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Homestake and Lead history

From 1876 to 2001, Homestake Gold Mine mined more than 40 million ounces of gold, making it the deepest and most productive gold mine in the Western Hemisphere before closing in 2002.

Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center

Your first stop in Lead, South Dakota!
People gathered by a mine site

The People

Learn how the Black Hills hold significance to those who have visited and called it home. The Hills hold great importance to numerous tribes, including the Oceti Sakowin, serving as a sacred space and a place of origin. After gold was discovered, miners and others flocked to the Hills from all over the world—especially as Homestake expanded. These individuals shaped the community of Lead for generations.

Ray Davis experiment

A Physics Landmark

Dr. Raymond Davis Jr. was one of the first scientists to understand the value of conducting research deep underground. His pioneering solar neutrino experiment influenced future neutrino and astrophysics research and set the stage for a deep underground laboratory in Lead, South Dakota. Explore the experiment that earned Dr. Davis a share of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics, while learning more about the world-leading research taking place among the drifts of the Sanford Underground Research Facility.

Miner with hammer

Geology and Mining

Discover the geology of the Black Hills, an island in the plains with unique mineral resources. The discovery in 1876 of an incredibly rich vein of gold ore led to the establishment of the Homestake Gold Mine, which became the largest and deepest gold mine in North America during 126 years in operation.

Plan your visit

Hours, admission, tour info and directions

About the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center

Free admission | Family friendly | Trolley tours seasonally | Bus groups welcome | Museum store | Meeting and event space