Black Hills Mining Museum
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Welcome to the Black Hills Mining Museum, located in the mile-high city of Lead. Our non-profit educational corporation is dedicated to the preservation of the rich mining heritage of the Black Hills of South Dakota. We invite you to visit us and enjoy our numerous exhibits and activities. For more than a century, gold mining had been the #1 industry in Lead and in the Northern Black Hills. Today that mining heritage is cleverly depicted as an educational and fun Family Approved Attraction. May 1st - October 15th Guided Tours, Gold Panning, & Museum Available Monday-Saturday 9:00 am-5:0 0pm Tours end 1 hour prior to close time. CLOSED SUNDAY Wheelchair Accessible and ADA Bathrooms Initially, prospecting was centered in and around the French Creek area where gold was initially discovered by Custer’s party. By late 1875 mining had spread north to Whitewood Creek near the current city Deadwood. Placer claims were staked throughout the area and experienced prospectors began looking for the original source of the gold – otherwise known as the Mother Lode. On April 9,1876, Moses and Fred Manuel located the Homestake claim (near the current town of Lead) – the richest source of gold in the area. In June, 1877 George Hearst purchased the Homestake Mine from the Manuel brothers for $70,000. By 1880 the rich placer deposits were depleted and hard rock mining processes were established. The most profitable mining operations were located within a few square miles of the towns of Lead and Deadwood. Many mines were established during the early years of the boom and many played out quickly. Most of them closed in the very early 1900’s due to the lack of high grade ore and increasing costs. Only the Homestake Mine in Lead continued to operate almost continuously for 126 years. In 2002, it too ceased operations due to increased production costs.