Gold Mining in Oregon
Gold mining activity has been very important in Oregon. Auriferous gravels were discovered in the state shortly after gold mining began in California. Gold was discovered in Josephine County in 1851and placer mining was actively carried on along the Applegate, Illinois, Josephine and Galice rivers. Coarse gold was obtained during 1851-1855.much of the gold subsequently obtained from mining operations came from the ancient river channels, the occurrence being similar to that in California.
The Bohemia mining district of western Oregon was discovered in August, 1855. The region was named after James Johnson, called Bohemia Johnson, who with George Ramsey explored it by way of the North Fork of the Umpqua River and Steamboat and city creeks in 1863. The free gold was soon exhausted in 189. The discovery of gold in the Blue Mountain did not occur until the fall of 1861, when it was found by a prospector named Griffin, who with others was prospecting the Powder River and its tributaries. The Discovery was made in Griffin Gulch southwest of Baker City.
The rich placers of Auburn were located in the following year by D. Littlefield and others, while prospecting in the neighborhood, and in the same year the John Day’s River placers were discovered. Quartz mining followed soon after the Virtue mine discovered in 1862. Ten years later the Connor Creek mine was located. Lack of facilities in transporting supplies and ore was responsible for the slow development of quartz mining, and it was not until about 1885 that the mining industry took a new life, owing to the construction of the transcontinental railroad. In 1886, several values discoveries were made in the Eagle Creek Mountains at a point near Cornucopia. The Snow and Puebla Mountains, extending from Nevada into the south-eastern corner of Oregon, were some extend of gold-bearing.
The Annieor Noonday mine was located and opened in 1892. The gold beach deposits of Oregon were among the richest on the Pacific coast, the two most important locations were at the mouths of the Coquille and Rogue rivers. The former is in the south-western part of the state, the gold occurring with platinum, while the latter were once among the richest placers in the state. The main gold mining sections in 1892 were in the south-western part of the state, Baker and Union counties were the most progressive. At this time the Monumental, a silver mine, Baker County, was the only one equipped with a stamp mill. Nevertheless, the Champion installed a 10-stamp mill in 1895. The production of gold and silver showed a marked decrease, which was followed in 1896 by an increase in gold production due to the Baker City mines and the quartz and gravel mines of the southern part of the state.
Considerable development work was done in the Sumpter district during 1902, which is one of the richest districts in the state. In 1904, interest was centered principally in the Cornucopia camp some 60 miles east of Baker City. During this year attention was turned to placer mining in southern Oregon.