Three Kids Mine site along Trail

Jan.29th, 2009   Three Kids Mine is part of Southern Nevada’s mining history. It is locate near Lake Las Vegas at trail mile marker 9.0 to 10.5.  There are several deep open pit mines where manganese ore was mined then processed in a mill on site. Mining was activity from around 1917 until the plant was closed in 1961. The site has sat idle for 48 years. It was used in two movies over the years and has been an eyesore for most of the 48-yrs.  Plans are now afoot to clean up the area and turn it into a master planned development of some 1250+ acres.  The development is currently known as “Lakemoor Canyons”.  The project is in the planning, review, approval stage and will require many permits. The actual clean up of the site is about 12 months out if all goes well.

Three kids mine unger/RJ photo

Three kids Mine Unger/RJ photo


The following is an except out of the Review Journal dated May 12, 2005. The article is written by A.D. Hopkins and talks about the Merle Frehner family history….
During World War I the Three Kids Mine, the remains of which are visible southeast of Sunrise Mountain, was producing manganese ore. Harry (Frehner) hauled the ore to the Las Vegas rail yards behind a 10-horse team pulling three heavy-duty freight wagons and a feed cart, hooked one behind the other. “When reaching the east end of Fremont Street, Harry drove straight up the center to the depot, then south to an unloading platform. Crowds of people would line the sidewalks to watch the long outfit go up the street.”  This would have been between 1914 and 1918.


Three Kids mine site today RJ Photo 11-08-09

The following notes and statements come from an article printed in the “MINING CONGRESS JOURNAL dated October 1944….”The three Kids Mine near Las Vegas, owned by the Manganese Ore Company, wholly-owned subsidiary of The M.A. Hanna Company, has proved to be the largest open pit deposit of good grade manganese ore available in America, Vice President M.C. Lake of the ore company said in a recent statement.”

The millling plant next to the mine was owned and operated by the Defense Plant Corporation and as of this writing had produced several thousand tons of high grade manganese nodules. The plant had not yet reached full production according to the article.

Other items of interest from the article are: 1.) Part of the process involved leaching a processing pulp …”in a series of seven thickeners, the first two of which are acid-proof construction and 250 feet in diameter, thus making them the largest acid-proof thickeners ever constructed.” 2.)The “manganese sulphate salt which is roasted in a rotary kiln 360-ft. long and 11ft 3 inches in diameter, to yield a calcine of Manganese oxide and sulpher dioxide gas.”
The article from the Mining Congress Journal also had multiple photos of operations at the mine….Steam shovel loading dump trucks;beginning of the open pit mine operation; Drilling being done by churn drills and rock drills; mining pit with stock piles of ore and mill.

Do you know the names of the two Hollywood Movie productions that took place at Three Kids Mine????

The first one I’m still researching. It was filmed after 1961 and involved the blowing up of the mill/plant during filming. I’m told it was in the early 1970’s? Does anyone know…please help me out.

The second film/movie was released February 5, 1987. It was shot entirely on location in southern Nevada. A major battle scene and shoot out occured at the Three Kids Mine site. The name of the movie is “CHERRY 2000” – a 1987 science fiction cult film starring Melanie Griffith and David Andrews. My personal review of movie would make it a “B” movie, acting was not so hot, plot was ?; but the scenery of Southern Nevada was great. The Three Kids Mine shots show some of the remaining structures from the mining days. The big 250-ft concrete thickeners look like alien structures in the film. The movie pops up every now and again on HBO, don’t waste your money renting a DVD.


Cherry 2000 Movie Poster 1987

Cherry 2000 Movie Poster 1987

The River Mountains Loop Trail:

The trail will front the Three Kids Mine site along the south side of Lake Mead Parkway from the tunnel underpass east to the commercial buildings. At this location the trail will cross to the north side via a tunnel and then follow the BMI waterline right-of-way east for about one mile. The trail will pass under Lake Mead Parkway at the far eastern edge of the Lake moor Canyons development.  This trail alignment is currently under design. We expect completion by end of 2009 2010.





Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrEmail this to someone


  1. says

    Hey rmltman,

    Enjoyed your post about the Three Kids Mine. I don’t know about the first movie, but it helps explain why some of the foundations are broken up and scattered all over. Since I’m familiar with the history of the mine and mill, I thought I would add a few bits.

    The site had three periods of activity – each related to periods of war or international tension: WWI, WWII, and the Korean/Cold War years. The first began in late 1917 and ended by early 1919. The name Three Kids was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the three older men who staked the claim. One of the men, named Jefferson, was the only inhabitant of what would later become Henderson. There was no mill at this time, but the initial ore body was rich enough to be used in steel foundries without further processing. The ore was soft and was dug out of a hillside with picks and axes. After the long haul to the rail depot in Las Vegas, the manganese ore was shipped to foundries in Pennsylvania where it was used in the production of ferromanganese steel for machines of war.

    Most of the rich ore was depleted in this first period. To produce manganese of sufficient grade for steel making would require a mill, and a mill would require water and power. In 1942 a pipeline from Lake Mead to the emerging BMI complex in Henderson was constructed – the BMI pipeline. By tapping off that line, water became available for a mill at Three Kids. This mill operated during the latter part of WWII, for only 11 months, actually, and they never really got the kinks worked out of their process. There was even a townsite built for the workers where present day Lake Las Vegas Parkway exists. Some of the “demountable” homes that had been set up there later were moved to downtown Henderson and Boulder City, where some still exist.

    The third period, 1956-61, was when the site really boomed. It employed upwards of 550 people and could turn out 1600 tons per day of manganese nodules. It also used a whopping 2.5 million gallons per day of water. In the late fifties, the plant was the largest domestic supplier of manganese in the country, producing over one third of the strategic supply. By 1961 only poor grade ore was remaining, US policies were shifting, and the site was closed.

    As rmltman mentioned, the site is slated for remediation and redevelopment. The site is currently posted against trespassing and patrolled. There are dangerous cliffs and hazardous residues resulting from the mill processes – so, for the time being it is best to not venture into the site. When the reclamation work is completed, I understand that Lakemoor plans to develop an historical display to help preserve the rich history of the site.


    • Grace says

      Hello Matt,

      I am a graduate student in UNLV. I am actually studying the contamination of the soil around the Three Kids Mine. You seem to know a lot details about the Three Kids Mine. Just like rmltman mentioned, do you know where the water line stub off the BMI is located?
      When I went the field sampling, I saw two pipelines coming from inside of the mine site under Lake Mead Drive. I was wondering if the surface runoff will carry out the contaminants from the mine to the other side of the road through the pipeline during the rain events.. I tried to find data on water pipeline and I found this blog. If you know, would you please let me know?
      Thanks =]

  2. says

    Matt….Thanks for adding to the history of the Three Kids Mine. What is the source of your information? I would like to do some more reading and research. Apparently your company is working on environmental issues related to the site. Do you know where the water line stub off the BMI is located? We would hate to hit it while building this next segment (#14).
    Thanks for sharing…..:)

  3. says

    Hi – very good site you have made. I enjoyed reading this posting. I did want to publish a remark to tell you that the design of this site is very aesthetically sweet. I used to be a graphic designer, now I am a copy editor for a marketing firm. I have always enjoyed playing with computers and am trying to learn code in my free time (which there is never enough of lol).