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Anselmo Mine Yard

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 fore later.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A winter view of the Anselmo Mine in the 1930s.
From the Library of Congress collection.
Other photos by Dick Gibson.

 

 

The World Museum of Mining

155 Museum Way, P.O. Box 33, Butte, Montana 59703
Phone: 406-723-7211 Email:
info@miningmuseum.org

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Revised: August 20, 2013.