Filed Under Mining History

Kelley Mine

1949-1980, 4810 Feet Deep

Youngest, most technologically advanced underground mine in Butte.

The Kelley Mine is the youngster on the hill. It represents the most technologically advanced workings, with a concrete-lined shaft to reduce the risk of fire. The cage held fifty miners, a giant step from the early days when cages were built to hold six men. The Kelley has three shafts and two headframes, the larger the tallest on the hill. Even the mining process itself took on new proportions with block-caving mining techniques, which increased production to over 15,000 tons a day.

By the time the Kelley came on line, all of the mines still operating were owned by the Anaconda Company, and their workings were interconnected. The major role of the Kelley was to serve as a hoisting shaft for ore from other works.

Among the buildings still standing is the central heating plant with its large smokestack. Not only did this coal-fired furnace warm the buildings and mines of the Kelley, but heat was also pumped to several other mine yards and mines and even to some of the larger downtown buildings, including the Thornton Block and the Hennessy Building.

The complex of structures below the Kelley includes shops and warehouses for the entire Bute hill: a boiler-maker shop, a blacksmith shop, a large machine shop, and a tin shop. The extensive array of mining machines and equipment used on the hill were maintained and repaired in these buildings.

The Kelley was the last underground mine to close. Today some of its buildings are used as a production facility by the Headframe Spirits distillery.

Images

Men During Construction of Kelley Headframe
Men During Construction of Kelley Headframe A group of men pose at the base of the Kelley Headframe during installation of the headframe in October, 1950. The headframe was moved to the Kelley from the Leonard Mine. Identified in the photo are John T. Shea, upper right, and boss Moose Peters, bottom middle. This is a vertical photo. Click the title to view the full image. Source: Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives Creator: C. Owen Smithers Date: October, 1950
Raising a Sheave Wheel onto the Kelley Headframe
Raising a Sheave Wheel onto the Kelley Headframe A sheave wheel, one of five, being lifted to the top of the Kelley Headframe. This is a vertical photo. Click the title to view the full image. Source: Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives Creator: C. Owen Smithers Date: January, 1951
Kelley Mine Startup
Kelley Mine Startup First cage hoisted at the Kelley Mine. Source: Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives Creator: C. Owen Smithers Date: April, 1952
Kelley Mine
Kelley Mine View of the Kelley Mine looking west. Source: World Museum of Mining Creator: Al's Photo Shop
Kelley Mineyard
Kelley Mineyard Source: World Museum of Mining

Location

Off Anaconda Road | Private

Metadata

Story of Butte
Contributor: Butte Historical Society, “Kelley Mine,” Story of Butte, accessed April 14, 2024, https://storyofbutte.org/items/show/3396.