About Us

ABOUT BONNE TERRE MINE

This unique adventure, can be your "Dive to the Center of the Earth". Bonne Terre Mine, a national historic site, is the world's largest fresh water dive resort. Water conditions remain constant with over 100 foot visibility, Sights include: mammoth architecture, guaranteed year round diving conditions. Cal falls, oar carts, scaffolding, grating, staircases, pillars, slurry pipes, the famed elevator shaft, and much more. Bonne Terre Mine is without a doubt one of the most unusual, beautiful, and relaxing full service dive resorts anywhere. Your accommodations located In the rolling foot hills of the Ozark mountains are elegant at the nearby 1909 Depot, or if you prefer a more casual atmosphere, the Divers Lodge, located at the Mine.

DEPART: Every Weekend Year-Round!
The Billion Gallon Lake is illuminated with over 500,000 watts of lighting, a total of twenty-four dive trails have been laid out in the lake, taking the diver through mammoth archways, past beautiful calcium falls, around gargantuan pillars and to the many abandoned mining artifacts. Depths of the dive tours average between 40 to 60 feet. Divers are toured through the mine in groups of ten by two specially trained dive guides. Super 80 cubic ft. aluminum tanks are provided for each diver. Dive lights are not permitted in the lake, because they detract from the natural beauty of the illuminated surroundings. Power inflator are required on all BC's. Our Billion Gallon Lake is 58°F and not affected by outside temperatures, there are no thermo clines. Air temperature is 62°F year round. Lighting on the rock formations is spectacular. One can descend to 80 feet and look up to see divers silhouetted against a rainbow. Man carved pillars grace the entire Billion Gallon Lake. The 200 foot solid-rock pillar rising from depths and mining artifacts on the walls and floor make for spectacular underwater photography.

HISTORIC PHOTOS OF THE MINE

The following photos were taken in 1917 depicts underground operations at Chute No. 1139 near the original Pen Diggings shaft at Bonne Terre. At the top of the photo, an ore car would dump ore into the chute which carried it to a storage bin and from there it would be loaded into cars as shown at the bottom of the photo. Compressed air locomotives were in use then as is shown. The above operation was abandoned about 1925. The above photo which was taken by Grant Thompson of Bonne Terre was contributed to our site by Patricia (Rickmar) Young in memory of her father, the late John W. Rickmar. There is also a photo of a mining mule. Her name was Tobacco Jennie. It was told that she chewed tobacco and was taught to do so by the late Mine Captain "Cap" Campbell. She supposedly insisted on a chew each shift, otherwise she displayed little interest in working.
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