Science: Black Mountain Tunnel

William Schmidt has cooked 25,000 meals for himself on the same wood stove. Typical repast: "fish chowder" (boiled onions, rice, a can of sardines). William Schmidt, 68, is knotty with muscle and so bent from years and decades of working in a tunnel that he can hardly straighten up. But last week mining men were saying that he had accomplished the greatest one-man mining achievement in the history of engineering.

In 1906 William Schmidt staked 24 gold, silver and copper claims in a remote part of California's Black Mountain. The ore veins looked rich, but miles of costly road would have been...

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