Large underground mines often have important infrastructure and facilities built in underground chambers, hundreds or thousands of feet below the surface. Storage facilities, repair shops, and even modern hoist houses can be found deep within the mines. These facilities weren’t often captured in photographs, so it is a rare treat to be able to see photos of them, and even see them being built.
Leonard McKinley worked as a mining engineer at the U.S. Mine in Bingham, Utah from the 1920s up until 1935. A family member sent us a collection of Leonard’s photos from his time at the mine, and they are a priceless record of what work at the mine was like almost a century ago.
Leonard captured the construction of an elaborate underground hoist house in this series of photos. The first photo (above) shows the drilling and blasting of the chamber that the hoist room will occupy.
Once the chamber was created, cement was poured for the floor.
A steel framework is assembled for the walls of the hoist room.
Hoist machinery is assembled. Many of these machine parts are enormous, imagine the difficulty of getting them to this underground location.
The following image shows the hoist drums being installed.
The final structure is a modern facility, it is amazing to think it is deep underground.
The U.S. Mine was eventually swallowed by the enormous Bingham open pit. Open pit mines often exposed underground mine infrastructure as the pit expanded. I don’t know if this particular facility was exposed by the pit, but one can imagine these kinds of structures and the machines contained in them being hauled out in the back of giant haul trucks.
For more U.S. Mine photos, see out Bingham, Utah gallery.