“A towering giant of machinery”
Big Brutus put the oooohs and aaahs in the backyard of the Heartlands!!! Miles before you reach this retired giant — you can see it on the horizon south of West Mineral, Kansas. Standing beside it makes one aware of how fragile he or she is. 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. It is 160 feet (49 m) high and weighs 11 million pounds (4,989,516 kg). The bucket holds 90 cubic yards (69 m3) or 150 tons (136 metric tonnes). Maximum speed is 0.22 MPH (6 metres per minute). It cost $6.5 million in 1962 when it was shipped in 150 railroad cars to be assembled in Kansas. It only was used until 1974 when it no longer became economical to mine coal at the site. At that time it was considered too big to move and so was left in place. Big Brutus, while not the largest electric shovel ever built, is the largest electric shovel still in existence. The Captain, at 28 million pounds, was the largest shovel and one of the two largest land-based mobile machines ever built. It was scrapped in 1992.
Big Brutus itself is an awesome site to see, worth the stop. $8 to get in (per adult) seemed a little pricey and there really isn't much history about mining in the museum. Still definitely worth the trip! Cool photo ops!
Awesome piece of history! Saying it is massive is an understatement.once you see it you will understand. Staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. My wife and daughters of 6 & 8 even enjoyed our visit. Call ahead and check hours they change with the season.
If you're a Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel fan, this is for you! I've read that book to my son many times and this trip made it come to life. Take your time to climb inside and look around. Big Brutus is an awesome site to see and worth your time. Walk the self-guided tour read the plaques at each numbered stop. It's a little difficult to see coming in from the east, but it's a welcome surprise when you finally get there.
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