These 11 Rare Photos Show Missouri’s Mining History Like Never Before

Missouri may be known for the beautiful caves that hide beneath the surface but Missouri was also once known for the large amount of lead ore found beneath the ground. Mining, especially lead mining, was a huge industry in Missouri nearly a century ago.

Many of the largest lead mines have now been abandoned by mining companies leaving small towns fearful of the environmental impact and in an economic decline. The small town of Herculaneum knows all too well about the dangers of led pollution. In 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency closed the Doe Run Co. smelter which was the last place in the country where lead taken from the ground was processed. Herculaneum residents are still recovering from the pollution and contamination that came from lead production. While Missouri’s mining history was dangerous for those in and around the mines, it is still an important aspect to the formation and development of our great state.

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:

What do you think about these amazing historic photos from Missouri’s mining industry? Let us know in the comments below.