The Disappearing Mining Landscape of Grant County
This portfolio is a work in progress documenting the mining heritage of Grant County, New Mexico. The exhibit has shown this year at the Silver City, New Mexico Museum and at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry (WMMI) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The exhibit at WMMI continues to December 9, 2017.
Click on panel and it will open to show it's contents. Each panel shows a part of the exhibit.
Boston Hill is often considered part of the Chloride Flats Mining District. Silver was first discovered in 1871, though active mining did not begin until some years later, according to the New Mexico Bureau of Mines 1996 report #424. Although the district is better known for its silver ore, 2.7 million short tons of manganiferous-iron ore was produced through 1962, largely from the Boston Hill mines.
In many places on Boston Hill, mining crreated caverns open to the surface. Such is the case with this underground room.
The Central Mining District consists of deposits near the towns of Santa Rita, Fierro-Hanover, Valadium and Bayard. The largest producer in New Mexico and the most significant is the Chino Mine near what was once Santa Rita. The Chino copper deposit was initially discovered by Native Americans who used it as a source of copper for implements and weapons. Mining by the Spanish in the Mimbres area did not amount to much until ca. 1798
Fault lines are intregal to mining because precious metals are usually found where the earth has moved along a fault line. In the old days, before geologists, miners looked for color in rock and then they looked for fault lines. When a fault was found, a miner would would blast the rock along the fault line to hopefully uncover something precious.
Gold was discovered in the area in 1884 at the Gold Chief claim and a stamp mill was erected in 1886 (Gillerman,1964). By the 189Os, many small mines were active, reaching their peak when the mining town of Gold Hill had a population of 500. By 1900 the shallow, free-milling oxidized ore was almost exhausted and production was in steep decline. Shortly after1 900, Frank Cline acquired the rights to several of the better Gold Hill mines in the district and mined them until his death in 1940.