Individual Mines

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Oro y Plata Mine

The mine was located above Owls Burrow Flat (Owlsburg), one of the original placer mining settlements in and around Murphys, which sprung up early in 1853. By March of 1858, the area was described by a correspondent for the San Andreas Independent as an “area of ditches, deep cuts, hydraulic flumes, water, prospect holes, and miners’ cabins.” Later that year the same correspondent mentioned about six companies prospecting in the area, but “stymied” for lack of water. In December of 1859, the correspondent noted that, except for Owlsburg, there was little mining activity between Indian Creek and Murphys.

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The Beda Blood Mine

Undoubtedly due to the renewed interest in mining occasioned by the hard rock mining boom in Angels Camp in the late 1880s, on June 25, 1888, Harvey Blood patented the Beda Blood Placer Mine.

Harvey Blood, a prominent citizen of Calaveras and Alpine counties, served as an assemblyman to the state legislature in the 1890s. A resident of Angels Camp, Blood and his family operated and maintained the Big Tree-Carson Valley Turnpike over Ebbetts Pass from 1864 to 1910. Blood’s Station, located at Grizzly Bear Valley, was a major stopover on the road to the Washoe mines. 

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Calaveras Central Gold Mining Company

The greatest period of mining activity in the Angels Camp area occurred in the early 1930s, after the Aetna Placer Mine was acquired by the Calaveras Central Gold Mining Company, Ltd., of San Francisco. The company acquired the mining rights to 837 acres, including the Victor, McElroy, Peirano/Aetna, and Reiner mines, the E.W. Johnson Ranch, the Slab Ranch, and other mines of the Calmo Mining & Milling Company (Julihn &and Horton 1938:42). Officers of the company included Harry Sears, president; Desmond Sears, secretary, and C. P. Chamberlain, treasurer. W. H. Warwick was mine superintendent. Part of the property was acquired from the Victor Land and Mineral Co. about 1926, and the remainder from other holders in 1933 (Bradley 1936:329). At this time Warwick was residing in a two-story frame house, with a basement, located between the Aetna and Calaveras Central shafts (Castle 1987).

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The Victor-Reiner Claim

On what would later become the Calaveras Central property, One of the first major operations began at the Victor/Reiner Claim, first located in 18951895, and reportedly sold for $50,000 that same year. The shaft (later called the main Calaveras Central) was sunk in 1904-5 and worked intermittently by the Reiner Mining Company from 1908-1912, when fire destroyed the shaft and the 20-stamp mill. Work was resumed and 1,000 feet of drifts were driven by 1915, when a heavy flow of water forced the mine to close (Clark and Lydon 1962:92-93). Interestingly, the Calaveras County assessment rolls during the 1910s noted no improvements on the property, suggesting that no activity was occurring.

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The McElroy and Matteson Mine Shafts

Within the region of the new Highway 4 Bypass in Angels Camp, a flurry of activity in the mid-1860s occurred at Bald Hill with the sinking of the McElroy and Matteson shafts. McElroy and Matteson, however, were working on the same claim, as they were each assessed for the Bald Hill Gravel Mine Claim at different time periods (Calaveras County Assessment Lists, various). According to a report by the Bureau of Mines:

Commands