June 15, 2019 

From the Sixteen to One Archives


Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 ]

 By Michael Miller

09/22/2006  11:11AM

On June 22, 2005, the Company continued its long standing objective of consolidating the great gold mines of the Alleghany Mining District with the purchase of the Gold Crown Mine and its satellite claims. We recently found the following articles published in 1953.

California Mining Journal

Another Sierra County Gold Strike at the Gold Crown Mine Alleghany, California
$150,000 to $200,000 per ton

Gold Crown Mine Makes One of Alleghany’s Richest Strikes

Alleghany, Sierra County – Operators of the Gold Crown Mine have confirmed reports of a gold strike.
Fred and Dan Giles and their mother, Harriette Duke, said a highgrade ledge was struck at a depth of 400 feet. A tunnel had been driven from the north side of the Middle Yuba River Canyon.
Mrs. Duke descried it as one of the richest strikes in the Alleghany District in several years. The mine is located between the Original 16 to 1 Mine and the Oriental Mine, both active producers.
Both the Oriental and 16 to 1 have high grade areas in which they mine only when the mill run of ore gets a little low in values.
The Gold Crown has recently gone on two shifts following the installation of new equipment including a mucking machine, Miner’s Foundry side dump cars and battery locomotive. The company is a Nevada Corporation.
When the writer was on the property July 14th Mrs. Duke expressed the opinion that a noticeable change in the formation predicted an early strike.

California Mining Journal
September 1953

More Details of the Rich Strike

As news was released about the rich strike at the Gold Crown Mine it begins to look like one of California’s biggest. In an interview with a San Francisco Examiner reporter Dan Giles stated that the rich strike will run between $150,000 and $200,000 to the ton of ore. He further stated that the rich strike was made after the miners had run a lower tunnel into the mountain for a distance of 1,500 feet. He also stated that last winter they were about to give up the job when their foreman, Al Novak, urged them to “stick it out.” At that time the miners were following a gabbro and serpentine slate contact.
Hal Wright’s Sierra Booster gives further detail as follows:
“The round blasted on July 20 showed the footwall of a quartz vein for about a foot, from which a small amount of high-grade was taken. That was the tipoff. After the next three rounds all rock had to be hand-sorted and many powder boxes were filled with high-grade – much of it jewelry in quality. Judge Wilford Hart, engineer for the adjoining 16 to 1 mine, says the gold looks as good as anything he has ever seen taken from an Alleghany mine.
In one small collection of the rock, approximately 25 pounds, it was estimated to run 40% gold. It’s the type of gold that brings $100 per ounce with the New York jewelers.”
In describing the formation the Booster says:
“Where contacted, quartz in the ledge runs fairly solid up to a foot in width on the footwall. Bluejay talc, sericite and quartz stringers in a conglomerate mass on the hangingwall side broadens the ledge formation to about four feet. Free gold appears principally in the quartz but is also found in the bluejay and slightly into the country rock. Clusters of arsenical pyrites are sprinkled in the formation, after following the talc and Sericite lenses besides appearing in the quartz. The gold itself runs from crystallized shapes to jagged and may be characterized as heavy and clear.”
“Point of discovery is 1,510 feet from the portal. The vein pitches 70° to the west and is exactly in position according to a projection made from the ledge outcroppings by Bill Vance of the 16 to 1 mine. From the tunnel level the ledge has about 500 feet of backs.”
“Following the strike stock in the mine became unavailable. Mrs. Duke, mother of the two Giles boys, owns 51% of the stock. There are about 350 other stockholders. The corporation was organized Aug. 3, 1949.”
 By Michael Miller

09/01/2006  8:17PM

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park
P.O. Box 265 / 310 Back Street
Coloma, CA 95613
(916) 622-3470 FAX (916) 622-3472

October 24, 1995

Mike Miller, President
Sixteen To One Mine, Inc.
P.O. Box 1621
Alleghany, CA 95910

Dear Mike:

Thank you so much for coming to the U.S. National Gold Panning Championships this October 7th and 8th. It was so nice to have you here! We really appreciated your generous donation of the gold specimens and the medallions for the contest winners. It was fun to have you do the announcing when you gave these prizes out too. It’s always a pleasure to see you and I know that everyone enjoyed your coming.

I hope one day soon to get out to the mine and see your operation. Fred Olssen from Australia said that he really enjoyed the tour (I was jealous). You’ve quite a responsibility, managing a mine with such notoriety.

Thanks again Mike. You’re the greatest!

In Appreciation,
Rosanna McHenry
 By Michael Miller

09/01/2006  8:16PM

5000 Rocklin Road . Rocklin CA 95677 . Tel.916-624-3333

Johan Raadsma
Original 16:1 Mine
U.S. Post Office 1621
Alleghany, CA 95910

December 16, 1994

Dear Johan,

On behalf of all of us in the mining department I want to thank you for taking your time to show us around the mine. All of us felt the tour was exceptional, and we appreciated how leisurely you conducted it. A number of the students commented that they had never seen that much gold before. Many of them had never been underground or seen the workings of a mill either, so the tour was a treat for all concerned.
Our spring semester will begin the last week in January. At that time I will contact you about looking for a way to remove some of the impurities from your gold. If you’re still interested we can arrange to meet and discuss the details. We will be delighted to do this, and I already have one student interested in the project.
Again, thanks for the excellent tour, and have a very Merry Christmas.

