While the origins of hydraulic mining could be traced to ancient Roman technology, it’s popularly recognized use came around in the 1850s with the California Gold Rush. By shooting high pressure jets of water to dislodge and direct earth, hydraulic mining brought new life to the mostly played out placer claims of the California foothills….
Tony Beets of Gold Rush fame, has made a name for himself by reviving historic dredges to mine his claims. Today, these massive multi-story mining machines are relatively rare. Back in the day, however, they were the giants of the industry.
Perched on an overlook above the historic mining town of Butte, Montana, are the commemorative bricks and engraved plaques of the Granite Mountain Memorial. It pays tribute to the survivors of hard rock mining’s greatest disaster: the Granite Mountain-Speculator Fire of June 8, 1917. The 168 men lost in the fire along with 2,500 Butte men lost from mining related causes between 1879 and 1983 are commemorated at this grand and educational outlook.
Sitting in the heart of historic Leadville, Colorado, the Heritage Museum and Gallery pays homage to the history of the 1880s silver boomtown. The museum is housed in Leadville’s first library built in 1904 with funds from Andrew Carnegie. The library became host to the museum in 1971 when it was acquired by the Lake County Civic Center Association
Today, Ballarat is a ghost town known better for its cameo in Easy Rider or visits from the Manson Family than its early mining history. Yet, from 1897 to 1917, Ballarat was the trade hub for the rich gold and silver diggings on the western slope of the Panamint Range.
The Crystal Gold Mine is one of the first hard rock mines in Silver Valley, Idaho. It is a remarkably preserved example of mining in the 1880s. The original ore cart, tracks, tools. and many gold laden quartz veins remain in place thanks to the mine’s surprising history.
The Wallace District Mining Museum celebrates 130 years of silver, lead, zinc, and gold mining in the “Silver Capital of the World” and the Coeur d’Alene Mining District.
As the “Silver Capital of the World,” Wallace, Idaho is awash in silver mining history sites. The most accessible of these is visible from Interstate 90, sharing a lot with the Wallace Chamber of Commerce. The ambiguously named “Silver History Site” is a public park dotted with mining equipment. The exhibit’s head frame, stamp mill, ore car, drills, bits, and even a closed tunnel is capped off with a statue of a miner with his wife and child, dedicated to all miners and their families.
Mining claims on federal land saw a small increase over the month of July 2016. While 173 claims were staked and only 95 claims were abandoned, this is still significantly fewer than claims staked and closed in July 2015. Interestingly, in July of 2015, though 310 claims were staked, it marked a decrease in mining…
While Death Valley has had its share of gold and silver mines, the “White Gold of the Desert” has proven to be the deserts most profitable mineral. Borax mines and related facilities are dotted across the valley yet the Harmony Borax Works and interpretive trail is the primary attraction for visitors.