Roy Newman was blinded and nearly killed when a stick of dynamite misfired in this mine in 1929. But the determined miner recovered and returned to work his mine alone – for another 45 years!
The belief that rich lead, zinc, and sliver ores lay deep in the mountain kept Roy working; he did encounter low-grade veins of oar. He drove 1,600 feet using only hand-held drills, a four-pound hammer, explosives, and his ingenuity.
Though blind, Roy could faintly detect light in the corner of one eye and he used this ability to keep the mine workings straight. Roy would set a carbide lamp in the middle of the track, several hundred feet from the mine’s working face. Then he would stand a pick, with its handle up, in the track a few feet from the face. Standing between the pick and the face, Roy moved his head back and forth until the pick block the light. Repeating this process, he was able to continually center and straighten the workings.
Roy lived alone in a cabin near the mine through the pleasant summers and long, harsh winters. With the help of friends and family, who kept him supplied with food and other basic needs, he maintained his optimism and persevered. “I like the challenge that Mother Nature presents the miner who searches for her secrets,” he said.