Gold mining in the County of Shasta has produced well over two million ounces of gold since 1880, and an unrecorded amount from 1849 until 1879. Gold was first discovered in Shasta County California on Clear Creek in 1848 by a man by the name of P.B. Reading. Shasta County was one of the primary counties during the initial California Gold Rush, where there was a lot of gold found and is continues to be found to this day. In the French Gulch District, was established the Washington Mine, which is one of the oldest continuously operating gold mines in the United States.
Gold in Shasta County – Other area’s in the county that a producers of gold include Harrison Gulch, near Platina and was/is a lode mine. About five miles north of Redding, near Walker Mine Road, is Iron Mountain also known as Old Diggings. Also check Shasta Creek, Squaw Creek, west of Whiskeytown. Placer deposits have been found in the Sacramento River and many tributaries. Some of which include Cottonwood Creek, and Rock Creek.
A 2 lb. gold nugget was found by Waldo Elmore on his claim in the Flat Creek Mining District in the 1890s. In 1878, a 13 oz. crystallized chunk of gold was taken from the Mad Mule Mine and exhibited at the 1878 Paris Exposition. In 1912. a 19½ oz. nugget and another nugget honeycombed with gold valued at $10,000 was found in Mad Mule Canyon. In 1870, three miners found a 184.5 oz. gold nugget on Spring Creek a short distance below the falls near the Iron Mountain Railway crossing. In 1880, another even larger than the 1st was found about 100 ft. away. A 5 lb. 1 oz. nugget was found in Mad Ox Canyon, and a 7 to 8 lb. lump of gold intertwined with quartz was found in Whiskey Creek, years unknown. In 1851, a 56 oz. gold nugget was found in Whiskey Creek.
Shasta County was not only known for gold, but also as being the single most important county for copper production in the United States and was called heavily upon during World War II. While other places ceased mining production and declared as non-essential, Copper Mining was essential and there was an increased effort to recover copper for the United States, because copper was in short supply. Without the vast reserves in the copper belts of Shasta County, who knows how the war would have turned out. Shasta county’s total copper production is over an astounding seven hundred million pounds of the total amount of copper taken.
A large variety of minerals are found in Shasta County and are a result of many geologic instances going on in the same region. Crammed into this county is part of coastal range, Cascade Range, the Klamath Mountains, the Modoc Plateau, and the Great Valley. Because of this there is a great contrast throughout the county and different minerals. A large coal deposit known as the Mountain Creek Coal Field near Redding, is a good example of the diversity of minerals within the county. Of another note, there are many fossils that can be found in sedimentary deposits in the throughout the county as well. The valley was once covered by water and the valley floor consists of a lot of sand of sedimentary gravels.
When I was a kid, I visited the Shasta City, while visiting famiy, which is located in the Northern Mining District of Shasta County. It was here as a boy that gold mining first sparked my interest. There are many attractions including an old courthouse and mercantile, as well as many other sites. Here is a link to the official site that has directions…..Shasta City There are a lot of things to see such as an old prairie scooner and a lot of exhibits. If my memory serves me well, there was also a place for hanging a noose around a criminals neck.
The following is an excerpt from Free Public information:
Location. This district lies astride the Shasta-Trinity County line in the general vicinity of the town of French Gulch and includes the Deadwood area to the west. It is the most important lode-gold district in the Klamath Mountains.
History. French Gulch was originally prospected in 1849 by French miners, from whom the town received its name in 1856. Clear Creek, which drains the area, yielded large amounts of placer gold at this time. The Washington mine, discovered in 1852, was the first quartz mine worked in Shasta County. From around 1900 to about 1914 the output for the district averaged between $300,000 and $500,000 worth of gold per year. There was some activity during the 1920s and 1930s, and there has been minor prospecting and development work since. The value of the total output of the district is estimated at more than $30 million.
Geology. The district is underlain predominantly by slate, shale, and siltstone of the Bragdon Formation (Mississippian). Copley Greenstone (Devonian) lies to the northeast and south, and, to the southwest, there is quartz diorite of the Shasta Bally batholith. In addition, numerous porphyritic quartz diorite and diorite dikes, locally known as “birdseye porphyry”, occur.
Ore Deposits. The quartz veins usually strike west, with a few northwest exceptions, and range from a few inches to several feet thick. They are predominantly in the rocks of the Bragdon Formation and often occur near or adjacent to the dikes, which apparently have had some effect on the localization of the ore bodies. The latter consist of numerous parallel stringers rather than a single massive vein. Calcite is commonly present in the veins. The ore contains coarse, free gold usually associated with considerable pyrite and smaller amounts of galena, sphalerite, arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, and occasionally scheelite. Numerous high-grade pockets have been recovered here. A number of large ore bodies occur in the district, several of which were more than 1000 feet long.
Mines. Accident, American $300,000, Army Batch, Blue Jay, Bright Star, Brown Bear $15 million, Brunswick $100,000, Calmich, Centennial, El Dorado, Fairview $200,000, Gambrinus $125,000, Gladstone $6.9 million, Henry Clay $100,000 to $300,000, Highland $300,000, Honeycomb, Jacoby, J.I.C., Larry, Mad Mule $1 million, Mad Ox $500,000, Milkmaid and Franklin $2.5 million, Montezuma 7,150+ ounces, Mt. Shasta 8,500 ounces, Niagara $1 million, Niagara Summit, Philadelphia, St. Jude $280,000+, Scorpion 7,140 ounces, Summit $200,000, Sybel $600,000, Three Sisters $100,000, Tom Green, Truscott, Venecia $500,000, Vermont and Montezuma, Washington $2.5 million.
Excerpt from: Gold Districts of California, by: W.B. Clark, California Department of Conservation, Division of Mines and Geology, Bulletin 193, 1970.