History

The Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center invites visitors to learn more about the rich history of Lead and the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Geology and Mining:

Discover the geology of the Black Hills, an island in the plains, and an area with unique mineral resources. The discovery of an incredibly rich vein of gold ore lead to the establishment of the Homestake gold mine, which became the largest and deepest gold mine in North America during its 126 years in operation.

 

The People:

Learn how the Black Hills have held special significance to those who have visited and called it home. The Hills hold great importance to numerous tribes, including the Oceti Sakowin, serving as a sacred space, a place of origin. After gold was discovered, miners flocked to the Hills from all over the world, especially as Homestake developed and expanded. These individuals shaped the community of Lead for generations.

 

The Science:

Dr. Ray Davis was the first to see the potential of conducting research in an underground mine. Explore the experiment that eventually lead to Ray Davis receiving a Nobel Prize, while learning more about the world leading research currently occurring within the drifts of the Sanford Underground Research Facility.

Lead has been called the richest 100 square miles on Earth. Over a period of 126 years, miners pulled more than 41 million ounces of gold and 9 million ounces of silver from the Homestake Mine, the largest mine in the western hemisphere.