Holden Village Staff Experience August, 2003

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The View from the Mine

From 1937 until 1957, Holden was a copper mining village, with a population of about 600.  The mine closed in 1957, for economic reasons, and the property was put up for sale for $100,000.  No buyers were found; but the Lutherans were interested, though some felt that the location was too remote for a church camp or retreat center.  However, in 1960 the property was given to the Lutheran Bible Institute in Seattle, and after various reorganizations and mergers of the Lutheran Church, it passed to the ownership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which owns it today.
Yes, people from the Missouri Synod can come too.  So can other Christians.  And non-Christians.  And agnostics.  And athiests.  I didn't note anything that would have excluded anyone.
People interested in more information about the mine can click here.

You just can't get away from these amazing views.  We have climbed to "the third level" and are not far from the actual mine entrance (nobody can go in there, though).  Follow the valley straight back, and you'll come to Hart Lake.  Take the first right between the two mountains on your right (and climb a lot) and you'll get to Holden Lake.
In the lower right of the picture are the maintenance buildings and the vehicles.  Like many places, what makes the village run is a bunch of not so lovely things, like compost bins, and storage for landfill, and all the vehicles.  So they're stored away from where all the folks live.

Now turn to your right and look the other way, and this is what you see - the tailings from the mining days.  These piles are so big they look like mountains, and it would be prohibitively expensive to move them.  They belong to the Forest Service now, and Holden Village cooperates with them to manage the environmental impact of all this waste.


From way up here, the village looks pretty small, but there it is. 

     Below, you're looking at a frisbie golf course,
     built on the top of the tailings one level down. 


The Portal Museum
(For those of you who don't know it, Karl Breice was the curator here when he was a 20-something.  It was a little while ago, but I assure you, the mine had already closed...)


The inside of the museum.  They've got pictures and all kinds of stuff from when the mine was open.  Including a skirt from one of the cheerleaders for the baseball team!  And report cards for one of the kids in the school.  And pictures of Holden Village from the time it started as a retreat center.  And the original letters that passed back and forth, when the Lutherans were trying to make up their minds about whether they wanted the property. 
They don't do anything quickly, those Lutherans...


                                             Do not drink the cyanide-laced water!!!


   1   Bell          Stop if in motion
   1     "            Hoist muck only
   2   Bells        Lower muck only
 3-1    "            Hoist men slowly
 3-2    "            Lower men slowly
 2-1-2 "            Lower cage
  I wondered if they ever wanted to hoist or lower anything or anyone quickly.
  Check out the typewriter!