Broken Boot Gold Mine


In the spring of 1876, hopeful miners swept into Deadwood Gulch in search of gold. Among them were Olaf Seim and James Nelson, who dug a mine just outside Deadwood in 1878. Known as Seim's Mine, it produced about 15,000 ounces of gold over 26 years for its two owners. It sounds like a lot of gold but is actually only about 1.5 oz. per day. Fortunately for Seims and Nelson, they also found large quantities of iron pyrite, or "fool's gold." This mineral was in demand, because it could be used to make sulfuric acid, which engineers then used to process real gold. In fact, the mine made more money from the fool's gold than from the real thing!

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Civil
Topic(s):Structures
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:The original mine closed in 1904 but reopened for one year during WW I, when demand was high for iron and sulfur - crucial components of gunpowder. The mine then sat vacant for 36 years. In 1954, the decision was made to repair the mine for tours. During the renovations, workers found an old boot in a back chamber; hence the name Broken Boot Mine.
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