Last Chance Mine

admin May 8, 2011 0

Last Chance Mine is one of the most historic and richest mines in Creede. It is a great source of Amethyst Vein and other worth-collecting minerals.

The history of Last Chance Mine can be dated back 115 years ago during the early days of the great silver boom of Creede. Rich with Amethyst Vein ore, the Last Chance became one of the top producers in Creede. Its 1,400-ft-long inclined shaft served more than a dozen of underground levels. Called the Chance Six, the sixth level worked a 100 ft-wide ore body, making it one of the widest sections of the four-mi-long Amethyst Vein.

During the 1970s, the Last Chance saw its final underground exploration. While there were still silver reserves, the large costs of environmental compliance and modern underground development made it impractical to revive the mine. Thus, the mine was closed and mainly forgotten for 20 years, while its surface buildings gradually collapsed.

The Last Chance Mine was revived in 1995, when it was bought by Jack Morris, who then restored the four mine buildings. Morris opened the Last Chance Mine in 2005 as a historic attraction and fee-collecting site. The mines are famous for the amethyst vein, a significant deposit of silver ore rich in galena and argentite and spotted with shining bits of natural silver, in a matrix of banded agate, pastel-colored and purple amethyst. Other beautiful minerals worth collecting are sowbelly agate and rare turquoise, galena, shalpalerite, zinc, pink rhodonite, Chalcopyrite, native silver, black manganese, pyrite, red jasper, copper, and many more.

The restored buildings are located on a flat field midway between the lower and steep upper mine-waste dumps, overlooking the Willow Creek, with the Amethyst Mine running 800 ft below. It is elevated at 10,300 ft.

The Last Chance Mine offers free admission, and visitors will be lectured about the history of the mine. Collectors without their own tools are offered with a rock hammer, bucket, and plastic spray bottle with water to help identify Amethyst Vein rock. Taking materials from the mine dump costs $2 for each pound.

Every summer, about 15 to 20 enthusiasts visit the Last Chance Mine daily. Children are also welcomed as long as they are closely supervised by guardians. The Last Chance Mine also has three rustic cabins that can accommodate a maximum of 12 visitors with wood, water and bedding provided. The cabins can be used for free, but accepts donations to finance mine-restoration work.

Morris also plans to build the Nancy Granger Schallen Museum for display of minerals, artifacts, mining equipment and pictures from the early days of Creede and the Last Chance Mine.

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