Missouri Mines State Historic Site

Useful Information

Location: 4000 State Highway 32, Park Hills, MO 63601-0492.
(37.837804, -90.509215)
Open: APR to NOV Wed-Sun 9-17.
DEC to MAR Sat, Sun 9-17.
Closed 01-JAN, 02-JAN, 24-DEC, 25-DEC, 31-DEC, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, Presidents' Day.
Fee: Adults USD 4, Children (6-17) USD 3, Children (0-5) free.
Groups (+): Adults USD 3.50, Children (6-17) USD 2.50.
Classification: MineLead Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Address: Missouri Mines State Historic Site, 4000 State Highway 32, P.O. Box 492, Park Hills, MO 63601-0492, Tel: +1-573-431-6226.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1720 beginning of lead mining in the eastern Ozarks.
1864 St. Joseph Lead Co. purchases nearly 950 acres at Bonne Terre, Missouri.
1907 Federal Mill No. 3 built by the Federal Lead Company.
1923 St. Joseph Lead Co. purchases the Federal Mill No. 3 lead-concentrating complex.
1972 mill shut down.
1975 Federal mine-mill complex with adjoining lands donated to Missouri for use as a state park.
1976 Missouri Department of Natural Resources creates St. Joe State Park.
1980 mine-mill area designated a Missouri Mines State Historic Site.


The Old Lead Belt is a major part of the great Southeast Missouri lead district.


Missouri Mines State Historic Site is a State Park with a huge ensemble of mine buildings and an adjacent open cast mine. It is a museum of the local lead mining and preserves the historically significant structures and artifacts of the largest mine-mill complex in the Old Lead Belt. The complex is the Federal Mill No. 3 lead-concentrating complex. It was purchased by the St. Joseph Lead Co. in 1923 and operated until 1972. The company invented innovations in ore-smelting, underground engineering technology and the development and use of mechanical equipment. It also improved the mill and made it the largest lead mill in the world.

After the company closed the mill in 1972, they donated the mill complex and adjoining lands to Missouri for use as a state park. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources took possession in 1976 and named it St. Joe State Park. In 1980, it was designated a Missouri Mines State Historic Site.

The mill was responsible for the processing of the ore after it was delivered from the underground mine. There is a headframe from which the ore went to the primary crusher, mill, flotation plant, filter and dryer building. There was a powerhouse, machine shop, carpenter shop, sawmill and electrical shop. The former powerhouse is today a mining history and mineral museum. The first level contains underground mining equipment, like the St. Joe Shovel, a man-carrying speeder and locomotives which were dubbed "electric mule" because they replaced men and mules for moving cars of ore. The second level contains exhibitions on geology and lead ores, and a systematic mineral collection, with a section of fluorescent minerals.

The first European mineralogical expedition into the Mississippi Valley in early 18th century was lead by Pierre Charles LeSeur. But the lead ores were discovered by prospectors about two decades later. Lodes of galena which lay just below the earth's surface. During the centuries lead was mined in numerous mines all over the area. More than 1,600 km of mine tunnels, with at least 450 km of underground mine trains, numerous shafts and mills. This resulted in economic development, infrastructure and increase of population.