The Lead Subsidence

Last Updated by Brian Gevik on
Video: Historical Footprints, Inc., Lead
Images: City of Lead

Only a few years after the Homestake Gold mine began operations in 1876, the residents of Lead, South Dakota realized they had a problem with their town's location. By the mid-1890s, building foundations were shifting noticeably and even solidly-built brick structures were showing major cracks and other problems. 

Homes and most of Lead's business district had been built close to and even on top of the mine. Years of digging shafts and drifts directly beneath the town, coupled with inadequate attention to precautions like back-filling mined-out spaces, had put the town's very existence in jeopardy.

homestake gold mine below groundTimber supports in the Homestake gold mineImage Courtesy: City of Lead

The following video describes Lead's slow-moving subsidence disaster. The problem was becoming severe at a time when Homestake was struggling to stay in business.

The Lead Subsidence After years of undermining, portions of Lead, South Dakota, began to sink.

Learn more about subsidence.


Images of the Past Lead's Open Cut The original site of the old Homestake Gold Mine is a Lead, South Dakota landmark.


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