I judge the quality of an abandoned mine based on several characteristics including, its size, variety of artifacts, equipment, and other interesting features. The Old Dominion Mine is one of few 10/10 mines that I have seen. This mine truly has it all. This mine is absolutely loaded with a variety of rare artifacts, many of which I have never seen in the hundreds of other mines I’ve explored. What makes the artifacts in this mine so rare is the age of the mine. This site was discovered and worked in the mid to late 1800’s. Much of the equipment we find was manufactured before 1900. Most notably, we find a steam-driven hoist from pre-1900’s, an incredibly rare find!
The Old Dominion Mine is a complex maze of interconnecting tunnels with dozens of miles of workings. This was an enormous mine and it employed hundreds of miners. The main commodities mined were silver and lead. The mine produced millions of dollars-worth of ore. By 1904, the high-grade ore had been depleted from the mine and it was abandoned. The mine was worked and sampled intermittently after this time, but never on a full scale.
Due to the size and complexity of this mine, we limited our exploration to the main haulage level, which took us about 7 hours to explore. As previously mentioned, there are miles of drifts that we did not see in our first visit to this site. For the same reason, I found it almost impossible to make even a moderately accurate map, so I have excluded the mine map animation for these videos.
I hope you enjoy this mine as much as I did. Part 2 will be released on Monday, June 7th. Part 2 is even more interesting than Part 1!
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