The Anselmo Mine is the best
preserved of all the mine yards in Butte. Owned
by Butte-Silver Bow County, it has been
maintained in almost the same condition it was
in when it shut down in 1959, after operating
since 1887. Free tours of this historic mine
yard are organized each summer by the World
Museum of Mining, with the vital help of a crew
of volunteer retired miners who provide the
information — and fascinating first-hand stories
— at each of six stations.
Learn how the hoist operator
knew the language of the bells which told him
how to move the mine cages, or skips, which he
could not see. Discover how dedicated friends
restored the electric train engine, Number 47 —
which was such an innovation when it was built
in 1914 that it was displayed at the World's
Fair. Learn the meaning of "Tap 'er light".
The Anselmo shaft is 4301
feet deep — quite respectable, but nearly 1000
feet shallower than Butte's deepest mine. It
began as a zinc mine, with copper coming to the
The tracks of the Butte
Anaconda & Pacific Railway, the first heavy-haul
electrified railway in the world, passed beneath
the Anselmo headframe and received ore from a
large bin called a tipple. The Anselmo tipple is
the last one on the Butte Hill. The ore train
wound its way along what is now a new walking
trail, past the Orphan Girl Mine, and on to the
smelters of Anaconda, about 25 miles away.
The Butte, Anaconda, and
Pacific Railway cars, including Engine #47, are
part of the World Museum of Mining collection,
on loan to Butte-Silver Bow County for display
at the county-owned Anselmo Mine Yard.
On your guided tour, you will
be able to walk through the hoist house with its
immense engines and pulleys, past the cables
themselves, and to the lower level where giant
turbines provided the power to run the hoists.
Outside, you will visit the
cages still hanging in the headframe, and go
inside the "Dry" — a place where miners kept
their lamps charged and got themselves clean at
the end of a shift. Climb up into the electric
engine that was the pace-setter for railroad
electrification in America.
You'll have a unique
opportunity to learn how the mine worked, from
the men who did the work themselves. Some of the
miners say that the Anselmo is so much the way
it was back in 1959 that it is as if the place
was just shut down last week, and they would
know where to find the tools that they laid down
40 years ago. This tour is a rare look into the
past — a past that was vital to the forging of
modern industrial America.
All donations at the Anselmo
tours help to purchase supplies for the
restoration by volunteers of the "Cow and Calf,"
two of the pieces of BA&P Railroad equipment on
the site, and other operations of the World
Museum of Mining. As a private non-profit
organization, the Museum receives no budgetary
funding from any local, state or Federal agency.
We depend 100% on memberships, donations,
admission fees, and grants.