Don Juergenson
Mining Technology
 By Michael Miller

09/01/2006  8:13PM

San Francisco Section of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc.

P. O. Box 26645 Kaiser Building
San Francisco, CA 300 Lakeside Drive
94126-6645 28th Floor

September 21, 1994

Original 16 to 1 Mine
ATTN: Mr. Mike Miller
PO Box 1621
Alleghany, CA 95910

Dear Mike:

I would like to thank you on behalf of the San Francisco Section of A.I.M.E. for your presentation last week. We have heard from several members who were in attendance and they wanted me to extend to you their appreciation.
The Original 16 to 1 Mine is historically known to many in the mining community but to hear first hand what you are doing currently was very interesting. The specimens you brought were also well received.
There was enough interest generated that I would like to follow up with you to arrange for a field trip to the mine this spring.
Thank you again for your time.

Very Truly Yours,
William A. Warfield


CHAIRMAN……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….Noel Kirshenbaum (415) 986-0740
PROGRAM CHAIRMAN………………………………………………………………………………………………Bill Warfield (415) 641-1994
COMMUNICATIONS……………………………………………………………………………………………………Peter Krag (415) 768-7261
SECRETARY-TREASURER…………………………………………………………………………………………..TJ Cox (415) 768-1234
GEM & STUDENT AFFAIRS…………………………………………………………………………………………Joe Hanzel (415) 604-3218
PAST CHAIRMEN……………………………………………………………………………………………………….Jim Woodfill
.……………………………………………………………………………………………………….Kevin Ashley
 By Michael Miller

09/01/2006  8:12PM

Nevada County Gem & Mineral Society
November 1993
Page 8


MICHAEL MILLER, President and CEO of the 16 to 1 mine in Alleghany; CA. was our surprise guest speaker at our October meeting. Seldom has there ever been such a quiet and attentive audience as those lucky club members who attended.
The history of the 16 to 1 is a boom-and-bust gold country saga that appears to be having a happy ending. Founded in 1911, as a deep hard-rock mining company, it tunneled on with a fair amount of success until 1965. The cost of operations balances against the $32.00 per ounce price of gold eventually closed the mining operation in 1962.
There were always those who believed that the 16 to 1 could prove to be a good business investment. In 1975 the mine was re-opened and operated to a limited degree. Securing new backers and using new equipment in 1983 the mine swung back into full operations again. Now in 1993, the mine is successful enough to be listed on the Stock Exchange. It now owns it’s own land free and clear, and is currently debt free, thanks largely to the dynamic leadership of Miller and his dedicated crew of 17 employees.
On August 9th this year, a gold specimen weighing more than twenty pounds (141 ounces) of ‘butter gold’ ore was blasted out of a tunnel below the 1000-foot level. That white quartz vein was richer than anyone had guessed. On that one Monday, the miners recovered more than 500 ounces of gold from TWO different locations deep in the hard rock mine. New seams are now being explored as far down as the 2200-foot levels.
“It looks real hit-and-miss when you look at the paper figures”, said Miller, “But April, May and part of June was dedicated to dead work; de-watering, re-timbering and other maintenance. This is the pay-off for all that work”.
The one spectacular 14 inch long specimen, valued at over a quarter million dollars, was then displayed at the Nevada County Fair. The exhibit included demonstrations of mining techniques and equipment. This display was the hit of the 1993 Fair.
Miller is now exploring other ways and means to expand the financial base of the operation. As there are continual requests for tours of the mine, and requests for specimens of gold-bearing quartz, etc., he is giving serious thought to these marketing ideas.
At the close of his presentation, Miller answered members’ questions. Members asked about water pumping systems (over 80 gallons a minute), air circulation and compressors. How many miles of tunnels are being worked? (over 26 miles), are they still blasting? (yes). Do they use metal detectors? (yes, the best they can find.) and many other questions.
This was a really exciting program. Anyone who has ever dipped a pan in a stream, or pounded a quartz rock looking for color, shares in the 16 to 1 dream of “GOLD IN THEM THAR HILLS”.
Our thanks to Michael Miller for his fascinating program. We hope to hear from him again soon.
 By Michael Miller

09/01/2006  8:09PM

Department of Mining Engineering
Mail Stop 168
Mackay School of Mines
Reno, Nevada 89557-0139
(702) 784-6961
FAX (702) 784-1766

April 25, 1993

Mr. Michael M. Miller, President
Original Sixteen-to-One Mining Company
U.S. Post Office 1621
Alleghany, CA 95910

Dear Mr. Miller:

