South Pass City, Wyoming
Beginning in 1867 & operating well into the 1950's, miners pursued the allure of gold at the Carissa Mine. In 2003, the State of Wyoming purchased the Carissa and began a multiphase restoration that will provide safe public access to the buildings and grounds. Once restored, the Carissa will be one of the best preserved historic gold mines in the United States. Currently, access is limited to guided tours. Tours are scheduled in June, July and August from South Pass City Historic Site. For tour information call 307-332-3684.
Carissa Gold Mine near South Pass City in southern Wyoming
The State of Wyoming is refurbishing this old mine so that visitors can see the workings of a truly great old gold mine.
South Pass City was the site of Wyoming's biggest gold boom and bust. Emigrant, travelers on their way west likely discovered small amounts of gold in the 1840's. But it wasn't until 1867 that the first mining claims were staked. Word of the new gold rush spread and the summer of 1868 brought an influx of people from every corner of the globe to partake in the bonanza. A torrent of mining activity followed for the next several years. In 1869 South Pass City, with perhaps 3,000 people was Wyoming Territory's second largest town.
Every boom ends, and by the early 1870's, the local mining districts collectively know as the Sweetwater mines, had passed their zenith. A small handful of hardy hangers-on remained in South Pass City through the years. Later booms, fueled by outside investment capital. kept the embers of civilized living and a connection with the larger world aglow. Today, South Pass City is among Wyoming's smallest continuously inhabited towns and is also home to its largest State Historic Site.
Firewood stash at South Pass City, Wyoming
Yes, some folks still live and work in the area.
South Pass City, Wyoming population approximately 5 people
This sign says it all. The state of Wyoming now owns the town and operates it as a historic site.
South Pass City in southern Wyoming along the old Oregon Trail
Building in South Pass City.
South Pass City Mercantile is the only business in this small Wyoming town
This business is not part of the State Historic Site. I think the lady working in the business said she lived in Atlantic City, a few miles east of here.
Part of the State of Wyoming's South Pass City Historic site
Restored building in South Pass City.
South Pass City, in southern Wyoming along the old Oregon Trail
This is what South Pass City looks like from the road overlooking the city.
Old stamp mill on display at South Pass City Historic site
This old stamp mill is part of the display at South Pass City Historic Site. It was used to crush gold bearing rocks mined in the area. I suspect this old stamp mill might have been one used at the famous Carissa Gold Mine.
Stamps in that stamp mill along with the rocks those stamps crushed to release the gold
Can you imagine the noise that must have been created with these big pieces of iron crushing rocks. If you do not understand the process of gold mining let me quickly give you an idea of what is going on. Gold is found in quartz rocks. Veins of gold can run through quartz much like small veins and blood vessels run through our bodies. Miners blast large pieces of the solid quartz. But the gold is still encased in the quartz. After the quartz rock is brought to the surface it would be taken to these stamp mills where the large steel hammers would crush the quartz rock into small grains or dust. Once the large rocks were pulverized to dust the "dust" grains etc., would then be run through a sluce (like panning for gold) where the gold being heavier would drop to the bottom while the lighter quartz would flow down and away.
Now you know the function of these big stamp mills.
More modern & smaller stamp mill
This small stamp mill would only be able to process small rocks.
Mine entrance at South Pass City where they were looking for gold bearing rocks
How would you like to go in there to your job every day?
Residence at South Pass City in southern Wyoming along the old Oregon Trail
I think this is where one or more of the "approximately 5" residents of South Pass City actually live.
Until next time remember how good life is.
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