Grand Encampment Tramway
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Grand Encampment Tramway

October 11, 2019

Did you know it is thought that Wyoming was
home to one of the most important copper mines in the West, in the late 1880’s to early
1900’s? Copper deposits were discovered in the Sierra
Madre Mountains in south central Wyoming in 1874. A decade-long copper boom did not occur until
sheepherder Ed Haggarty discovered a more significant copper deposit in 1897. The copper boom brought people, money, and
engineering achievements. A steam and gravity-powered tramway was constructed
to transport ore from the Ferris-Haggarty mine to the Boston-Wyoming mill and smelter
constructed in Riverside in 1902. The tramway traveled east and gained nearly
1,000 feet in elevation to cross over the Continental Divide. The tramway then descended over 3,000 feet
to the eastern flanks of the Sierra Madres, and on down to the smelter. The tramway was considered an engineering
marvel and was the longest in the world at the time. Each of the 840 buckets on the tramway could
transport up to 700 pounds of ore. The extraction of copper at the mine ceased
in 1908. To learn more and to view sections of the
aerial tramway visit the Grand Encampment Museum. From the University of Wyoming Extension,
I’m Windy Kelley, Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.

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