If you had to guess, where do you think the largest and deepest goldmine in the entire country is? California? Alaska, maybe? It's a little closer than you might think.

Believe it or not, that title goes to the state of South Dakota. The Homestake Mine, located in the town of Lead, South Dakota holds that distinction.

Lead is located in the western Black Hills, near the Wyoming border. It was discovered back in 1876 during the Black Hills Gold Rush. A year later, 3 mining entrepreneurs bought the mine for $70,000 and got right to work.

Between 1879 and 2000, over 370 miles of tunnels were dug and the mine went a whopping 8,000 feet deep, making it the deepest mine in not only the United States but the entire Western Hemisphere. Since opening the Homestake Mine has produced more than 1,101 metric tons (35.4 million troy ounces) of gold.

The company struck a rich ore of gold at first, but later on, dug deeper and deeper into the ground to get to the deposits of the precious metal. In the 1920s the mine went deeper than 2,000 feet. By the 1970s the mine shafts surpassed 8,000 feet, making it the deepest mine on this side of the planet.

The mine began seeing a decline in production in the 1990s. In 2002 they closed the Homestake Mine for good. But now, they have a new life as a scientific and research place of study.

The town of Lead, South Dakota is also on the National Register of Historic Places and well worth a visit. The mine is located near the town and also a few miles from Deadwood.

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