Grand Encampment Mining District

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Rudefeha Mine, Battle, Wyoming, 1902, photo by J. E. Stimson.

As a part of promotional material used to sell stock, a series of photographs of the Rudefeha Mine and the Encampment Smelter were taken by Cheyenne photographer J. E. Stimson. For information as to J. E. Stimson see Cheyenne. The Rudefeha Mine, 14 miles from Encampment, was established by J. M. Rusmsey, Robert Deal, George Ferris and Ed Haggarty and named after the investors. The deposit was discovered by Ed Haggarty (1866-1944), an English-born sheep herder.


Rudefeha Mine, Battle, Wyoming. Engraving of pencil sketch by Merritt D. Houghton, 1903.

Following the discovery of the claim, the investors brought in one of Colorado's foremost mining engineers, William Weston, to examine the claim. Weston was a consulting mining engineer to David H. Moffat and the mining and exploring engineer for Moffat's Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railway Company. By the time of Weston's visit, the initial facilities consisting of a log stable, eating house, and bunk house had been constructed. By the winter of 1889, 250 tons of ore had been shipped to Rawlins by wagon over a snow road using nine teams of four hourses each, "nine fours." With the completion of the tramway to Encampment, 350 tons of ore could be shipped in a single twenty-four hour period. The tramway was the world's second longest aerial tramway, photos of tramway in Encampment on a preceding page. The tramway utilized 270 towers with the highest span above ground at 900 feet. The tramway utilized three transfer stations in which the ore was transferred from one section of the tramway to the next. This was done by dumping the ore into a bin from which the ore would then be transferred to the next section. In crossing the divide, the tramway at one point was 10,690 feet above sea level. The longest span between towers was 2,270 feet across Cow Creek Can. Prior to the construction of the tramway, ore was taken from the mine to the smelter by wagon. The wagon road was some 26 miles long while the tramway, being direct, was only 17 miles long. Before completion of the tramway, it cost the mine operators $14.00 a ton to transport the ore. By 1904 with completion of the tramway, the cost was only 17 cents a ton.


Original Rudefeha Mine, Battle, Wyoming, 1898. drawing by Arthur Lakes, courtesy of Beth Simmons.

by 1904, the mine was electrically illuminated. The site, being isolated, had its own hospital, a boarding house, workshops for timbering and blacksmithing.


Original boarding house for Rudefeha Mine.

the log boarding house was later replaced with a two-story boarding house. The Dillon Doublejack reported in December 1902:

The Rudefeha mine and bunk house is completed, and is pronounced to be one of the most convenient structures of th kind in these mountains. It is 19x100 feet and two stories high. Here 100 men can eat and 80 sleep with comfort. It has a cozy reception room in front, and next behind it is the dining room and then the kitchen, which is said to be the best appointed culinary "shop" in a mining camp in Wyoming.

In the mine, trams were moved by a pneumatic locomotive powered by a 500 psi three-stage air compressor. Coal for the electic generating plant was brought in by wagon from a coal mine about three miles away. Coal required for the smelter was then sent by the aerial tramway to Encampment.

The Ferris-Haggerty Company sold the mine to the Penn-Wyoming Copper Co. about 1902.


Rudefeha Cable and transfer house

Note, the aerial tramway comes in at a higher level to the rear of the cable house. A second tramway emerges toward the viewer at a lower level. This permits the ore to be transferred from one section of the tramway to the next. The transfer operation was fully automatic.


Rudefeha Mine, Battle, Wyoming, prior to 1908

Battle was named as a result of a battle fought between 500 Sioux, Arapaho and Cheyenne and 23 Rocky Mountain Fur Company trappers. During the period from 1900 to about 1908, promotion of new mines and stock speculation was rampant. Other companies prospecting the area included the Haggerty-Jordan Copper Mining Co. of which Ed Haggerty was vice-president. It had an interest in the Nellie B. Victor, Granite and Fair View Mines. Others companies included the Hercules Mining Co., the Northwestern Copper Mining Co., the Verde Copper Mining & Milling Co., Wyona Iron & Copper Co., Beulah Copper Co., Blanche Copper Mining Co., Carbon County Gold Mining & Milling Co., El Rey Gold & Copper Co., Kearns Consolidated Copper Co., and others noted below.


Mine near Encampment, undated

Penn-Wyoming also bought the Rambler. By 1907, the company had acquired as subsidiaries the Encampment Tramway Co., the Encampment Pipe Line Ditch Co., the Encampment Water Works Co., the Encampment Land & Town Lot Co., the Saratoga & Encampment Railroad Co., the Carbondale Coal Co., the Emerson Electric Light Co., and the North American Mercantile Co.


Encampment Pipeline.

The pipeline to Encampment, as was the tramway, was regarded as a wonder of the age. The pipeline, made of wood, took water from the south fork of the Grand Encampment River four miles to the smelter at Encampment. There, the water drove 5 turbine wheels, 2 connected to the shafting and drive for the concentrating machinery, the other three providing electric power.


Ruins of dam for electric generating plant for Penn-Wyoming Company, 1920's.


Battle, 1904

Battle was a company owned town. Thus, the Penn-Wyoming Co., forbade saloons or bars. Such facilities were available in the next town, Dillon, about a mile away.

Next page, Dillon, Rudefeha Mine continued, Rambler, Lost Cabin Mine.