The world’s largest freshwater dive resort, Bonne Terre Mine, is being featured in Life After People: Depths of Destruction which will air on the History Channel tonight at 9 o’clock.
The abandoned Bonne Terre Mine was developed by Doug and Catherine Goergens owners of West End Diving in 1978. Doug and Catherine Goergens the owners and developers of West End Diving, Bonne Terre Mine and the Maya Palms Resort turned St. Joe Lead Company’s abandoned lead mine into the world’s largest fresh water diving resort. The resort’s operation includes not only Bonne Terre Mine, but also the historic 1909 depot, a diver’s lodge, dive shop, general store and several other buildings on the mine grounds.
West End Diving’s Bonne Terre Mine has been featured through the years by the likes of Jacques Cousteau, National Geographic Magazine, People Magazine, Discover Channel Good Morning America, and too many others to mention. Now Life After People: Depths of Destruction takes a look back into time to see the destruction that took place to create the world’s largest man made caverns.
Bonne Terre mine was once the world’s largest lead producing mine and now nature has begun to reclaim it. There are few places where you can see what life was like then and can examine how ‘mans majesty over nature has always been an illusion’ and what will it be like when man no longer exists. Bonne Terre Mine represents such a place.
Once the world’s largest lead mines, and now the world’s largest man made caverns, it is a time capsule into mining history. When the pumps were shut off, the 500 plus foot deep mine filled with natural pure spring water creating the world’s largest subterranean lake 150 feet below the surface of the earth more than 26 miles of navigable shore line. Now when you enter the mine you get an eerie feeling as the only noises you hear are the occasional tour guides relating the history of the mine and the sound of the air bubbles from the scuba divers exploring the depths of the mine underwater.
Thousands of divers and non divers tour the mine annually and journey through the mine’s labyrinth or rooms and pillars and its history both above and underwater. A virtual time capsule to all wishing to examine what life is like long after the miners are gone.
The History Channel will examine and focus on what life was like at Bonne Terre Mine then and now. Interviewees will include Mark Eberhart from the Colorado School of Mines and Doug and Catherine Goergens, owners and developers of the largest freshwater dive resort in the world, West End Diving’s Bonne Terre Mine ‘A Billion Gallon Lake Resort.’
The Goergens are owners of the oldest dive shop in St. Louis, which is celebrating 50 years of service to the diving industry this year. They have used West End Diving as a spring board. They not only developed, own and operate Bonne Terre Mine, but have also developed the 1909 Depot, also in Bonne Terre as a Bed & Breakfast Inn which is located within a historic train depot that is listed on the national register of historic places and the Maya Palms Resort in the last of the rustic Caribbean where divers dive on virgin pristine reefs. The Maya Palms Resort is located south of Cancun in Mahahual also known as Costa Maya, Mexico.