Frontenac  Mine

and Aduddell Mine



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Mile Post 44.35

Gilpin Historic Society

Keith Pashina 10/5/2001

Frontenac Mine Trackage

Dan Abbott, Gilpin Railroad Quarterly, January 2003

The Gilpin Tramway reached the Frontenac Mine before the end of July in 1888. An ore chute was erected before the end of August in that same year to transport ore taken from this mine over the Gilpin Tramway to the Black Hawk Sampling Works. This remained the end of track for the Gilpin Tramway prior to the end of 1905 when the Banta Hill Extension was constructed.

The Frontenac and Aduddell Mines were located at the head of South Willis Gulch and were developed along the same vein under the same management. In ore development the Frontenac’s east shaft was used for hoisting while the Aduddell’s west shaft was used for ventilation for both of these mines. The Frontenac shaft followed the dip of the lode and connected with eight levels and one sub-level. The fourth level of the Frontenac workings connected with the fifth level of the Adudell’s west shaft, which were at the same eleva­tion. The seventh level of the Frontenac connected through a rise with the fourth level of the main Aduddell shaft.

According to H. P. Lowe, who was manager of the Frontenac-Aduddell properties, the total gross production of both the Frontenac and Aduddell mines up to the fall of 1911 was estimated at $2,250,000.

On December 20,1905, Foreman C. H. Mathais received four cars of 40-pound steel rail (old), which amounted to about 12,000 track feet and 350 pairs of 40-pound angle bars (also old). Just three days later on December 23, 1905— this same foreman had received 6 track shovels, 4 mauls, 4 wrenches, 1 ratchet, 6 picks, 12 pick handles, 2 track gauges, 2 level boards, 9 drill bits, 1 tape line and 8,000 ties for some new work on the Banta Hill Extension in the vicinity of the Frontenac Mine.

The Frontenac Mine was located at M.P. 44.35 while the end of the spur for this mine was at MR 44.45 or 528 feet in length. However, one map indicated that there was a short passing track located on this spur. Side trackage located at the Frontenac Mine on July 1, 1910 amounted to 3,892 feet.F

However, as early as September 2, 1909, a spur track to the Frontenac Mine shaft had been completed under A.F.E.#372 which amounted to 3,643 feet. The C. & S. Audi­tor went so far as to compare the estimate with the actual expense of constructing this spur for the Frontenac Mining Company.

Construction of new trackage along with the extension of a storage track occurred at the Frontenac Mine between October 1909 and February 1910. This east storage track was extended 550 feet, while a new siding 600 feet long and a new spur 400 foot long were also constructed to provide convenient facilities for the handling of cars to and from the Frontenac Mine at a cost of $1,862.50.

            October 1909                                              $ 597.00
            November 1909                                          
$ 430.00
            January 1910                                              
$ 208.00
            February 1910                                            
$ 97.19
                Subtotal                                                  $1,332.19
            Less credit                                                  -$17.36
                Total                                                       $1,314.83

Construction of other new improvements was begun on November 8 and completed just seven days later on November 15, 1910. Apparently some of the Pease-Kansas Branch was removed in order to obtain track material for the new improvements at the Frontenac Mine as the following indicates:

 November 1, 1910- Personal expenses of engineering party during the month of October 1910, while engaged on surveys for track to Frontenac Mine (A.F.E.#863).

W. Whitmore $2.50
H.E.Pearce $2.50
P.L.Wigton $2.50
Total $7.50

November11, 1910 - We would like to take up as much of the Pease-Kansas spur at MR 41.41 on Gilpin Railroad as is necessary to complete tracks at the Frontenac Mine.

November 15, 1910 -This will be your authority for taking up the abandoned spur to the Pease-Kansas Mine on the Gilpin Railroad, and to relay the rail taken from this spur at the Frontenac Mine.

