The Empire Mine has been on our list to explore for several years. We finally got a chance to drop in for the mine yard tour.
The Empire claims to be one of the oldest, deepest, richest mines in the Mother Lode. Before closing in the 1950’s it produced 5.6 million ounces.
We toured past a 10 stamp mill display, pelton wheel and the original stamp mill foundation to the head frame. We sat near the collar as the tour guide explained much of the operation. We then descended a short staircase into the main two compartment shaft which was gated. We were invited to sit in an original man skip and the guide started an animation which flashed lights in sequence and made clanking sounds as if we were descending the shaft. That concluded the tour.
The workshop, compressor building and winch house are sealed off from visitors with chicken wire which made it very difficult to photograph.
We then walked the mine yard which has a very impressive array of mining equipment including; carts, pumps, compressors, blowers, grinders, crushers, hoist, etc. WE then explored the assay, smelters, and offices which was very interesting.
Finally we finished up inside the small museum and marveled at the room size scale replica of the mine and its neighbors 367 miles of tunnels that descended an incredible 11,000 ft below the earth.
One review on “Empire Mine State Park”
Very nice family tour of a large corporate mining venture. Limited or no access to some areas and like most of the big corporate operations the mill and all the processing equipment are long gone.