climbing up to the North Star mine at the highest level of the park. We passed by this small but heavily built concrete building, which was where bars of silver bullion were stored before being shipped out of town on the railroad.

From the Vault

This is what it looked like from inside the vault.

Tonopah Historic Mining Park

The path runs down and around the ruins of the Montana-Tonopah Mill. Besides this mill, there was another mill built about 20 miles north of Tonopah at a place called (not terribly imaginatively) Miller's. Silver ore was shipped there on the Tonopah & Goldfield Railroad.

Tonopah & Goldfield Trestle

This T & G Railroad trestle carried a spur into the mine area to load ore at the 'Grizzly.'

The Grizzly

This path is apparently the old T & G railroad bed, where tracks ran to the 'Grizzly.'

The Grizzly

Ore was rolled using small carts into the upper level of the 'Grizzly' then hand-sorted, where usable pieces were dropped into waiting T & G ore cars below.

Tonopah Historic Mining Park

Scrap metal, including what appears to be many old fuel cans, litters part of the grounds. I'm surprised that this material escaped the scrap-metal drives in the 1940s.

Tonopah Historic Mining Park

The Mizpah mine was one of the most modern mines around in Tonopah's heyday. The area near the headframe is now the center where events are held.

Tonpah Historic Mining Park

The Nevada State Mining Competition is held here at the park, including drilling competitions using single-jack (one miner with a hammer and a drill) and double-jack (one miner holding a longer drill, while a second swings the hammer).

Mizpah Mine Hoist House

The massive hoist house machinery was used to lift men, equipment, and ore over 1500 feet in the mine below.

Burro Mine Shaft

The Burro Tunnel is an "Underground Adventure" where you can go underground and see what a mine shaft was like.

Burro Mine Shaft

This reconstructed shaft goes into the mountain a short distance.

Abanoned Jack

A mining drill is stuck in the wall, as if the driller had gotten disgusted and walked away from it.

Mining Stope

Early mining involved digging down into the vein of ore from the surface, using lumber to brace these "stopes." Later, as people delved deeper, the large hoists were built to go much deeper underground. The entire area is apparently honeycombed with tunnels.

Tonopah Historic Mining Park

This was a very interesting day, but our legs and feet were really feeling it by the time we left. Also, I realized much too late that I'd neglected to bring sunscreen. Although the weather was just about perfect for spending a day wandering around the mines, I got a fair bit of sunburn.

Even spending most of the day at the Mining Park, we still didn't see everything. We might come back again and attempt the hike to the upper level and explore some of the areas we didn't see because by 4 o'clock we decided we needed to leave while our legs were still working. The rest of today's tourism would be mostly by car.
Tags: museum. lisa, tonopah

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