Sunrise Mine tour hosts 300 visitors

SUNRISE – The town of Sunrise, known as a ghost town to most people in southeastern Wyoming was flooded last week with a flurry of activity.

On June 24, Sunrise had archaeologists George and Geri Zeimens working at the world heritage dig site where over 12,000 Covis man artifacts have been unearthed, a talk and tour given by Sunrise owner John Voight.

“The Sunrise Tour was hosted to Benefit Sunrise Historic and Prehistoric Society,” Geri Zeimans said. “It was a huge success and what a beautiful day it was. There were approximately 300 persons attending the event.  A wonderful lunch was provided by Miners and Stockman’s .”

 

Lunch was provided in the YMCA prior to the tour which came at a price of $15 for lunch, was not included in admission to the tour. On Saturday evening Miners and Stockman’s provided a Mine Tour special of prime rib dinner available in addition to their regular menu.

 

“John Voight opened the tour, entertaining and educating the crowd about the history, past, present and future of Sunrise,” Zeimens said. “Archeologist and  principal Investigator, George Zeimens advised the crowd of all the exciting Prehistoric and Historic  things happening at Sunrise including the discovery of artifacts from an early man date of 14,000 years old.

 

“The town and industrial tour was led by John Voight and past residents of Sunrise, Kathy Troupe and Ray Mansoldo.  A new building was opened this year. It was the boiler room that heated the YMCA, administration building and some industrial buildings. The YMC had several new displays which included a surveying instrument that did a lot of surveying at Sunrise.”

 

The Sunrise web site can be visted by going to  www.shapps.org and Facebook at sunrisehistoricandprehistoricpreservationsociety.com for more information. SHAPPS is participating in Wyoming Gives on July 12.  For every dollar you give Wyoming Gives for Sunrise Historic and Prehistoric Preservation Society sponsors donate a dollar.  This is only July 12th for 24 hours.  

“Please help us support our organizational mission/vision  "To Preserve, Protect,  Study and Share the History and Prehistory of Sunrise Wyoming and its surrounding areas,” Zeimens said.

 

For more information contact Geri Zeimens  at [email protected] or call 307 575 0333.

 

“I think it’s so amazing that John would be willing to preserve history on a place he wouldn’t have to, but he’s choosing to do that and keeping the integrity,” Jeremy Haroldson, District 4 Representative said. “This is a diamond in the rough that needs to definitely be grabbed and polished. I am a high functioner and I would be overwhelmed by what John has taken on. I think there is so much potential. I think we have a place that people would drive from many states to come see.”

The Sunrise YMCA, originally built in 1917 by John D. Rockefeller Jr. is undergoing some renovations that will help to restore and repurpose the old building as a museum for the thousands of artifacts that have been discovered in a four-year archaeological excavation at the now defunct Sunrise iron mine.

 

Voight came with a very special vision came to the rescue. Now, some people will rescue dogs, others horses, andeven people. The town, north of the metropolis of Hartville which has 62 people living in it. That is 61 people more than the town of Sunrise.

 

There have been renovations here and there as Voight took on the project not knowing exactly what to do with it. He did know that he just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It was almost as if the echoes of the past were calling his name and crying not to be forgotten.

 

The land began to yield up its treasures in the form of thousands of Clovis artifacts. Today, it is not a ghost town, although it is said to be inhabited by one ghost.

The long-forgotten town is beginning to be recognized as a major community of current vision, ancient history and dedicated research.

The entire town was purchased and is currently owned by Voight.

“So, it all began by the fact that I knew the prior owner,” Voight said. “It was in the 1990s and I was working a historic property downtown Cheyenne. I had several buildings down there and having good luck working some old projects, and I loved it because it gave me the chance to work old buildings, update them a little bit and get them productive again.”

It was there that Voight who was born in Wheatland and raised on a ranch in Chugwater, met the man who inherited not only some old buildings in Cheyenne, but also the entire town of Sunrise from his father.

“Having grown up in this area, 60 miles south of here, not knowing about Sunrise; that intrigued me,” he said. “So, I came up and visited the place in the late 1990s for the first time in my life. It still amazes me to this day why we never talked about Sunrise. In fact, I can never remember it coming up in history class or social studies class. And here was this very large consequential mine; one of the largest iron mines west of the Mississippi, so close by and we didn’t know about it.”

At one point, Voight evaluated his age and began to wonder if perhaps his vision would outlive him. There was only so much one man could do with limited funding. Especially in the restoration of an entire town.