Discovered around 1900, the Sierra Silver Mine was thought to be rich enough in silver and lead to warrant mining activity. During the early years, it was mined by hand. Once the technology developed, miners used power tools to dig their way through, which is actually visible once entering the mine.
Minimal ore was found, despite showing the classic signs of large silver deposits. This caused the mine to pass through several hands. The new owners would see the signs of a rich mine, only to yield minimal amounts, then sell the mine because it wasn’t producing. Although the ownership changed a few times, it wasn’t consistently mined until the 1960s, when an incline shaft was sunk, running several hundred feet of drift.
Unfortunately, sinking the shaft did not improve the conditions. Rather than continuing to mine here, the mine was turned into a lab for local high school students to learn the mining trade, considering there were plenty of operating mines in the area. Shortly after offering this vocational course, the surrounding mines lost their demand for employees, causing the class to be canceled. In 1982, some locals started the non-profit organization, the Sierra Silver Mine Tour.
Know Before You Go
You will need to meet in downtown Wallace for the tour. You will take a trolly to the mine where you will be underground for approximately 45 minutes. Remember, this is underground so you might want to bring a coat and appropriate walking shoes (they will get dirty!).