Archive | United States Mining History

A return to legacy: The reopening of Central City’s Bates Hunter Mine – by Sarah Haas (Boulder Weekly – November 15, 2018)

Boulder Weekly

It’s 8 a.m. at Central City’s newly reopened Bates Hunter Mine, the sun just peaking over the valley walls. It’s been over 70 years since gold was last mined here, but as the miner’s begin to arrive at work on a November day in 2018, it feels like they’ve been here all along, like this is where they’re supposed to be.

By all appearances today is a normal day, although on the agenda is at least one extraordinary task; after months of removing water from the main shaft, the miners can finally access the 163-foot level, submerged and unseen since an exploratory visit in 2008. And, aside from a few maps that look like a simplistic version of Snakes and Ladders, the crew doesn’t really know what to expect on today’s seminal descent.

“We’re just gonna go down and check it out, gauge the condition of the infrastructure, poke around on the landing,” says Matt Collins, the mine’s general manager and engineer. “It’ll be neat to see how close these are to our maps.” Continue Reading →

Mine Tales: Del Pasco Mine brought fortune seekers in the 1870s – by William Ascarza (Arizona Daily Star – November 12, 2018)

https://tucson.com/

The Bradshaw Mountains in Central Arizona near Prescott produced a series of big strikes in the 1870s and ’80s. The earliest to be developed in the range was the Del Pasco Mine.

It was discovered by Jackson McCrackin, James Fine, Charley Taylor and T.G. Hogle on July 4, 1870. Within a month, two arrastras were employed to extract gold with an initial processing of 112 ounces totaling $1,904. The former placer mine was further developed to access the Del Pasco vein (running 2 to 3 feet in width) which, later heavily worked, necessitated the establishment of a tunnel 1,000 feet in length and stoped to the surface.

Located in the Pine Grove District of Yavapai County on the rugged southern slopes of Tower Mountain overlooking Crown King, the Del Pasco vein, between 6,300 feet and 7,300 feet, strikes north-northeast. The local geology is diorite intruded by rhyolite porphyry and a primary quartz vein with galena, pyrite and sphalerite. Continue Reading →

Montana generous in sharing men, women and treasures to hasten end of WWI – by Kim Briggeman (Helena Independent Record – November 10, 2018)

https://helenair.com/

“I’ve got a quote in my book that every American bullet fired in
the war was encased in Butte copper,” said Robison, who’ll be
part of Sunday’s program at Fort Missoula.

They’re not forget-me-nots, but they could be called that. The scientific name for the tiny blue flowers that grow in France’s Forest of Verdun is Sisyrinchium montanum. “They call it the blue-eyed grass of Montana,” a national forest official in Douamont told the American Foreign Press in 2016.

Douamont is lined with graves of 80,000 of the 300,000 French and German soldiers who died in the 300-day Battle of Verdun in 1916, the year before the United States entered World War I. The flowers aren’t native, Patrice Hirbec told the news service. They were introduced to Verdun as seeds on the hooves of United States Army horses.

It wasn’t a good war to be a horse. It’s said that on one day during the Battle of Verdun, 7,000 were killed in the shelling. Estimates vary but somewhere between 6 million and 8 million horses, mules and donkeys died during the four years of conflict. Continue Reading →

Cheers, tears as historic smelter from Magma Mine demolished in Superior – by Ryan Randazzo (Arizona Republic – November 10, 2018)

https://www.azcentral.com/

Cheers erupted at 8:46 a.m. Saturday in Superior after the historic copper smelter stack from the Magma Mine crashed to the ground. But the cheers only came because the controlled demolition offered such a spectacle. Many of the people lined up along the streets watching the destruction were sad to see the 293-foot brick stack fall.

Even though smoke hasn’t wafted from the top of the stack since 1971, the 94-year-old smelter about 60 miles east of downtown Phoenix was a symbol of the region’s mining heritage, and had sentimental value for those who lived and worked in Superior.

That includes Larry Palacio, a Gilbert retiree who spent more than 21 years working at the Magma Mine after he graduated from Superior High School in 1955. “I did just about everything,” he said, standing along Main Street waiting for the warning sirens before explosions that caused the stack to topple. “I was a mucker, mechanic, worked the cage.” Continue Reading →

The silver kings of the Comstock – by Darold Fredricks (San Mateo Daily Journal – November 11, 2013)

https://www.smdailyjournal.com/

Although gold had been taken out of the streams around Virginia City in 1850, it didn’t create much excitement in San Francisco immediately.

The gold tailings were worked when there was water in the streams that ran east from Mount Davidson, a peak from the Virginia Range in western Utah Territory. As more prospecting produced other catches of gold tailings, word spread that there might be a bonanza in the hot and forbidding area. A few took the bait and they left after the gold strike from Coloma panned out and they were left high and dry in San Francisco.

