The official re-opening and dedication of the Greathouse Visitor Center at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve is on Saturday, May 12 at 11 a.m. East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors, elected officials, and descendants of coal and sand mining families will be at the celebration.
“After five years, I am very pleased that we are finally able to reopen this unique visitor center,” said East Bay Regional Park District Director Ted Radke.
From noon to 4:30 p.m., there will be an open house for the Visitor Center and adjacent Hazel-Atlas Mine. District Naturalists will lead nature walks and visit the historic Rose Hill Cemetery and Eureka Slope (coal mine entrance) as well. The new book, Rose Hill – A Comprehensive History of a Pioneer Cemetery, will be for sale, with author Traci Parent available to sign books.
Due to storm damage to the Greathouse portal in 2007, the Visitor Center entrance became inaccessible and has been closed for five years. Repairing the portal required extensive engineering work which met strict mine safety regulations. Today the portal is finished and offers an impressive entrance to its famous Visitor Center. The center, an underground sand mine which was excavated in the 1920s, now features new exhibits which interpret the sand and coal mining history of the area.
To reach the visitor center, take Somersville Road from Highway 4 in Antioch to the Preserve.
When visiting the mines, visitors should dress appropriately for a visit underground where the temperature is a cool 56-58 degrees. Children must be at least seven years of age to enter the Hazel Atlas Mine, but all ages are welcome at the Greathouse Visitor Center.