"GET THE LEAD OUT"
The discovery of lead ore by the French
in the 18th century led to the world's
largest lead mine 100 years later
in Bonne Terre, Missouri.
The Bonne Terre Mine no longer produces
lead ore, but there was a time when 80%
of the world's lead came from this
huge underground mine.
This vast 17-mile wide mine was actively
worked by thousands of workers,
using dynamite, shovel and pick.
This extremely heavy ore was loaded into
small rail cars and pulled by donkeys
to a steam-powered pulley to the top.
(A full ore car weighed 30,000-pounds.)
Today, the empty mine is site of the world's
largest fresh water scuba diving,
with 100-foot deep, crystal-clear spring fed waters.
The Bonne Terre Mine attracts divers world wide
to its billion gallon lake site.
This underground site has also attracted
a growing mushroom cultivation business.
In the 1960s, Jacques Cousteau came to dive
the Bonne Terre underground lake for half a day.
(He ended up staying for 5 days, and mapping the site.)