Vehicles were lined up in three directions Sunday to view the renovations at the Carissa Mine and Mill. (Ernie Over photo)
(South Pass City, Wyo.) – Sunday was a busy one at South Pass City State Historic Site as the general public had its first real chance to see the renovations at the historic Carissa Mine and Mill. “We had 1,132 people tour the Carissa today,” said site superintendent Joe Ellis after the tours ended at 3 p.m. “There were vehicles lined up before we opened at 10 a.m. and it was a steady stream of traffic all day.” Ellis said people came from all across Fremont County and the state and included tourists who happened upon the opening and folks who had planned to be there for the special viewing opportunity. Included in the number of visitors were tourists from Scotland and exchange students who just arrived in the county from Turkey, Thailand and Germany. Former U.S. Senator Alan and Anne Simpson were also among the guests.
The main attraction was an operating ball mill and water table inside the mine, equipment that had been removed after the mill closed in 1954. South Pass City staff with the assistance of the Department of Environment Quality’s Abandoned Mine Land Division worked for the past three years to make the site “visitor friendly” while finding replacement equipment to match that taken from mill. The roof of the mill was replaced, the area around the original Carissa Mine was stabilized and a viewing platform added, a replica of the original Hoist House and trestle was built, and the inside of the mill was cleaned of hazardous chemical residue from the mill’s gold leaching process. Youth from the Wyoming Conservation Corps also created pathways around the site for visitor access. The payoff was a series of openings of the mill, for state officials and contractors who did the work, for Friends of South Pass who attended a night opening of the mill Saturday and for the general public on Sunday.
Photos by Ernie Over. Click to enlarge, mouse over to view captions.
Editors Note: County10.com Managing Editor Ernie Over is a member of the board of directors of the Friends of South Pass City