Broken Boot Mine, Deadwood

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Imagine getting hold of a gold claim just three miles from the fabulously rich Homestake shafts. You work incredibly hard carving out a good size mine in the days before mechanized drills. You know your work will pay off big in this region flush with gold. Or...maybe not. That's what two men named Seim and Nelson learned after forming a partnership and developing a gold mine immediately outside Deadwood. Gold mostly eluded them, although they sold some other minerals. They didn't give up, laboring in their mine from 1978 until 1904, and then again during World War I to produce metals for the war effort. But it was Seim's daughter who made the mine produce in another way when she redeveloped the old diggings for visitors in the 1950s. She named her attraction the Broken Boot Gold Mine. Tours are easy, subterranean walks. Just outside the mine entrance kids can pan for gold in a sluice, and they're guaranteed to find a genuine flake or two. That's probably more gold than Mr. Seim and Mr. Nelson saw some days. But who would have predicted it a century ago? The mighty Homestake Gold Mine, the western hemisphere's biggest, is gone and the little Seim and Nelson enterprise lives on.

Photo courtesy Broken Boot Gold Mine

Address: 1200 Pioneer Way, Deadwood, SD 57732

Follow Paul Higbee:

Paul writes about the Black Hills for in-flight airline publications, academic magazines, South Dakota Magazine, public TV, newspapers and websites. He is the author of five books, all Black Hills themed. He lives in the Black Hills. He's obviously no Renaissance Man with varied interests, but if the Black Hills are your thing, he's your guy.

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