Miles before you reach this retired giant — you can see Big Brutus on the horizon south of West Mineral, Kansas. Standing beside it makes one aware of how fragile he or she is.
The Big Picture.
Bucyrus Erie model 1850B second largest electric shovel in the world 16 stories tall (160 feet) weight 11 million pounds boom 150 feet long dipper capacity 90 cu. yds. (by heaping, 150 tons — enough to fill three railroad cars.) maximum speed .22 MPH cost $6.5 million (in 1962) There is more to Big Brutus than cold steel and long shadows falling across the Mined Land Wildlife Area. Big Brutus is not just a symbol of the past, but an eternal tribute to the mining heritage of Southeast Kansas and to miners all across this nation who toiled to support their families.
On July 13, 1985, Big Brutus was dedicated as “a Museum and Memorial Dedicated to the Rich Coal Mining History in Southeast Kansas.”
In September 1987 The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) designated Big Brutus a Regional Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, the 10th since 1971 to be so designated.
The Center also houses comfort facilities, including hot showers to meet the needs of visitors and campers alike. Along with primitive camping and space for self-contained RV’s, there are ten water/electrical hook-ups and a dump station. Picnic tables dot the grounds and a shelter is there for gatherings of all kinds.
There are exhibits, ever changing displays and photographs in both the Visitors Center and Big Brutus to enhance the colorful history and heritage of this region and this bucket wielding machine and don’t miss a self-guided tour.
There have been weddings at Big Brutus as well as receptions, private parties, group tours, school field trips, picnics and family reunions.
Opportunities for wildlife activities like photography abound in this scenic gateway to Branson in the Northwest Ozarks. Excellent fishing for bass and other game fish in the well-stocked strip pits. And don’t forget hunting for quail, turkey, small game and deer. The Mined Land Wildlife Areas (15,000 acres) offer grasslands, woodlots and waterways that will stir the senses and bring a tingling rush with each splash of water or flurry and flutter in the shadows and nodding grasses.
Big Brutus is a museum open year round. Hours vary with the season. Call (620)827-6177 for more information.
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