On March 22, 1993, eight students and one professor of the John Mackay Club from the Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno, were provided a marvelous tour of the Original Sixteen-to-One mine in Alleghany, California. The attention received and thoroughness of the tour made for an extremely successful and memorable visit. The group was treated to a highly informative engineering discussion with Mr. Johan Raadsma, a superb underground tour led by Mr. Ian Haley, a complete overview of the milling process, and allowed to examine a portion of the fabulous Sixteen-to-One gold collection. From both the mining and purely engineering perspective, the day proved exceptionally educational.
I wish to thank you and all Sixteen-to-One personnel involved for your efforts in arranging this visit and for your willingness to support mining education. I realize the value of the time dedicated to our group during production hours and speak on behalf of the entire group by reemphasizing our appreciation. To express our gratitude we wish to offer you an honorary membership in the John Mackay Club, an organization compromised of future professionals in the minerals industry; please accept the membership card attached to this letter.
Enclosed with this letter as well is a summary report of our visit to the Sixteen-to-One as you originally requested. The report contains photographs chronicling our tour and remarks concerning the present mining operation from the engineer’s perspective.
Thank you once again for arranging this most enjoyable visit. Yours sincerely, //s//
Leo Gilbride John Mackay Club President
 By Michael Miller

08/07/2006  9:53PM

The following is actually from my historical archives, special books about the gold experience. It is a small part of a chapter written with first hand experiences during the early days of Sierra County : Hallowed Were the Gold Dust Trails. My editing is quite light. The Sixteen to One and my home are in this County. Sierra County is the second smallest county (by population) in California. Downieville is the county seat (about four hundred people). I first drove to Downieville in 1973 on a trip to find home. I returned a year later with my father, who owned a little stock in Original Sixteen to One Mine and moved to Alleghany in 1975. I hope you enjoy another glimpse of early California.


