Take a step back in history and experience the industry that defined the Black Hills and Deadwood, South Dakota with a tour of the Broken Boot Gold Mine. This modest mine operated fro 26 years from 1878 to 1904. Now visitors can experience part of Deadwood history and walk through the historic tunnels.
About the Broken Boot Gold Mine
The 1876 Black Hills Gold Rush lured thousands of hopeful prospectors to Deadwood, South Dakota. Among them, Olaf Seim and James Nelson carved out their own piece of the miner’s dream when they establish Sein’s Mine in 1878. The mine did have gold but only in a modest amount. Over the 26 years of operation, the mine yielded 15,000 ounces of gold, averaging 1.5 ounces a day. Fortunately for Seim and Nelson, gold wasn’t the only material of value in Deadwood.
While iron-pyrite is known as “fools gold” Seim and Nelson found that the deceptive material had its own value. Iron pyrite is a component of sulfuric acid, used in processing real gold. Thus, in Deadwood, with such a wealth of gold to be mined, even fools gold was in demand. Seim and Nelson made more selling fools gold than real gold. The mine continued operation until 1904 when it closed.
The mine enjoyed a brief second life in 1917 supplying iron and sulfur. These two components for gunpowder were in high demand to support the war effort of WWI. Yet, that only lasted as long as the war. The mine ceased operation for good in 1918.
After decades of disuse, in 1954 the mine was leased to a group of Deadwood businessmen to be reopened for tours. While renovating the mine for public viewing, an old broken boot was discovered in a remote chamber. The mine was re-christened the Broken Boot Mine and readied for the public.
Visiting the Broken Boot Gold Mine
Visitors can now explore the century-old shafts of the Broken Boot Mine on educational guided walking tours. Learn about the history of the Broken Boot, Deadwood, and the Black Hills Gold Rush while experiencing the rough and remote work environments of these early miners. See old mining equipment including candles and hard rock drills in the original shafts. Conclude the experience with gold panning.