In 1857, Henry Comstock lucked upon an area where he and some others found some gold and silver veins that were promising for riches. Henry acquired the area after the Grosh brothers died before filing claims. Henry took over the cabin and land and enlarged his holdings by claiming more land around the cabin after hearing of a gold strike at Gold Hill. Continue Reading →

Museum exhibit explores Alaska’s gold industry – by Theresa Bakker (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – November 4, 2018)

http://www.newsminer.com/

FAIRBANKS – Some of the first settlers to make their way to Fairbanks came for the promise that there was gold in the hills of the Tanana Valley. More than 100 years later, the industry is a vital economic resource and plenty of tourists still come to Alaska to discover its gold rush history.

That’s why the University of Alaska Museum of the North is exploring gold this month. Museum Educator Emily Koehler-Platten said visitors should know that gold is more than just a shiny metal. Not only has its beauty and rarity made it important to people, but it has also affected our history and culture.

“I hope museum visitors gain a deeper understanding of gold,” she said. “It is a cultural force that has deeply affected life in Alaska, and continues to impact us today. The modern history of Alaska would have been different if gold fever had not caused thousands of people to come north.” Continue Reading →

Fayette County: Old coal mining hub continues to be haunted by ghosts – by Taylor Neuman (CBS Fox WVNSTV.com – October 30, 2018)

https://www.wvnstv.com/

WHIPPLE, WV (WVNS) – What is now a historical museum, was once the center of a coal mining community in the heart of Whipple, Fayette County. In the late 1800’s, the Whipple Company Store was a one-stop-shop, with everything from food to healthcare. Life was not easy back then and the stories that have been preserved within this store reflect just that.

Coal was everything during this time; a main source of income for many. In fact, any threat to their way of life met its match, and sometimes in the most brutal ways. Beatings and murders in plain sight, and there was nothing the community could do about it because the coal mining companies controlled everything.

According to local ghost hunter, Chris Colin, people were forced into situations they had no choice but which to agree. Continue Reading →

Then Again: The rise and fall of the Ely Copper Mines – by Mark Bushnell (VTDigger.org – October 21, 2018)

https://vtdigger.org/

Editor’s note: Mark Bushnell is a Vermont journalist and historian. He is the author of “Hidden History of Vermont” and “It Happened in Vermont.”

Ammunition was handed out to the troops: 20 rounds per man. The state militia planned to bring order to the town of Vershire.

Before dawn on the morning of Saturday, July 7, 1883, roughly 200 militia members climbed into wagons that would transport them to the outskirts of town. A group of striking miners had controlled Vershire since Monday. Word had spread that the miners had seized explosives and were threatening to start blowing things up if their demands weren’t met. One rumor had it that the miners were holding company executives, town officials and others hostage.

Their complaint was simple: they weren’t getting paid. Miners hadn’t seen a paycheck in months. Company officials claimed the mine was nearly bankrupt, but workers believed, or in desperation at least hoped, they were lying. Continue Reading →

There’s so much more to Cripple Creek than gambling – by Amanda Kesting (9News.com – September 20, 2018)

https://www.9news.com/

CRIPPLE CREEK — For more than 100 years, people have been coming to a small Colorado town with the dreams of striking it rich. It started with tens of thousands of gold-seekers in the late 1800s and has transformed into gamblers, trying their luck in one of the town’s grand casinos.

Cripple Creek is a charming community with a rich heritage. Located just over two hours southwest of Denver and about an hour outside of Colorado Springs, the town sits on the southwest slope of Pikes Peak.

Just over 1,000 people call Cripple Creek home, according to the most recent census numbers, but many more come through the town each year to visit. It is still a well-known gambling town, with nine large casinos occupying many of the restored brick buildings along the main street of downtown. Continue Reading →

Arizona’s mining history: Danger for many, riches for a few – by Weldon B. Johnson (Arizona Republic – September 10, 2018)

https://www.azcentral.com/

The lure of gold sparked the mining boom in the Arizona Territory in the Old West, but other shiny metals helped the industry catch fire here. Many prospectors who arrived in the mid-1800s with dreams of striking it rich with gold quickly adapted to the more abundant copper and silver. There were times during mining’s boom period when those metals were more valuable than gold.

But those miners weren’t the first seek a fortune, or at least make a better life, by exploiting Arizona’s mineral riches. As early as 1000 B.C., native inhabitants used cinnabar, coal, turquoise, clay, pigments and other minerals. Spanish explorers followed a few hundred years later, searching for fabled lost cities of gold and other riches.

