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.
On a pullout from Highway 299 in Trinity County is the largest hydraulic mine in California. Little remains of the operation aside from a monitor and four interpretive displays. Yet, the La Grange Mine looms large in gold mining history.