From the dry and dusty slopes of Nevada, travelers cross the California border to the evergreen forests of the Yuba’s upper ridges and enter fascinating Sierra County; fascinating because of its pine-clad mountain heights, fascinating because of its historic creeks and rivers of gold, and more fascinating perhaps because of the strange race of pioneers who blazed the way into its almost impenetrable defiles.
Leading into the heart of Sierra County in the earliest days were two main trails, one starting from Marysville and winding up through Yuba County to Foster’s Bar; the other starting at Nevada City in Nevada County and meandering in and out of one gulch after another until it came to San Juan Ridge, which it crossed, finally leading into Camptonville, near the western border of Sierra County.
The history of placer mining in this region begins with the explorations along the North Fork of the Yuba River, the first prospecting having been made at Foster’s Bar, close to the eastern border line of Yuba County. From here prospectors entered Sierra County, where in a short while they found gold in abundance on almost all the creeks and tributaries flowing from the north and the east.
In the month of October a hard-headed Scotchman named Downie, who had run a steamboat on Lake Erie, prevailed upon an Irish adventurer named Michael Devaney to take a chance with him, and to start out into the alluring wilderness ahead. Securing the services of an Indian who was familiar with the section, and promising to share his supplies with any others who would join the expedition, Downie finally got a company together, made up of ten Negroes and a Kanaka named Jim Crow.
This intrepid company blazed a trail which was followed for many years afterwards by travelers into the mining camps as far east as Sierra City. Passing over the North Fork of the Yuba out of Foster’s Bar, they fought their way up Willow Creek just above the present town of Camptonville, then struck out over the ridge to the east till they came to an elevated area, where the town of Mountain House was afterwards established. Gazing down the canyon towards Goodyear’s Bar they declared that they were entranced with the gorgeous vision of mountains, forest and canyon scenery that appeared on either hand, and Downie himself admitted in after years that it was the most picturesque sight he had yet seen in all his travels. Coming down Woodruff Canyon from Mountain House they made for the banks of the North Fork of the Yuba River, and as they descended the trail they did some prospecting. Even when they reached the flats on the river, which afterwards became known as Goodyear’s Bar, they spent some time searching for “color,” but without any great success. Continuing on up stream for about four miles, prospecting all the way, they finally arrived at a quiet little recess in the forest glades about which the lofty forms of mountains had strung a great protecting barrier. Into this wild garden retreat three branches of the North Fork of the Yuba were gently flowing, making it a most practical spot in which to pitch their tents and settle down. Describing this scene afterwards, in the year 1858 to be exact, Major Downie wrote:
I shall never forget the fascination of that first picture of what we then called “The Forks.” Long willows waved on the banks, pine and spruce trees rose in stately groups where saloons now stand, the hillsides were covered with handsome oaks, their strong branches sheltering the Indian wigwams, and here and there a great monarch of the forest towering above everything.
Strangely enough the Forks proved to be as alluring in its deposits of gold as it was in its wealth of wild beauty. From the very first day that Downie and his men began panning the gravel beds, they were successful. Little by little they began to realize that the whole area where the three little streams came together was so rich in flakes and good-sized nuggets that they took up separate claims, each man staking out an attractive diggings for himself. The story goes that each man struck bonanza. In four days an average sum of $1,000 was panned by every miner, and by Christmas they were so wealthy that they grew impatient to celebrate.
Although the hills were covered with snow, they packed their gold dust safely in their pokes, all but Downie and Devaney, and set out on their return over the old trail, bound for the big cities and a roaring good time. In the meantime the Yuba River rose above its banks, and mining became impossible at the forks, so Downie and Devaney dug in for a season of hibernation. The members of the band, on their departure, had promised to return in the early Spring with stores of supplies for the camp, but the only one who kept his word was Jim Crow, who, in about three months’ time, showed up again, stocked with as much in the line of provisions as could be loaded on the backs of a couple of mules.
News about the discovery of rich diggings up at the forks on the North Yuba River spread rapidly to the rest of the mining country, and by April, 1850, it was estimated that there were about 5,000 miners at work in that region, and all of them doing well. Then began to be opened up such camps as Durgan’s Bar, Zumwaldt’s Bar and Tin Cup Bar, close in by “The Forks,” which by this time took on the name of Downieville.
Little by little more prospectors wandered into Sierra County, and soon new diggings were opened up in all that area both to the north as well as to the south of the North Fork of the Yuba. Two trails led up to the camps in the southern area, one from Camptonville, and another from North San Juan in Nevada County. Some Hawaiians taking the later trail in May, 1850, found gold in a ravine ever after known as Kanaka Creek, and here arose the mining camps of Minnesota, Chip’s Flat and Alleghany, where quartz mining began later on.
But it was in the wide area to the north of the North Fork of the Yuba that the greatest development took place. And the story of the discovery of those mines is redolent with some of the fascination of the fairy tale. Just about ten miles to the north of Sierra City, at the boundary line of Plumas County, there are scores of small clear crystal lakes, fed by snows which annually descend in that rugged wilderness. A prospector named Stoddard, coming down to Foster’s Bar, reported that he had, while hunting there, chanced upon on of those lakes, the shores of which were aglow with golden sands. Great excitement was stirred up, and in the Spring of 1850 hundreds of anxious gold seekers began to take to the trails that led out of Foster’s Bar towards the realm of fancied wealth. After the first band of miners reached the region indicated by Stoddard, they searched long and diligently, but the glittering sands of the “Lake of Gold” were never revealed. When they became satisfied that is was all a grand hoax, the disappointed adventurers tried their hand at prospecting in the surrounding gullies and ravines. Imagine their surprise when they found “color” almost at once. And it was not long until they discovered that every creek bed from Foster’s Bar to the mythical Gold Lake section was a depository of golden promise. And it was not long either until thousands of eager miners were scouring these creek beds in search of the yellow metal.
During the period between 1850 and 1853 all the diggings in Sierra County were in a flourishing condition, well supplied with gaming houses and saloons, which in turn were full of patrons, who in consequence were generally full of ardent spirits and good cheer. There were no courts of law, and records of robberies and murders and lynching, though matching those of other sections of the mining country, have been fortunately obliterated in the shadows of the advancing years. In those days, the refining influence of virtuous womanhood was for the most part absent.
In the meantime Downieville grew as if by magic. By Summer it was estimated that there were not less than 5,000 people there, constantly coming and going. Tent structures prevailed. In 1851 Downieville polled 1,132 votes. Pure gold was now being discovered in the bed of the river in large lumps or nuggets; and the story still persists that in the year 1851 a nugget was found on the banks of the Yuba just above Downieville weighing twenty-six and a half pounds, and worth eight thousand dollars. There was only one street in the town, three or four hundred feet in length, for the mountains, at whose base it lay, were so steep that there was no room for more than one passageway between it and the river. All the miners in camps within eight or ten miles of Downieville depending upon it for supplies, and it was consequently at all times a scene of bustling activity.
It is now the year 1856. Although it was but seven years since the first gold seekers has appeared in the canyons of the North Yuba, the whole area here had been ransacked; every flat and ravine had been prospected. Life was led so fast that already it could show ruins and deserted villages. Hydraulic mining was now the order of the day, and the section of Sierra County from Howland Flat in the north to Alleghany on the south was being worked by many companies in the process of wholesale sluicing. Great gangs of men could be seen operating giant monitors, cutting wide gashes in the hills and ridges. Thirteen miles below was Camptonville, the outskirts of which were flattened and thoroughly washed of thousands of dollars in loose gold; ten miles farther to the south, but over in Nevada County, was North San Juan, with a population of ten thousand, the central supply town for the rich hydraulic operations on the famous San Juan Ridge. Nowhere in California was hydraulic mining undertaken on such a gigantic scale as here. A great network of flumes and canals had been constructed to bring in water for these operations, said to have cost something like five million dollars. Prominent among these fields of gold-bearing gravel deposits were Cherokee, North Columbia, Lake City, and North Bloomfield, were the Malakoff Mine was situated, the most colossal hydraulic excavation in the Sierras. Most of these areas were being mined up to the month of January 1884, when a state law closed them down for good.
A correspondent of the Hutching’s Magazine of San Francisco went to these parts to report on the mining activities, but, instead of giving factual accounts of operations, no doubt bewitched by the superb beauty of his surroundings, he breaks forth into this very romantic effusion:
The sheet of vapor, which hangs in dreamy silence above the brow of the Sierras, descends and gathers its misty mantle about the frail flower which nods to the passing brook. As the morning sun melts the dewy tears, they fall into the stream, and are borne along the restless current. On and on it glides, now struggling over rocks and craggy steeps, now dancing in the sunlight, or kissing the weeping foliage which seeks to span the stream, and now exulting in its liberty – when lo! The bearded miner issues forth from his rude hut and, with implements in hand, forthwith proceeds to chain the trembling drops; and still it struggles, but too soon the fetters are secure, and though it shrinks, yet it is urged on to its debasing destiny. All day it labors, and again as night approaches; but as the tiny globulet surveys itself, how sadly changed! Its face discolored, the luster of its eye is vanished; in disgust it turns away to rest, not on the fair face of the pale flower which cast it on the pitiless world, but to lose its identity among swarthy companions in a neighboring pool.
Often on thinking of the men of the early mining days we visualize them as grizzly specimens of manhood, ranging in age from forty to sixty years, whereas most of them were under forty. In fact we might say that the Americans who precipitated themselves upon California in the pioneer days if not the flower of the United States citizenry, were beings of sterner mould; ambitious individuals in the prime of life, men of imagination, men of dreams, spirits imbued with the highest forms of romanticism and adventure, who came west not so much with the hope of gathering to themselves great heaps of golden treasure as with the desire of reveling in the excitement of discovery, of feeling that thrill we all love to experience, of suddenly coming upon buried treasure – the stuff of which tales like Robinson Crusoe and Ali Baba and Treasure Island are made.
Deep in the heart of the Sierra Hills the picturesque little village of Downieville still flourishes, restored again to the beauty which it possessed when it flashed on the bewildered vision of old Major Downie in the winter of 1849. A goodly number of its inhabitants today are descendants of the pioneers who first panned the flats on “The Forks” for hidden wealth. A traveler wrote in 1857:
Not long ago, in company with Father John McGarry and Father Patrick O’Reilly, the pastor of Grass Valley, two priests who had spent most of their lives in these historic precincts, I paid a visit to this delightful spot. To me it was an experience I shall not soon forget. And yet it was not the enchantment of the forest and river and mountain scenery which thrilled me, so much as the gladsome spirit manifested by these humble folk on meeting once more these kindly men of God, more dear to them than anything else in life. As one of the old-timers whispered to me, when we were leaving, “Like the faithful old Yuba they gave us of their bounty, for their hearts are hearts of gold.”
 By Michael Miller

