Thursday, October 13, 2011
Will Arizona’s historic stamp mill be scrapped?
Following their hostile takeover of the top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum, the Arizona Historical Society closed it and disposed of the contents. At this time, the historic mining artifacts outside the building remain in place. That includes the restored stamp mill. All the AHS has ever said about these mining artifacts is that they will be “relocated”.
Relocated to where? The Maricopa County landfill?
In the 1890s, the 19 foot tall mill crushed ore at the Swallow Mine 17 miles north of Wickenburg, Arizona. Driven by a 50 horse power, single cylinder, Western States engine, it was capable of processing 8 tons of rock a day. It then remained intact but unused at that site until 1996 when the owner of the mine donated it to the AMMM. Volunteers then moved the huge mill, piece by piece, from the mine to the museum. In 2000, the volunteers began restoring the mill. Finally, in 2007, after thousands of hours of labor, it was again capable of processing ore, just as it had in the 1890s. It was then one only a few stamp mills in the USA capable of operating just as it did a century ago. Visitors could watch the 1000 pounds stamps dropping 60 times a minute as they again crushed gold bearing ore. The photos below show the restored stamp mill, and the mill in full operational mode with a catwalk around it.
Today, the AHS will not even allow the volunteers access to the mill to maintain it in operating order. The AHS is demonstrating complete disregard for Arizona’s mining heritage, and a total lack of respect for the volunteer restoration effort. Yet they still display an obviously insincere motto on their website; Saving Arizona's History since 1864.