When I found out the Silver Spade was the sister shovel to the GEM of Egypt, I had to see it. This was made more important by the news that the Silver Spade had been idled, and had broken down as they were moving her out of the pit. The chances of her working again when they started moving her out of the pit were slim, but with her breaking down halfway out. She was pretty much headed for the scrap pile. Luckly there is hope.
A group called the Harrison Coal & Reclamation Historical Park is trying to save her. I ask anyone who has a love for big machinary, history, or just cool oddities to help out. This group is desprate. The GEM of Egypt is gone, along with The Mountaineer & the Big Muskie. This is something I feel very strongly about and ask all of my visitors to stop and take a moment to consider what losing one of the last (if not the last) large shovel in the US will mean. Once she is gone, she's gone. Please help this group save her.
Another reason this shovel means so much to me is that when the GEM of Egypt was scraped, a lot of her useable parts went into keeping the Silver Spade running. For me this is a link to the GEM.
The Silver Spade can be seen from 519 just west of New Athens before you get to 22. I drove down towards the pit but decided to turn around at the gate because the road got very bad very quickly and the site is private property and I didn't want to risk getting arrested.
Below are shots seen from the 519. This road is very curvy and there is no real place to walk. I would highly advise people to be very very very careful if you go out driving looking for the Silver Spade.
On the left is half a hill that was taken out to get the Silver Spade into the pit (I assume), on the right is what I assume is the other half of the hill. This is also the location of the gates I mentioned above.
Click here for a link to the whole gallery.
UPDATE: (3/26/2007) Per Harrison Coal & Reclamation Historical Park, they failed to raise the required amounts to save the Silver Spade. As of the Fed 9, 2007, explosives were used to lower the boom. By March, 1st, 2007, much of the machine was gone.
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