07/28/2006  11:03AM

There were three reasons I bid the Empire Mine Adit Project. (1) The Sixteen to One was not producing gold and I wanted to keep the crew together in a paying job. At least the Sixteen to One would have miners to do maintenance and some gold detecting. (2) The project was a topic of interest to our mining men, who put effort over an eighteen-year time span to create the project. Local miners were the right ones to open the Empire Its benefit to the Sixteen to One is in its educational value to the public. Mining companies either spin the benefits of mining with a lot of BS, or they completely ignore the responsibility of getting public support for the miners’ work. The Sixteen has suffered immensely because of outside interference from people who do not understand mining. This perception must change if mining is to continue in America. The Sixteen has been proactive with public programs: supports a museum, donates gold specimens to non profits for raffles, teaches boy scouts about mining, talks to school classes, and maintains an informative web site designed for education not hype. (3) The last of the three reasons revolves around the hard work, dedication and skills of our crew. Miners should hold their heads high, whether it is coal, uranium or gold. In a society where the cowboy is an American hero, the miner has not only been lost but also vilified. The Empire Mine draws over 100,000 people annually. Park people hope the new adit will increase attendance. Scoop found a letter that honored the Sixteen to One miner. It is part of of a permanent history.

Interestingly, the Empire job began July 10, 2004, although the bidding occurred in January. In July only three miners (Joe, Reid and Ian ) held onto the belief in and dream of gold at the Sixteen. All the other quit. It was a dark time. I decided to pull the plug and shut it down August first. The men were exhausted and I was concerned for their safety. On July 14, they drilled into a million dollar pocket. The Sixteen to One dodged another setback.

The Empire Mine project has been a very difficult undertaking because of its unusual circumstances: the actions of well meaning Park employees, unfamiliar with the truths of mining and our unfamiliarity with the State of California bureaucracy governing contracts. Nevertheless, we worked through our problems.

If I had to, well let’s imagine some massive social catastrophe or natural disaster happened, if I had to organize and lead a team of people on a difficult mission of survival, miners would be my first choice of comrades. This message permeates many letters I have put in the public domain with State Parks: real miners solve problems as a habit. It is what they do on a daily basis underground in an old mine like the Sixteen or Empire. One last reason Scoop dug it from the archives was the interest we have heard from people about the Empire project. Its topic category on the Forum has been quite for reasons, which will no longer be important once the contract is final.

Thanks for asking.
 By John Yuma

07/26/2006  7:55PM

What does this have to do with the 16:1 mine?

07/25/2006  10:30PM

Letter from Scoop offers up high-grade item from company. Rae is out of office for a week and offered me her computer for research. Well, Scoop found some archives and yes, passes it on to you.

Phil is \State Park Construction Manager.

