Native Americans and French fur traders first mined this hill for the lead that lay near the surface. When Americans came to the area in the 1820s, they discovered rich lead deposits. At first the miners dug holes in the surface to obtain the surface deposits. These holes resembled badger holes and the miners were soon known as Badgers. A nickname that has stuck for the state.
Later shafts were dug to go after deeper deposits and in the late 1800s, it was discovered that there was zinc in a lot of the cast off stone from the lead mining and emphasis shifted to zinc mining. The mines closed in the mid 1900s.
A few buildings from the mining-era have been restored in the area and artifacts have been left on display for the visitor. Badger holes and mine shafts are still present and can be viewed by the visitor (but not entered.)