Charles Poston, sometimes called the father of Arizona (he played a significant role in securing Arizona’s territorial status), opened mines near Tubac in 1854 that employed nearly 1,000 miners. Four years later he was literally printing money. He owned the state’s first printing press. Continue Reading →

Alaska gold-mining memoir a trove of history, adventure tales – by Sam Friedman (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – September 7, 2018)

http://www.newsminer.com/

FAIRBANKS — When Randy Zarnke was first handed an unpublished memoir about a little-known Yukon and Chena River gold miner named Frederick James Currier, the book stood out to Zarnke, both because of the types of adventures and the way the stories about them were told.

That’s saying something, because Zarnke knows Alaska outdoor stories well. He’s the president of the Alaska Trappers Association and has interviewed nearly 200 Alaska outdoorsmen for his previous book “Alaska Tracks: Life Stories from Hunters, Fisherman and Trappers of Alaska.”

“My initial reaction was, ‘Man this is really great,’” Zarnke said. “My second reaction was, ‘We’ve got to share it more widely.’“ In 2007, Zarnke received the manuscript from his friend Dirk Tordoff, a former Rasmuson Library Alaska Film Archives curator. Since reading it, Zarnke has been working on getting the book published through the Alaska Trappers Association and Anchorage business Publication Consultants. Continue Reading →

Mining through the past: Cambridge student visits Nevada County to research Cornish heritage – by Jennifer Nobles (The Union – September 5, 2018)

The Union

Sebastian Horton has always dreamed of visiting California. Growing up in Penzance, Cornwall, England, he’d imagine a land of sunshine and balmy temperatures, a place where he could surf and skateboard to his heart’s content.

The 22-year-old finally made his California wishes come true, but the purpose for his trip is much more significant than he’d initially imagined.

Horton — a third year student at Cambridge University — is visiting Nevada County in order to conduct extensive research for his dissertation which will be presented in April. The topic of the project will be Cornish mine workers who ascended to positions of social and political influence. Continue Reading →

Mining Documentary: Review: In ‘Bisbee ’17,’ Anti-Union Violence Haunts an Arizona Town – by A.O. Scott (New York Times – September 4, 2018)

 

https://www.nytimes.com/

Bisbee, Ariz., not far from the Mexican border, is a quiet former mining town, one of many such places scattered across the American West. Tombstone, site of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral and a popular tourist destination, is just up the road.

Bisbee has a notably violent episode in its past as well, an event that is the subject of “Bisbee ’17,” Robert Greene’s clearsighted and gratifyingly complicated new documentary.

Starting on July 12, 1917 — a few months after the United States entered World War I and in the midst of labor agitation across the mining industry — sheriff’s deputies rounded up around 1,200 people thought to be union activists, forced them into boxcars and transported them to the New Mexico desert. Continue Reading →

DEADWOOD DUDETTE: Deadwood History’s Carolyn Weber still gets a rush out of the Black Hills gold rush – by T.D. Griffith (Rapid City Journal – August 27, 2018)

https://rapidcityjournal.com/

Nearly a dozen years ago, Carolyn Weber joined the staff of Deadwood History Inc., as an archivist charged with organizing the vast Homestake Mining Co. collection tracing 125 years of gold mining history through myriad historical artifacts and more than 9,000 photographs.

Today, Weber serves as executive director of DHI. Although the 57-year-old who holds a master’s degree in museum studies is little-known outside historical circles, Weber is a driving force behind what local residents and visitors learn about the fabled Wild West community. So, we sat down with her to find out what still trips her trigger about the past.

Tell us a little bit about the facilities you oversee, the number of staff, and the scope of DHI’s collections.

DHI is the nonprofit organization that oversees the operations of the Adams Museum, the Days of ’76 Museum, the Historic Adams House, and the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center. All four of these properties are different and unique, but work together to interpret the history of Deadwood and the Black Hills in the context of the American West. Continue Reading →

A Great Plain lie: The many fraudsters of Kansas’s goldless rush – by Cecilia Keating (CIM Magazine – July 19, 2018)

http://magazine.cim.org/

Despite no concrete evidence of mineable gold deposits in Kansas, far-fetched stories of riches have enticed adventurers, prospectors and mining investors to the state since the 16th century. But the frenzy for non-existent gold culminated at the turn of the 20th century, when a string of fraudsters capitalized on investors’ gullibility and greed with false promises and fake assay results.

Inspired by an 1851 map that revealed a tin mine on the Smoky Hill River in central Kansas, railroad magnate Cyrus Holliday sent prospectors to investigate the area’s geology in 1884. The map was a hoax, but the prospectors’ efforts piqued the interest of a high-ranking military official named Henry Artz.

Artz formed the Smoky River Mining Company in 1895, claiming to have found zinc. Two years later, he reported gold and silver. Despite many prominent assayers’ reports saying the shale contained nothing of value, Artz selectively worked with those who assured him of the opposite. Continue Reading →