Letter year not given but guessing 2005 in August.

07/25/2006  10:23PM


Dear Phil,

This letter augments my last response to Parks order to suspend operations. There are unforeseen and unknown conditions that must be evaluated and correct to insure absolute safety for the public. The issue of safety for the miners is no issue. My employees are working in safe and familiar conditions, something we all encounter from time to time while mining in the hard rock mines on the Northern Mines District of California. Therefore the issue must be narrowed to evaluate the circumstances for eventual public use.

I propose the following: MGGM will excavate the spot where old workings first appeared in the approximate center of the adit to eighteen (18) inches below the solid rock floor of the adit from the left rib to the right rib. This will expose the entire footprint of the hole in the adit floor. A removable cover will be installed so as to make the hole accessible for inspection. Work will be allowed to continue. In return the project will be modified to eliminate the outside rail twenty feet beyond the junction of the dual track (switch) planned approximately from the future visitor center. There will be no additional cost to Parks. Our structural engineer will propose a safe method of covering the old workings, working closely with Parks as to material etc. MGGM will install the approved plan on a time and material basis or a bid, once the plan is finalized.

As to the old workings discovered in the far end of the niche, they present no danger to the miners. The opening was quite small and the raise was also quite narrow and small. I believe that exposing the old workings in the adit may shed some light on the workings closer to the shaft. Also according to the miners, the floor rock (or top of the raise) appeared to be six to eight feet thick along the strike of the raise. We can do additional work to examine the old workings in the niche, but such work should be postponed.

What was also unforeseen was the existence of a vein and associated vein structure, which accounts for the old workings in this area of the adit. As Charlie has most likely written, the material is dirt-like (4 to 6 feet wide) with approximately twelve inches of quartz. It is mineralized, but we have not segregated it or gathered any for study or assay. We must install four or five steel sets as the adit passes through the vein. The material has broken to form an arch, which will be supported to the steel lagging. This vein mixes benefits to the Park with the downside of increasing costs; however working in this environment is second nature to all of us. We are experts in small vein mining and have years of experience on site to safely pass through this area in the adit.

Please work with us to continue progress. Regards, MMM

So, MMM, what is going on at the Empire Mine State Park In Grass Valley, California. Scoop is in your archives.
 By John_Feagans

07/13/2006  10:08PM

Family came to Alleghany in 1919. No water bleeding because the underground river hit an earthquake fault. The shafts are all vertical or incline to access the tunnel. My father had three mining claims in Wet Ravine. "Ajax", "Pension", and "Jackpot". They were all quartz claims though two had access to the Blue lead. Ajax had an incline shaft 300' to bedrock. It had an hour-glass passing track in the middle for two ore cars to pass. The pump was a Cornish pump wiht the boiler and steam engine about 10 feet above the creek in Wet Ravine. My father located the tunnel portal in 1938 with his invention a ground sonar which also got him a safe position when he was drafted into the Army Signal corps in 1941. The boat and oars had melted to almost unrecognizable in 1964 when I visited them. "Jackpot" had a vertical shaft to the underground river channel but was never accessible to me. "Pension" was worked in 1910 by two men who folllowed something 100 yards into the hillside as the tunnel was curving back and forth. My father built a cabin and lived a subsistence living mining gold in Wet Ravine until WWII.
 By Rick

07/13/2006  8:21PM

I've been searching the want-ads for one good access portable portal for a good fifteen years now, and not one is to be found. I'd like to move it over to this good ground I've been looking at, certainly promising for exploration, but, alas, I haven't found a good one, even on Craig's List.

Anyone seen a good, portable portal for sale?

07/13/2006  7:54PM

Stories of a tunnel connecting Alleghany to Forest City raise the question, Where are the portals? One geologist studied a 1923 water map and concluded the Alleghany portal was on the bank behind the community park. Another geologist (both have large professional experiences working in the Alleghany Mining District) states there is no tunnel and there never has been. Scoop interviewed four long time Alleghany residents for an answer to, where is the portal? None knew but each remembered stories told by “old timer” of its existence.

Scoop asks you or anyone: Where are the portals? Who drove them and when? Why is no water bleeding from them today?
 By jfeagans

07/10/2006  7:48PM

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the answer. It's hard to keep your eyes on the prize when gold is all over. You may have heard about the rowboat at the bottom of the shaft? It was used to go from Forest City to Alleghany. When the Mugwump was being re-developed, and the Oriental explored in the '60's the water actually got low enough again to see the remains. Legend has it three Chinese miners are entombed in the fallen gravel as well. I tried exploring with a metal dector that I built but only attracted mosquitos and not the gold.
 By Michael Miller

07/09/2006  3:30PM

Answer to the Shaft Question below...

A couple of the guys who broke into underground mining in Alleghany are now doing tunnel work from Atlanta Georgia to San Diego. Tunnels are a billion dollar business, actually billions of dollars each year. (Few mining operations are sinking shafts presently in the United States.) These friends have educated me about the benefits of a vertical shaft over a decline. I have evolved to believe that the costs of operating (hoisting) and maintenance will be less with a vertical shaft at Red Star than the shafts and winzes poked underground in Alleghany. Construction costs will likely be comparable (maybe even less if one of my construction ideas proves out).

