Enter through the old mule entrance, suit up, and dive into water that is so clear, divers feel like they’re flying. The Bonne Terre Mine in Bonne Terre, Missouri was abandoned over 50 years ago. The pumps were turned off, and spring water filled the mine after filtering through limestone, preserving ore carts, pickaxes, shovels and more.
An underground dock in the mine is the launching point for dive groups. From the dock’s edge, the bottom of the mine is visible, 135 feet beneath the surface of clear, calm water.
Divers traverse the mineshafts; gliding around benches, lockers, an elevator shaft and the stairs mine workers walked down every morning. The decent into the mines took an hour, and the machine to clock in to work was at the bottom of the stairs. There are tools still stuck in the walls of the mine and silver dynamite packaging floats to the top of tunnels.
Bonne Terre mine was a lead mine. The town, Bonne Terre, was settled by the French after the lead deposits were discovered. The lead deposits were so large that at one time, the Southwest Missouri Lead District produced 70% of the United State’s lead.
You can explore the mine even if you aren’t a diver with walking and boat tours. Or simply look up pictures and videos divers have taken of the mine’s depths. You will be awed.