This morning we took a one-hour tour of the Queen Mine in Bisbee, Arizona. This facility, established in 1877, mined primarily copper, but also silver, gold, zinc and lead until it was closed down in 1975.
It has been operated as a Tour facility since 1976 and employs 12 people full-time, many of whom are former mine workers, now employed as Tour Guides. Our guide worked in 3 different mines in Arizona over 32 years before retiring in 1994 due to back problems.
The tour goes about 1/3 mile into the mine, 600 feet below the summit of the mountain, in corridors approximately 10 feet wide and 12 feet high. We rode a tiny “train” on tracks and wore helmets, head lamps and slickers. The temperature in the mine is a constant 47 degrees. We learned that mines operating above sea level are cool, while those deep in the earth are hot, some in the 115 – 125 degree range, and our Guide worked in one such hot mine. And we thought our jobs had challenges associated with them!
This is the “out house” car used in the mine!