With a vertical shaft we can plan exactly where we will end sinking. In the good old days of mining in Alleghany, most of the declines also followed the vein. Therefore the results form an undulating hole. Our vein system takes many twists and dips which ultimately affected the end point. The Red Star sits in the middle of our mining claims, about six miles along the strike of the vein. It will open a large section of new ground. An additional benefit will be the fact that the new Red Star shaft will cut through the Blue Lead. For those unfamiliar with the Blue Lead, it is one of the richest placer deposits ever mined. The placer gold came from the lode that we continue to mine today. This is a very exciting bonus and one that holds much interest. Many accounts have been written about the rich nuggets and quartz boulders laced with gold. It stirs the blood of a gold seeker.

So, what has held the Company back for 100 years from sinking into the Red Star? As the Sixteen to One organization grew, it added attractive targets with each purchase. I have done the same with the Brown Bear in Trinity County and the Plumbago. Before that it was the purchase of the Rainbow, Rainbow Extension and going way back the Tightner. What holds us back now is only the money to complete the shaft plans. Every bit of geology tells us that no greater target exists for the Company and perhaps no greater target exists in the United States.
 By jfeagans

07/07/2006  9:49PM

Hi Michael,

In the late 1930's and 1940's several attempts were made to reach the Red Star veins from Wet Ravine. The first was the 16toOne extension which sunk a vertical shaft and drifted several directions. The second was the Seven Aces which started an incline shaft to intercept where the vein was located. Unfortunately they sank the incline shaft interrupted by horizintal drifts rather than heading for the target. Why a proposed vertical shaft rather than one of these other methods?
 By Michael Miller

01/11/2006  6:35PM


Oil hunters from little wildcatting operations to international corporations have probed the earth. Writers proclaim, “No other phenomenon has changed the lives of Americans more than the “black bonanza”…oil. From its first use as a cure-all medicine to the more than 4,000 products in which it is now used, oil has become increasingly important to our everyday existence.”
No machine Age miracle has changed the lives of Americans more than the Black Bonanza, which dates from 1855, a year in which a quarter of a million eager prospectors were frantically overturning the Sierra Nevada foothills for their share of California’s fabulous Gold Bonanza, which then seemed far more fabulous than petroleum. While Yankees sweated and fought for the precious yellow metal, two Mexican prospectors, General Andreas Pico and his nephew Romulo, were digging pits unnoticed in a canyon north of San Fernando Mission in Southern California. From these pits the Picos scooped up a black, sticky tar which they sold at the mission for healing and illuminating uses. The Picos were completely unaware that they were pioneering an industry destined to change the tempo, the living, the shape, and the size of the world.
One exceptional Forty-niner who may have sensed the importance of the Picos’ oil strike was a New York sperm-oil dealer, George S. Gilbert. While others scrambled for gold, Gilbert was busily devising a crude refinery near Ventura Mission to boil off the vapors of black petroleum from pits in Sulphur Mountain, at the lower end of the same valley in which the Picos mined tar. Gilbert sold the heavy residue of his still as grease for squeaky ox-cart axels, and in 1857 he consigned a hundred kegs of his rock oil to A. C. Ferris of Brooklyn, New York. Unfortunately transporting the keg of oil across the Isthmus of Panama by mule-back power proved so difficult that the muleteers dumped the consignment in the jungle.
Had Gilbert’s oil reached the New York market on schedule, the monument marking the birthplace of the oil industry might well have been on San Antonio Creek in Southern California instead of at Titusville on Oil Creek in Pennsylvania, where Uncle Billy Smith, the blacksmith punched a hole in the earth that was to be this country’s first oil well. That year, 1857, oil was first found at Ploesti, Rumania. At Pittsburgh Sam Kier, the druggist was bottling crude petroleum as “rock oil, celebrated for its wonderful curative powers.” Then came the eventful year of 1859, when the Drake well touched off the Pennsylvania oil stampede, a scramble as wild as was the California Gold Rush.
The men who pioneered the petroleum industry, both in California and in Pennsylvania, wanted crude oil for purposes that seem ridiculous today. “Colonel” Edwin L. Drake and his backers and their oil-mad rivals thought of a barrel of crude oil only as rock oil which could be used “both internally and externally” and for a cheaper source of so-called “coal oil.” At the time illuminating oil was extracted either from whales or from coal, both expensive processes. General Pico likewise was motivated by the belief that “fossil oil” would cure man’s aches and light his nights. Gilbert hit on the bigger idea of lubricants; to get them, he had to boil off the volatile gases, thus percolating into the thin air the most efficient package of power that man would find until the Atomic Age dawned a century later.
The Black Bonanza was overshadowed by the more spectacular California Gold Rush. Men wanted gold because it was the token of wealth. In time the gold they wrested from California’s hills and rivers, roughly 3 billion dollars’ worth, found its way back underground in vaults at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Denver, Colorado. The oil from beneath California’s soils exceeded even the wildest predictions of Professor Benjamin Silliman, Jr., of Yale that it would aggregate “more than all the whales in the Pacific Ocean” could yield.
None of the pioneers of the original Black Bonanza, nor their contemporaries who punched holes for oil in Ohio, West Virginia, New York, and neighboring states, had the slightest notion of what was in a barrel of oil. No early prospector or producer dreamed that each barrel of petroleum flowing out of the earth contained the makings of over four thousand potential products which, within the next century, would change the living of civilized peoples.
Imagine a world without oil.
Nine decades after discovery Reese H. Taylor, president of Union Oil Company, said, “We have just started to unlock the secrets in a barrel of oil.”
Oilmen know that oil is the lifeblood of modern civilization. Their important task is to make that lifeblood even more valuable. To do so under the American system industrialist must compete successfully in the fields simultaneously, for capital for people and for markets. To fail in any one of these fields inhibits success in the other two. This seems like a simple and worthwhile formula, but human nature being as unfathomable as a barrel of oil, or a pocket of gold, calls for some lost or forgotten wildcatting to enable all to realize the prospects unlimited.

