California Mine



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Whiting Mine


The California Mine was located on the north slope of Quartz Hill opposite Nevadaville.  The shaft of the mine had been developed to a depth of 2,250 feet, the deepest in the district.  Originally located in 1870, by 1880 the California Mine, which included the Hidden Treasure - the adjoining mine to the west - was sold to an English company.  The new owner between 1888 and 1890 continued sinking the shaft to the 2,250 foot level - the deepest mine in the world at that time.   The California vein was the most uniform and regular in Gilpin County and the most cheaply worked.  A large influx of acid water was encountered from the surface to the 2,200 foot level.  From this level to the 2,500 foot level of the mine was so dry that water had to be conveyed to the lower levels for drilling purposes. 

Apparently the California Mine had closed by 1902.   George E Collins - a mining engineer- reported that "it seems clear that the closing was due largely to failure of equipment - first, the the fire which in 1899 destroyed the original hoisting plant and the main shaft house; and secondly to the accident in February of 1902 to the new hoist.  It should be borne in mind that even in an average season it required sixteen hours of steady hoisting out of the twenty-four to handle the water in 500-gallon buckets, and that any cessation in hoisting water began immediately to fill the lower workings.  The amount of development that was possible, not to speak of ore production, was thus limited by the hoisting capacity."

The California shaft was 550 feet below the level of the Newhouse Tunnel, however the mines workings  were not connected.  A diamond drill hole had been bored from a drift to drain the California Mine down to the Newhouse Tunnel.

The Gilpin Tramway track had reached the California Mine by March 25, 1888.  By February 13, 1890 the sidetrack at this mine had been increased to a capacity of fourteen ore cars, which included the engine.

Gilpin Railroad Station Listing by Dan Abbott

In Documents you will find a business letter from the California Milling and Mining Company written in 1897.

Mile Post (Quartz Hill Branch) 43.33


Gilpin Tram Engine #3 at California Mine.  Fred Kruse, the lines general manager, is at right (in suit)
H H Buckwalter

This is a blow up of a larger image of the Gold Coin mine.

Gilpin History Museum

California Mine on left, Hidden Treasure Mine on right.

Joe Crea Collection

California site, 10 Dec 2004

Mark Baldwin


California Mine in Virtual Gilpin
Model by Linda Irene

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This page was last updated 01/27/07

Copyright 2007 by Mark Baldwin