Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bisbee Part 3

One touristy thing we did (at the recommendation of my friend Heather) was the Queen Mine Tour.  It was pretty awesome!  We got to wear these fancy clothes & ride a little train 1500 feet into the mine. 

They had a pretty fantastic display inside the visitors center of old mine equipment & precious stones & minerals.

Our tour guide was a man who was a miner in Bisbee for over 30 years.  He worked in a different mine from the Queen Mine.  One that was well over 100 degrees inside all the time.  The Queen Mine has an average temperature of 47 degrees.  Burr....

Getting the talk before we head into the mine.

Not the original mine entrance.  The mountain has been mined so much that the outer part is just a shell covering a bunch of holes.  The original entrance was further up the mountain & was filled in when it became dangerous.

Miner porta potties.

I don't remember much about the bike other than it was a supervisors mode of transportation.

A little disconcerting...

At the end of the tour, the guide showed us a photo of himself as a miner in the 1970's.  He said you could never bring your family to work & he wanted to show them what he did all day.  He was very proud of that photo!  A few things I learned:
  • Miners drilled holes that were as wide as a sick of dynamite & 8 foot deep all day long.  At the end of their shift they put dynamite in the holes & set them off.
  • Silica dust is what causes miners lungs to harden, so all of the equipment in the early 1900's was equipped with a water to keep the dust down.
  • The equipment was powered by compressed air...not gasoline engines.  The fumes would have killed them.
  • Before they had miners lights, they used candles to light the way.  It was not uncommon for a candle to catch the wall beams on fire & shut the mine down for weeks.  Each tunnel has fire doors for just that occurrence.
  • Mining is hard work.  And no matter how I feel about my job on any given day, I am thankful that I do what I do & that I am not a miner.
Stay tuned for part 4!


  1. I'm glad you were able to do the mine tour! They used to have a fun haunted one around Halloween time but you don't get the light so it was pretty dark and spooky! Looks like you guys had fun!!


  2. Just fascinating. Rick is from a mining town and all of his distant relatives were miners, some coming from Virginia. I can't wait for the next installment!

  3. This really looks like a fun trip! Audra