This mine was once made up of several smaller claims and the earliest records I can find on those date back to 1867. However, by the turn of the last century (1900), these appear to have all been consolidated into the large operation seen in the video. Given the large number of adits and trenches, the number of collapsed structures (I only showed a small number of them in the video), the large stamp mill and the need for a cemetery, this was obviously a significant mining community during its heyday.
The guys I explored this site with are the Gold Country Explorers and credit goes to them for locating it. Gold Country Explorers find and post pictures of some really awesome places. You can find a link to their material here:
To see one of those monster Fairbanks-Morse stationary engines running (and it is worth seeing), check out the great video at the link below:
An early (1800s) California State Mining Bureau report had this to say about the mill at the site:
“A 20-stamp mill was located on the east side of the creek, with 900-pound stamps driven by a Knight wheel under 94’ of head from a 1,650’ long ditch; only one battery of stamps was reported as being in running order.”
A later report (1900s) adds these additional details about the mill:
“The mill at this time is described as possessing a 50-ton daily capacity, with a jaw crusher, 10 stamps, and ball mill in closed circuit with a Dorr classifier. Riffles were set below the stamps, and amalgamation plates below the ball mill. Three Fagergren flotation cells were followed by two Kraut cleaner-cells. A 200-hp diesel engine drove a generator to supply electric power, and a 440 cfm compressor was driven by a 100-hp motor.”
Now, you may notice a discrepancy here as the first description mentions twenty stamps and the second description mentions ten stamps. As you saw in the video, the ruins of the mill at the mine site now has ten stamps. So, does that mean that an earlier mill was torn down and replaced by a new mill? Possibly. However, in the picture in the video, which was taken in 1937, a flume can be clearly seen leading toward the mill. Presumably, it was still being used when the photograph was taken because it appears to be maintained and in good condition. So, perhaps the mill was remodeled or rehabbed and ten stamps were taken away? The first report mentions that only one battery was in working order…
In further support of this idea is the manufacturer’s stamp on the stamp mill itself. Union Iron Works of San Francisco ceased to be an independent company in 1902 when it was absorbed into a conglomerate called the United States Shipbuilding Company. This, therefore, dates the stamp mill to the time of the original report and would seem to suggest that it is the same mill.
The last records of work being done at this mine date to 1939.
You can perhaps better understand how everything is laid out at this abandoned gold mine by knowing that I did not backtrack or meander at all during the video, but continued in a steady downstream direction. So, the order in which objects of interest appear in the video are the order in which they are laid out across this sprawling site.
All of these videos are uploaded in HD, so adjust those settings to ramp up the quality! It really does make a difference…
You can click here for the full playlist of abandoned mines: https://goo.gl/TEKq9L
Thanks for watching!
Growing up in California’s “Gold Rush Country” made it easy to take all of the history around us for granted. However, abandoned mine sites have a lot working against them – nature, vandals, scrappers and various government agencies… The old prospectors and miners that used to roam our lonely mountains and toil away deep underground are disappearing quickly as well.
These losses finally caught our attention and we felt compelled to make an effort to document as many of the ghost towns and abandoned mines that we could before that niche of our history is gone forever. But, you know what? We enjoy doing it! This is exploring history firsthand – bushwhacking down steep canyons and over rough mountains, figuring out the techniques the miners used and the equipment they worked with, seeing the innovations they came up with, discovering lost mines that no one has been in for a century, wandering through ghost towns where the only sound is the wind... These journeys allow a feeling of connection to a time when the world was a very different place. And I’d love to think that in some small way we are paying tribute to those hardy miners that worked these mines before we were even born.
So, yes, in short, we are adit addicts… I hope you’ll join us on these adventures!