Homestake Time Line

1874

- Gold discovered in the Black Hills on French Creek near the present city of Custer by Ross and McKay, two miners attached to General Custer's Military Expedition.
1876 - On April 9, Manuel Brothers, Moses and Fred, together with Hank Harney, discovered a ledge, an out-cropping of ore termed a "lead" (pronounced "leed"), in what is now the Open Cut.  They named their claim "Homestake" and the mining camp which soon leaped to life took the name of Lead City.
1877 - Homestake claim and another totaling 10 acres were purchased from the Manuels by a group of mining men, who on November 5, incorporated Homestake Mining Company.
1878 - On July 12, 80 stamps weighing 750 pounds apiece started dropping in a new mill.  The stamps had been hauled 300 miles by ox team from Sidney, Nebraska, nearest railroad point.
1879

 

- January 22, Governing Committee of New York Stock Exchange accepted Homestake stock on the open market.
- First hoist placed in operation at B&M Shaft No. 1.
1880 - First railroad in the Black Hills was the Black Hills & Ft. Pierre, started by Homestake to bring cord wood fuel to the mills, shops and hoists, and timbers to the mine.  Sold to Burlington Railroad in 1902.  The line no longer exists.
- Homestake Hospital founded Black Hills Medical Center.
- First National Bank of the Black Hills founded in Lead primarily to serve Homestake and its employees.
1889 - November 2, South Dakota admitted to the Union.
1899 - An experimental cyanide plant built to attempt recovery of the gold in the tailings after amalgamation had extracted the greater part.  Followed in 1901 by the construction of fourteen 600-ton leaching vats for treatment of the sand tailings.  Vats enlarged and additional ones installed, plant was remodeled in later years.
1900 - Pneumatic drills began replacing hand drilling in mining operations.
1901 - Experiments with compressed-air locomotives successful.  Placed underground, replacing horses and mules.
1906 - Electrification of operations started with the first of three hydroelectric plants.
- Plant built in Deadwood to treat the finer particles of the ore (slime fraction).  Ceased operations in 1973 and replaced by carbon-in-pulp plant in Lead.
1916 - First steam turbine electric generating plant placed in operation.
1918 - To 1940, old mills, hoistrooms, headframes, mechanical shops, warehouses, other buildings in vicinity of Open Cut dismantled and removed.  Replacement plants built on ridge southeast of the Open Cut.  These included new metallurgical, mechanical, warehouse facilities, offices, etc.
1920 - Geology Department organized, subsequently becoming an independent engineering unit.
- First formal guided summertime tours of surface workings instituted.  Since 1997, conducted by the Homestake Visitor Center, a non-profit organization.
1926 - Celebration held commemorating discovery of Homestake 50 years previous.
1934 - The new Ross Shaft installation placed into operation.
- The new Kirk steam turbine electric generating plant placed on stream.  Sold to BH Power & Light Company in 1954.
1941 - The new Yates Shaft installation completed and normal hoisting operations started on October 1, thus completing a major construction program begun in the 1920's.
1942 - In October, War Production Board Order L-208 suspended all gold mining in the United States.  Mining stopped immediately, but broken ore in stopes milled until June 1943.
1945 - On July 2, mining and milling operations resumed as a result of the rescinding of W.P.G. Order L-208.
1950-1970 - Gigantic modernization program in mining and milling undertaken.  New mining techniques, tools and equipment introduced.  Orecrushing and grinding plants completely rebuilt.  Deep-level mine development began with underground shaft sunk from 4,850-foot level to the 6,800-foot level.  New ventilating shaft sunk from surface to the 5,000-foot level; now bottoms on the 8,000-foot level.
1965 - Excavation began to construct a Solar Neutrino Observatory on the 4,850-foot level of the mine to "trap" neutrinos that are produced by nuclear reactions occurring in the interior of the sun.
1970-1976 - Deep-level development continued with two new underground shafts sunk; one from the 4,500-foot level to the 8,000-foot level; the other from the 6,800-foot level to the 8,000-foot level.
1977 - Homestake's award winning Grizzly Gulch Tailings Impoundment facility completed.  The impoundment allows sand tailings to settle out, creating water which is re-cycled for Homestake re-use, and a portion is treated and discharged back into Whitewood Creek.
1982 - New Black Hills Medical Center building built in Deadwood to replace old Homestake Hospital.
- Dust monitoring in the vicinity of the Open Cut Project began with all results submitted to the South Dakota Department of Water and Natural Resources for review every quarter.
1983 - Open Cut mine operating and reclamation plan approved by South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment.
- Test mining in the north end of the Open Cut began using modern open pit methods.
-  Blast monitoring conducted to minimize impacts on Lead residents as well as to prevent injury to persons and damage to public or private property.
1983-1985 - Terraville Test Pit phase of the Open Cut Project produced about 28,000 ounces of gold and removed over 4.4 million tons of ore and waste.
1984 - Operation began of Homestake's Waste Water Treatment Plant, a one-of-a-kind biological water treatment facility, which converted Whitewood Creek to a viable trout fishery.
>1985 - Homestake Board of Directors approved Open Cut Expansion plan to further develop the project to the south.
- Lead Lot Sale Program began with proceeds donated to Twin City Area Development Corporation.
1986 - Black Hills Mining Museum constructed with major funding and construction assistance from Homestake.
- The innovative Japan Pipe Conveyor system, a continuous rubber tube, was built to quietly and cleanly transport crushed ore from the Open Cut to the Homestake mill for processing.  The JPC system, the longest of its kind in the world, replaced truck haulage resulting in a safer and cleaner environment.
1987 - Donated land for Twin City Mall and facilitated its construction.
- Construction completed on new al- weather track and multi-use sports facility at Mountain Top Field in Lead.
- Start-up of the new South Mill Gravity Separation Circuit began, increasing gravity gold recovery to approximately 54%, and allowing the South Mill to efficiently handle up to 7,000 tons of ore per day.
1988 - Homestake commissioned a state-of-the-art mine refrigeration and cooling system located on the 6,950-foot level of the mine.
- Homestake underwrote $3.7 million in bonds to help finance the new Golden Hills Resort.
1989 - Homestake Natural History and Cultural Center built in Spearfish Canyon at Savoy.
1992 - Lead Mill Optimization Project initiated to optimize the Lead Mill and take advantage of the Open Cut's capability to supply an additional 500 tons/day to the Mill.  The project increased revenues while lowering costs.
1993 - January 1, all surface and underground phones were transferred to a new computerized system from a Homestake switchboard that had been in operation since 1906.
1998 - All surface mining in the Open Cut ended.
1999 - Homestake shut down for three months.  During this time the mine reorganized management and their work force due to the high production costs of the mine.  
2000 - Homestake announced that it would be closing the Homestake Gold Mine in Lead, South Dakota in December 2001.
   
   
   
   
   
 

* This information courtesy of the Homestake Visitors Center