From 1902 to 1908, the Ferris-Haggarty Tramway was the longest aerial ore tram in the world. This photo shows a bucket like those that once carried copper ore, 16 miles in four hours. A reconstructed section of the tramway is on display at a museum in Encampment. (Andrew Graham/WyoFile)

From 1902 to 1908, the Ferris-Haggarty Tramway was the longest aerial ore tram in the world, carrying copper ore 16 miles from the Sierra Madre mountains outside Encampment down to a smelter in Riverside.

The tram carried a thousand tons of ore a day in 840 buckets, each capable of carrying 700 pounds of copper, according to the Grand Encampment Museum in Encampment. The tram was powered by water, piped four miles from a reservoir on the South Fork of the Encampment River, and gravity, a placard on the museum grounds reads.

The Ferris-Haggarty mine closed in 1908. Today, a few towers hold up a small section of tram for visitors at the museum, but at its peak there were 375 towers built in a line from the mountains to the smelter. Miners would ride in the buckets too, to travel up and down the line. The tram moved at four miles an hour, according to the museum, and it took a bucket four hours to complete the journey.

Starting May 26, the Grand Encampment Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Sundays it is open from noon to 4 p.m. The Museum closes in early October.

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Andrew Graham

Andrew Graham is reporting for WyoFile from Laramie. He covers state government, energy and the economy. Reach him at 443-848-8756 or at andrew@wyofile.com, follow him @AndrewGraham88

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