Mining History Resources

KEEPING SAFE

Abandoned mines and mill buildings are potentially dangerous places. Every year, numerous adults and children are killed or injured at abandoned mining sites. Underground mines are especially hazardous. Hidden mine shafts and other openings, rotten timbers, deadly gases, old chemicals and explosives, and unstable rock can be killers. Visitors to old mining and mineral processing sites should be extra cautious and heed the warning of the Mine Safety and Enforcement Administration (MSHA) to “Stay out and stay alive.” More info.


RESPECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY

Many historic mining and mineral processing sites are on private land.  Be sure to get permission before trespassing on private property.  Never remove mining artifacts.  Follow the guideline: Take only pictures, leave only footprints.

ASSOCIATIONS

MAJOR ARCHIVES AND COLLECTIONS

MINING MUSEUMS AND TOURS

One of the best ways to experience the U. S. mining heritage first hand is to visit the many historical sites, parks, and museums (large and small) that have a mining theme.In mining towns across the country, you will learn about the adventurers and immigrants who sought their fortunes in mining: the eastern coal and iron workers in the 1700’s; the ‘49ers in the California Gold Rush; the sourdough prospectors and miners who were part of the various gold and silver rushes in the Rockies in the late 1800’s; and the copper, lead, and iron miners of the mid-west from the mid-1800’s to the early 1900’s.Some historic underground mines and mineral processing sites are open for tours.Company sponsored tours of operating mines or mine overlooks are a good way to compare the differences among historic mines and modern ones.

The list of mining and mining-related attractions below is a sampling of opportunities for you to see for yourself the important role mining and miners have played in the history of America.

Alabama 

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

While there are no mining history sites listed for Hawaii, active volcanic processes associated with the formation of many ore deposits can be observed.

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

While there are no mining history sites listed for Louisiana, the state’s rich heritage in oil and gas production is featured at several locations.

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

There are no mining history sites listed for Mississippi.

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

There are no mining history sites listed for Nebraska.

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

There are no mining history sites listed for North Dakota, however, the state has a strong heritage of lignite coal mining and oil and gas production. The North Dakota Geological Survey publication A History of Coal Mining in North Dakota, 1873-1982 by Colleen A. Oihus is an excellent reference.

Oklahoma

There are also several museums that feature Oklahoma’s oil and gas heritage.

Oregon

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

There are no mining history sites listed for Rhode Island; however, the historic summer homes/mansions of several mining capitalists can be found in Newport.

South Carolina

There are no mining history sites listed for South Carolina; however, the state experienced a significant gold rush in the early 1800s. There is currently an effort to reopen the historic Haile Mine. More information can be found in Gold Mining in the Carolinas by Natalie Adams Pope and Don Botwick.

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

There are also several museums that feature the Texas oil and gas heritage.

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Various States

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