In 1903, E.R. Delbridge, the superintendent of The Apollo Consolidated Gold Mining Company, requested an inspection and report on the mine.
The resulting document describes in great detail, an access road, and other improvements such as the boarding house and cottages that housed the employees. The dimensions of the shaft house and blacksmith shop are included.
The mine’s workings are laid out to the foot as well as the geology, type, grade and quantity of ore. The reporter notes how the ore body pinches to an end near the fifth level then suggests a few specific courses of action to relocate it.
I don’t know if Delbridge had the inspection done because the vein petered out but the company told him to close the mine when it did. He returned decades later, possibly to follow the recommendations of the report but he died before he could begin any work.
Now my husband and I have those instructions in our hands.
A second man, F.A. Callen, formed The New California Mining Company and also returned decades after having served as mine foreman in a leasing operation at the California Lode. He and his men attempted to reach the California vein through The Colorado claim near the base of the mountain but ran into legal issues, most likely ending the endeavor. His company dissolved in the mid fifties.
There is a large gap in historical data on the mine itself from 1939 on, aside from records regarding private owners and leases . Sometime during those years, though, the owners of the surrounding claims methodically gained control of the access points to the property, (possibly illegally), and isolated the mine.
As a result, the property settled into silence, the shouts of men, the grinding of machinery, and the percussion of explosions fading with the passage of time.
But faraway someone heard the echoes…
For the first time in years, the sound of voices can be heard from the top of the mountain on some days and certain nights. The sound of hammering too; and it ain’t the Ghosts Of Mining Past.
What compelled not one but two men to return to the mine they’d previously worked – years later? What did they know?
We have a mine to open up.
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