Part 2, The End of an Era
Photos by John Schehrer
This photographic view of the lead and zinc mining district shows the field as it looked at the end during the 1960s. Mining did not start at Cardin and Picher until about 1914 and was over by 1970. This set of pictures shows the independent miners or gougers cleaning up what the bigger companies left behind. It also shows abandoned mines, ghost towns, cave-ins, and other mining remainders. Of the thousands of mills, derricks, miner's shacks, and other structures, almost nothing remains. The huge tailing piles are being hauled off and mining areas bulldozed. Some communities such as St. Louis, Oklahoma are completely gone. Millions are being spent on a superfund cleanup that is the Fleecing of America big time. Take a tour now through the Picher district as it was in the 1960s when mining ended.
This view of the abandoned mining field shows a area looking north from Douthat toward the town of Picher, Oklahoma. This is once busy area shown under the "Douthat, Oklahoma" link on the start page. Mill foundations are visible at the center of the picture. The heavily polluted Tar Creek runs across the area.
Photo by John Schehrer. C. 1999
Last of it's kind. This was the old Robinson mill located northwest of Picher and in Cherokee County, Kansas. This picture was taken about 1965.
Those big mountains of tailings from the mills are nothing more than waste rock from which the lead and zinc has been separated. It is called gravel or chat and is used for road building and other uses. Sometimes the tailings had enough lead or zinc left in them to warrant running them through a tailings mill.