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The Student News Site of Mineral Point High School

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The Student News Site of Mineral Point High School

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Mining in Mineral Point

Alstan Van Overmeer
Old equipment used for mining

Mineral Point has played a significant role in mining in the US. It attracted Cornish miners and still plays a role in preserving Cornish and American mining history today.

In 1827, Mineral Point was founded. European settlers began mining lead. The lead mining continued into the 1860s. Cornish miners also came to Mineral Point for the lead. In 1836, Mineral Point was even the biggest town in the Wisconsin Territory, but about 700 people left in 1848 because of the gold rush. Mineral Point never regained its importance. In the 1880s, zinc was found and mined. Zinc mining eventually stopped, too, in the 1920s.

In the 1800s, mining lead was challenging. One of the biggest challenges was finding lead to mine in the first place. To do this, miners would dig horizontally across hillsides, hoping to run into lead veins. Once miners found lead, they would dig up into the vein to extract the ore. Mineral Point had so much lead that in 1847, the town produced 43,800 pounds daily. When lead mining stopped, zinc was found at the bottom of old lead mines. At one time, Mineral Point had the biggest zinc smelter in the world. The New Jersey Zinc Company made zinc oxide in Mineral Point.

Once the lead was mined, it could be used to make various things, like plumbing, silverware, paint, and printer’s type. Zinc is mixed with copper to make brass. It also could be turned into zinc oxide, which is still used to treat minor skin irritations. Zinc oxide was also used to make white paint called zinc white.

Lead mining was so extensive that Mineral Point was the center of the US’s first lead rush. Henry Dodge was inaugurated as the first governor of the Wisconsin Territory at Mineral Point in 1836, showing how important Mineral Point was to the US.

Lead and zinc weren’t the only minerals mined. Mineral Point had a few small copper deposits.

To save money and time, miners would live in burrows they dug, so Wisconsin got the name the Badger State.

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About the Contributor
Alstan VanOvermeer
Alstan VanOvermeer, Media Intern
Freshman Alstan Van Overmeer is a first-year member of the Pointer Media Team. He is looking forward to learning about post-production.   Here is a little more about him. Favorite Food: Broccoli Romans Favorite Movie: The Mummy Favorite Sport: Soccer Favorite Animal: Elephants Favorite Celebrity: George Lucas  
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