Wildcatting for a pocket of gold is a theme and dream worth realizing.
 By mdvaden

11/27/2005  9:32PM

I stumbled upon this forum while searching for info on the Blue Ledge Mine. Apparently it's drain water has affected Joe Creek. There were internet documents pertaining to research at the university in Ashland, Oregon and a geological society meeting in Denver in 2004 about that issue.

My profession involves trees, so forests are an interest. The mine and and acid produced by some is information I'm including on a forestry article on my arborist / landscape web site.

My father is also active with mines from a production / profit standpoint. So he has shared a few things about mines that caught my interest too. Not environmental things - just the methods, tools and means.

On this forum, this thread triggered a seach with this text posted 8-24-2005

"...Development at Alleghany. [Colorado Capital plans big operations.] June 13, 1909- L.A. Times..."

"...In other mother lode counties mines are in full blast.
Southern Californians in the Blue Ledge copper district, Siskiyou County, are opening excellent properties, and recent developments indicate that as soon as the copper market sufficiently improves, the Blue Ledge will rank next to the Shasta belt. At the Blue Ledge mine, large reserves of excellent grade copper have been developed with a smelter installed; the company would be in a position to produce on a large scale. The St, Albans, Bloomfield, Joe Creek, Medford, Copper King and numerous others are also showing well. Several eastern, British and Spokane people are interested. The chief drawback of the district is the lack of adequate transportation facilities..."

I took a hike up there last week. Facinating scenery.

It crossed my mine that there may still be copper reserves in the ground. But that mine may be a touchy one to open for two reasons.

1. It's already affecting a Joe Creek that leads into tributaries of the largest lake of Rogue River National Forest. The toxic pH is limited, but it's obvious even by looking.

2. The Applegate valley apparently has a fanatical group that opposes things - even like a big church springing up in the valley, let alone mining the ground where tailings produce sulfuric acid.

I started a page at my site to tie-in to forest and forestry.

By the way, I'm an arborist, but I'm not a tree hugger. I'm middle ground.

That page is at:


It's on www.mdvaden.com
So much mining has occured here near Jacksonville and Ruch, Oregon, that I may just try my hand at it sometime.

I suppose my dad can help me figure out how to go about it right.

Thanks for letting me join the forum. Hope I have time to get back on.
 By Michael Miller

11/01/2005  11:42AM


Six western governors will participate in the Western Governors Mineral Policies Conference in Sacramento, November 7 and 8 (1955). They include Goodwin J. Knight of California, Charles Russell of Nevada, J. Bracken Lee of Utah, Robert E. Smylie of Idaho, Milward Simpson of Wyoming and Stephen L.R. McNichols of Colorado. Approximately 500 are expected to attend the invitational conference. Governor Knight will give the keynote address. Senator Thomas Kuchel will speak on “Building a Permanent Domestic Mining Industry” and Governor Smylie will speak on “The Nation’s Need For a Strong Mineral Industry”.

In issuing the call for the conference in Sacramento, Governor Knight said:
“The permanent welfare of the mining and mineral-consuming industries in the Western states is strategically important to national defense and vital to the economy of the United States of America.”

This conference was reported in The Mountain Messenger fifty years ago. The need to address Senator Kuchel’s and the Governors’ topics is more important today than much of what both business, government and media people are giving us. The base of our quality of life includes industrial economics. Its basis can be found in mineral extraction, commonly called “mining”. Gold mining, exploitation and America are good words, ideas or concepts. Fifty years ago 500 people gathered in Sacramento to lead the nation in understanding the importance of the welfare of the mining and mineral consuming industries. Would such a conference draw 500 participants today? Likely, no. Help!

News Flash:
We just received word that Barrick made an unsolicited offer to buy Placer Dome for $9,200,000,000. Read past entries.

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 ]


© 2019 Original Sixteen to One Mine, Inc.
PO Box 909
Alleghany, California 95910

(530) 287-3223      
(530) 287-3455

      Gold Sales:  

(530) 287-3540


Design & development by
L. Kenez