The Town That Jack Built
Picher, Oklahoma in the 1920s
It was the Queen City of the lead and zinc mining district. Picher was called "The Town That Jack Built" because zinc ore, which was known as jack was the main mineral which was responsible for the mining boom town. Here is a view of the mines and the miner's shacks just west of the Big Chief mine in northern Picher near the Kansas state line.
Zinc ore, also known as "Jack" was the big money maker in the Tri-state district. When mining started in the southwest Missouri part of the field, jack was thrown away as worthless but later when it's true value was known a mining bonanza erupted and thousands of people came to the area to make their fortune. This piece of ore is mostly flint rock with the tiny reddish crystals of jack attached to the surface. Zinc ore is also known as sphalerite and chemically as zinc sulfide.
Lead ore, known as galena, was the other product of the tri-state mines. It is known chemically as lead sulphide.
Photo courtesy of Grant J. Gibson.