Abandoned Mines

Yellow Pine Mill, Alice Mine, Middlesex Mine

My roommate Anthony & I drove out to the small town of Goodsprings to look for some cool mines. The first spot we went to was the site of the Yellow Pine Mill, center of activity for the Yellow Pine Mining District around the turn of the century. Like, way last century, not like 11 years ago. The Yellow Pine Mining District is synonymous with the town of Goodsprings, even though it served other neighboring towns as well. The center of the district was located a mile or two from the where Goodsprings lies today, but who knows how close they were back then; those mining towns had an annoying tendency of hopping around. The Yellow Pine Mill was, according to my suppositions, big. I’m assuming it was big because historical Yellow Pine still accounts for 40% of Clark County’s total mining production, which I found out online somewhere and forgot to cite it.

the mill in its hey day

Awesome historical photos from UNLV
Not much is left of the area except for concrete foundations bravely remaining on a massive mountain of mine tailings. Wooden structures like ore chutes, head frames and stamp mills have collapsed and are partially buried by the tailings.

Foundation remains of the Yellow Pine Mill

Million dollar question: Which came first, the mine or the building? Anthony said he crawled in here with his cousin one time. No thank you.

In recent history the ruins have been used as a place to shoot things, including TVs and the stuffed torso of a pretend child.

 

remains of a railroad track:

Alice Mine
We could see the remains of Alice Mine from the Yellow Pine Mill & headed out in her direction. BLM had gotten to this one & bat gates were installed on the 2 entrances we saw. I couldn’t find any information on the mine, but I came across a forum post where some guy claimed to have an underground map of the tunnels which tells me it’s pretty extensive/fun to explore if you can figure out how.

The collapsing remains of an ore chute, used to haul the ore from the mine down to where it could be processed

Looking down the ore chute from above:

BLM put bat gates up so that people like Anthony (and, well…me) couldn’t get in but some animals still have access. Tons of species of bats, including threatened species, have used the mines for the last century; it’s basically their natural habitat now & environmentalists yell at BLM for plugging up mines, so sometimes they do this instead.

A bat gate installed on a vertical shaft.

I mostly agree with gating the vertical shafts because people & ATVs like to fall into them when they aren’t looking, but I think that if the shaft is the only entrance the gate should be hinged & accessible; if somebody wants to rappel down into a mine that is potentially hazardous, why take that opportunity away from them? I rappel into canyons that could potentially be dangerous….it’s my choice, not the BLMs. *Off soapbox.*

The view from Alice Mine. Shenandoah Peak in the background, with the massive tailings piles of Yellow Pine Mine & Mill are visible in the center.

 

Some kind of tool we found outside of the mine.

Middlesex Mine

Danger? I don't mind if I do.

(Dear concerned family & friends: I have thoroughly researched the dangers of exploring abandoned mines and feel confident that I can tell when a mine will be safe. In addition, I’m a big weenie so I only go in a few hundred feet.)

We turned off our flashlights for a second once the entrance light disappeared. This flash scared the begeezus out of Anthony. hehe.

 

Here I am, ready to tackle falling rocks, haunted spirits & bat shit.

 

Looking up, a vertical shaft leads to heaven.

This mine dead-ended fairly quickly but it was a perfect intro for me. I got to walk in far enough to leave the entrance light, take a few turns and get myself all nervous & adrenalined but I didn’t go so far in that it would have been hard to get out in a hurry. There weren’t any ruins or artifacts left, which is to be expected with a mine so close to the highway. That’s the stuff I really want to see, so we set off to find some mines with artifacts.

Sources: Goodsprings.org

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