The Quincy Mining Company was formed in 1846 as the result of a clerical error. During the great mining rush of the area, the same piece of land was inadvertently sold to two different parties. After discussions between the directors of the two interests, it was decided they should merge their interests and proceed.
Quincy Mine would go on to become the most successful mine in the area, earning the nickname, "Old Reliable". It would provide profits for 53 consecutive years and dividends for investors up until 1920. Much of the mine's success was the result of innovative techniques developed here, and unusually good treatment of the workers.
The company decided that it wanted to attract and keep a higher quality of worker. To that end, the built and maintained 3-story homes for the workers to live in, raise families and spend their lives. Amenities such as electricity and running water, luxuries at the time, were also provided to ensure that workers would not be tempted away to work in other mines cropping up around the area.
In 1918, having been delayed by World War I, construction began on the world's largest steam-driven mine hoist, costing over $370,000 dollars in its day. Construction wasn't completed until November, 1920. The new hoist, however, allowed larger loads to be raised faster, from deeper depths, saving the company substantial money. The hoist and the mine itself ceased operation in 1931 due to slumping copper prices.
World War II came, and the demand for copper increased. The mine resumed operations until the end of the war in 1945. By the time of its closure, Quincy Mine boasted the world's deepest shaft at 9,260 feet.
This mine is currently a museum and promoter of mining in the region. When we arrived, however, it was closed, so we decided to take a tour of our own. While the headframe and the hoist building are the actual museum, the grounds offer a great deal to explore, including several ruins scattered about that make for fun exploring. When the museum is open, they take people underground, but not the traditional way via the headframe. A trolly is lowered down a ratcheted track over the side of the mountain to an adit at Level 7. People enter through there. Again, an experience we missed, but that's ok. We're not really museum people anyway. The artifacts littered about, the ruins, and the general feel of the non-museum portions were quite enough for us.