Missouri Digital Heritage :: Collections :: Tri-State Mining Maps

Missouri Southern State University
Tri-State Mining Maps

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Kansas Missouri Oklahoma Mining Field Map
Kansas Missouri Oklahoma Mining Field Map


Mining began in the Tri-State area in 1848 when lead ore was discovered near Joplin, Missouri. Further exploration was prompted in the 1870’s when smelting plants were built in Kansas, increasing production of both lead and zinc. Deposits were also discovered in Oklahoma not long after. The Tri-State Zinc Lead District was established in 1917.

Lead and zinc mining lasted in the region for over 100 years, from 1850 until 1958, when the reduction in prices for lead and zinc led to the decline and the eventual end of mining in the area. Missouri Southern State University acquired the Tri-State Mining Map Collection in 1979 from the Federal Bureau of Mines. The collection has been made widely available to the community including property owners, researchers, environmental agencies and groups, real estate developers, and engineers.

The Collection

The Tri-State Mining Map Collection at Missouri Southern State University consists of more than 5,000 maps that document lead and zinc mining in Southwest Missouri, Southeast Kansas, and Northeast Oklahoma. The collection has important historical, environmental, and economic information for the region. Covering the time period from the 1860s through the 1960s, the maps provide detailed locations of mine shafts and drilling activities in the area. Maps are divided by section number, state and mine names.

How to Use This Collection

This collection is searchable by a variety of fields.

  • The Identifier.Local field is the equivalent of a call number and allows staff at the Spiva Library to assist researchers in locating the physical map
  • The Township, Range and Section fields each provide the abbreviations and numbers used to identify the geographic area.
  • The Title field primarily contains company and mine names, although it occasionally has more descriptive content.
  • The Title.Alternative field is not available for all maps. When available, it provides additional information on company names, locations, surveys, or districts.
  • The Summary field indicates the type of information on the map, such as drill hole or shaft location, lot number, or location of workings.
  • The Legal Description field has the plat locations designated in section-township-range format.
  • The Date.Search field allows for the maps to be searched by month, day, and year when that information is available.
  • The Subject.LCSH field has information on the types of mining
  • The Subject.Local field contains information on mining districts, sub-districts and leases.
  • The Coverage field provides the state and county names that are represented on a map. Entries in this field look like "Kansas -- Cherokee County".
  • The County field represents the counties and states covered according to Library of Congress guidelines. Entries in this field look like "Jasper County (Mo.)".

Rights and Reproductions

For information on rights and reproductions from this collection, please contact the archivist, Charles E. Nodler, at Missouri Southern State University's Spiva Library Archives Department by phone at 417-625-9552 or email to nodler-c@mssu.edu.

Additional Resources

For the general audience, the GeoCommunicator Site Mapper, available from the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, will help to place the maps in geographic context.

For additional information on mining in southwest Missouri, please see:

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