Thursday, June 27, 2013

Those Places Thursday – Kentucky Mine Museum

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Richard Hanson.

We genealogists will go anywhere for records and information about how our ancestors lived their lives. We will strain our arms turning the handles of old microfilm readers. We spend endless hours staring at a glaring computer screen. We trudge through old cemeteries hoping not to fall through into an upward migrating casket hollow. We open a dusty old tome in search of information risking catching a hundred-year-old cold from spores on the seldom-opened pages. But if challenging sleeping bats for the sake of genealogy and history is your thing, I have a place for your to visit this summer.

Heading north on Highway 49 eventually sends you to Sierra County, a high Sierra location packed with Gold Rush history. And along Highway 49 a ways east of Downieville can be found the Kentucky Historic Park and Museum.
The front of the Kentucky Mine Museum. Photo provided by Richard Hanson.
Run by a local historical society, the property consists of a museum, front part of a mine and a completely restored ore crushing facility. The museum contains mining artifacts, way-of-life exhibits, photographs, historical documents and useful books. They also sell books. But be sure to go on the tour of the mine and the ore crushing facility. Inside the ore crushing building the tour group will encounter some local residents – bats sleeping while suspended from the ceiling. They are used to groups of people and apparently take no notice. And their fur is not even ruffled when the guide turns on the hugely noisy ore crusher.

If you go, be sure to first call or email the museum to confirm open days and hours. There is a charge for the museum and the tour unless you are a member of the historical society.

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