November 21, 1910 - Taking up 1,256 feet of the end of Pease-Kansas spur from Gilpin Railroad on Quartz Hill at estimated cost of $38.35 to provide rail for use on other tracks.

November 21, 1910 - Concerning rail taken up on the Pease-Kansas spur to complete work at Erontenac Mine 1,125.5 feet of track taken up between November 12th through November 16th, 1910.

November 1910 - Material used at Frontenac Mine 1,825 feet 40-pound steel rail, three switch stands $558.78

December 7, 1910 -General Manager Pircher of the Gilpin Railroad advised that the following expenses on the Gilpin Railroad during the month of November should be charged to the Frontenac Mine tracks:

Engineer 96 firs. @ .35c = $33.60
Fireman 96 hrs. @2 25c = $24.00
        Conductor 96 hrs. @.30c
= $28.80
        Total         $86.40

9tons of coal used and 9,000 gallons of water used at 50 cents per thousand.

According to A.F.E. #863 which was dated September 27, 1910, a contract was being prepared which provided for the deposit of a check to cover the total estimated cost of this work with the railroad company by H. P Lowe of the mining company.

This total amount was to be refunded to the mining company at the rate of fifty cents per car on all carload shipments handled into or out of the Frontenac or Aduddell Mines, which were to pay the Gilpin Railroad Company $4.50 or more per car, within a period of two years, from date of completion of the track work.

When the total of this refund had reached $1,862.50 or at the expiration of the two years the tracks were to become the sole property of the Gilpin Railroad Company whether such refunds had reached the total amount or not.

H.P.Lowe of the Frontenac Mining Company was to furnish to the railroad company title to the right of way for the trackage free of cost to the railroad company. However, by June 2, 1911 this contract was still pending for this right of way for trackage to the Frontenac Mine which was con­structed on September 30, 1910.

Even as late as May 5, 1911, the C. & S. Auditor was concerned with a refund to the Frontenac Consolidated Mines Company, as it was then known, as the following letter states:

“We have had up with the engineering department for some time the question of easement for the land on which the Gilpin Railroad tracks were built for the Frontenac Mining Company but the engineering department has been unable to make up a satisfactory description to embody in the easement covering these tracks. H. P Lowe has been ready to give us easement on his own ground and to obtain easements from other parties on ground not owned by him but we have been unable to have the easements prepared owing to the complex situation relating to various mining claims. I believe the engineering department want to abandon the idea of obtaining easements for these tracks particularly in view of the fact that so many Gilpin Railroad spur tracks have been built without easements or any agreement covering right-of­-way.

By January 1, 1912, as well as July 1, 1913, the tail of track at the Frontenac Mine was listed at 0.16 mile, or 844.8 feet.

Aduddell Mine with Frontenac in background.
Mining Investor Aug 8, 1908


Note the below photos were not specifically identified as these mines.   However, it was the only location I could match the photo's too.   I preliminarily identified the photo's from looking at the location in my Trainz model.   The kicker that convinced me I had identified them correctly is that three pictures down in the series shows an office with a sign at the entry saying "Topeka, Frontenac and Aduddell Mines".   Based on other pictures of the series, these pictures were probably taken in fall of 1910.


Looking north and down on Frontenac loading area, picture probably taken from mine house.  Frontenac spur track is under the bridge structure and Banta Hill spur is upper middle of picture.

Looking East at Aduddel and Banta Hill spur

Looking East at Aduddel and Banta Hill spur

Looking south across S Willis Gulch to the Frontenac


August 8, 1908 Mining Investor


Offices of Topeka, Frontenac and Aduddell mines.   Location unknown.



Collection of Gilpin Historic Society

Annual Reports

Below you will find copies of the 1909 and 1912 Annual Report for the Frontenac Mining Company

Report and Statment of Accounts, 30 June 1909


Annual Report and Statment of Accounts, 31 July 1912






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This page was last updated 01/12/08

Copyright 2007 by Mark Baldwin