Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Reality I: Sanitation in the Mining Camps.

Nearly every day I drive by the site of the previous "townsite" of Tungsten, near the base of what is now Barker Dam, east of Nederland.

In the boomtimes of the early 20th century, when the mineral tungsten was discovered to have significant applications in the hardening of steel for machine tools and weaponry, this site was reported in some sources to have a population of 3,000 people. Eventually I'll track down a link to this, but for now I'll just report it.

3,000 men, sleeping in beds rented in eight-hour shifts.

The stories of the crowded conditions are a bit legendary in these parts. The Presbyterian Church in Nederland was built and paid for during these times, by the pastor renting out the floors and pews for miners to sleep on.

Well, with the work I've been doing for the last few years, I've been sensitized to a vital municipal public health function: the treatment of human waste.

I keep wondering, how was this managed in the mining camps and towns in 1910?

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