The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum conducted its raffle drawing for historic pieces of the Matchless Mine on Sunday, August 4.
As part of their fundraising efforts to support major restoration and preservation of the Matchless Mine Hoist House in 2020, the museum sold chances to win one of five pieces of the original Matchless headframe.
In 2017, the NMHFM conducted extensive restoration and preservation work on the Shaft #6 headframe, one of the few remaining structures at the historic Matchless Mine. The Matchless is best known for being one of the major wealth-builders of the Tabors. The headframe was in danger of falling down, but was restored with the help of the Community Investment Fund of the Freeport McMoRan Foundation and history-minded donors. Some of the timbers were too rotten to support the headframe and had to be replaced.
Former museum staff member Bill Nelson had the forethought to save one small section of a diagonal support from the headframe structure. Subsequently, this was sliced into 15 pieces which were engraved as historic collectables. The slicing and engraving were donated by locals Ron Bosanko and Peter Frykholm, who made the project possible by eliminating costs to the museum.
Mayor Greg Labbe was on hand to draw the winning tickets out of a fish bowl. As there was no requirement to be present to win, just a few people were on hand, hoping they were holding a winning ticket.
Since only 15 of these slices are in existence in the world, there is a possibility that historical collectors could eventually cause the value of these pieces to increase, according to a news release from the museum. But for local winners Carol Glenn, Lori Ten Eyck and Becky Edwards, it is likely that they will treasure these bits of history as a memento of the people and industry that created their home town.
Ten more slices of the historic Matchless headframe have been reserved by the NMHFM for a future fundraising effort. The details of the next chance to win one of these treasures are still in the planning stages. It may be another raffle, or they may appear in a silent auction, but the museum will let everyone know when plans are finalized.