Oregon had been rather heavily traversed by settlers on their way to the more populous coastal
communities long before gold was discovered in the State. Fear of hostile Indians no doubt discouraged many from prospecting the promising-looking mountain ranges and stream channels at any distance from the main immigration routes. It was not until 1852 that gold placers were worked at Rich Gulch in Jackson County and Josephine Creek in Josephine County. The more widely publicized discoveries of placer gold at Griffin Gulch in Baker County in 1861 and at John Day and Canyon Creek in Grant County slightly later triggered an avalanche of prospectors and
miners of sufficient magnitude to eventually establish the gold mining industry in the State.
Other early placer operations were in the Willow Creek country in Malheur County, where several
districts were organized. After the initial period of high production during which the richer placers were exhausted, discoveries of auriferous quartz veins helped stabilize the mining economy. Lode mining began as early as 1859 on the Gold Hill vein in Jackson County; gold-bearing quartz veins were also worked in the 1860’s in the Canyon Creek district, the Eagle Creek district, the Mormon Basin district, and the Baker district. The first boom in Oregon expired about 1870, but it had been strong enough to attract people with diversified talents so that other industries such as farming and cattle raising cushioned the shock. In addition, the gold rush was responsible for the early entry of railroads into the State, and this hastened the growth of cities and provided a more stable economy. Although mining of gold in Oregon was at an all time low in 1965, mining of nickel, uranium, mercury, and a host of nonmetals was flourishing as one of the important industries in the State. Total production of gold in Oregon from 1852
through 1965 was 5,796,680 ounces. This total includes estimates of production before 1900 and data from the U.S. Geological Survey (1904-24) and the U.S. Bureau of Mines (1925-66) for the years 1902-65. Production data for districts are fragmentary, especially where production of several districts was combined in the reports, thus the totals for districts are minima.
Gold was first discovered in eastern Oregon in 1861 in Griffin Gulch in the Baker district, Baker
County. The town of Auburn was soon established as the first settlement and base for exploration. By about 1870 the richest placers were exhausted, but quartz lodes were discovered and developed, although slowly, and by 1900 were substantially productive in the Cracker Creek, Cornucopia, and Sumpter districts. As placer production decreased, Auburn declined, and Baker became the most important town in the county. Production data for Baker County before 1880
were not found. From 1880 to 1899, the county produced $8,958,073 (about 434,850 ounces) in gold. From 1904 through 1957, it produced 747,548 ounces of lode gold, 402,490
ounces of placer gold, and 11,626 ounces unidentified as to source. Total recorded gold production through 1959 was about 1,596,500 ounces; from 1954 through 1959 only a few hundred ounces was produced. Placer mining revived after 1912, and after World War II it was more productive than lode mining. Most of the county’s gold production in recent years was from the Sumpter district placer mines, which were closed in 1955.
BAKER DISTRICT: Production in the Baker district has been chiefly from the placers in Griffin Gulch but this was in the early years and was unrecorded. After 1900 more than half of the gold produced in the district came from lode mines. Production of gold from 1906 through 1959 was 19,825 ounces from lode mines, 10,890 ounces from placers, and 5,437 ounces undifferentiated–a total of 36,152 ounces.
CONNOR CREEK DISTRICT: The Conner Creek district is along the west drainage of the Snake River between lat 44021′ and 44044′ N. and long 117″03′ and 117018′ W. Placer mining began in this district in the 1860’s along Conner Creek, and in 1871 lode gold was discovered at Conner Creek mine. After an estimated maximum production of $2 million in gold, the mine was closed in 1910 and was reopened only briefly in 1915-18. Small amounts of placer gold were produced from the district until 1942. From that time through 1959 there was virtually no production. The district produced about 97,000 ounces of lode gold and about 6,100 ounces of placer gold through 1959.
CORNUCOPIA DISTRICT: The Cornucopia district, between lat 44057′ and 45005′ N. and long 117000′ and 117015′ W., reported very little activity until 1880-85 . Its gold production to 1903 was valued at $1,008,000 (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, 1939, p. 25). Production was fairly steady from 1903 through 1941, but it was only a few ounces from 1942 through 1959. Recorded production from 1907 through 1959 was 255,698 ounces of lode gold, 2,441 ounces of placer gold, and 5,800 ounces undifferentiated as to origin.
CRACKER CREEK DISTRICT: The Cracker Creek district is between lat 44048′ and 44″54′ N. and long 118″03′ and 118017′ W., north of Sumpter. The most important lode in this district and
in Oregon, the North Pole-Columbia, was discovered in 1887, and it produced about $9 million in gold (Oregon Dept. Geology and Mineral Industries, 1939, p. 34). From 1907 through 1959 a total of 189,389 ounces of gold was recorded from the district.
EAGLE CREEK DISTRICT: The Eagle Creek district is between lat 44049′ and 45005′ N. and long 117000′ and 117045′ W., in the southern end of the Wallowa Mountains. The boundaries of this district overlap those of the Cornucopia district, and rightly so, for the gold- bearing gravels of the Eagle Creek district were derived from the Cornucopia stock. Mining began in this district in the early 1860’s when placers along Eagle Creek were worked. Those along Paddy Creek were worked also, but most of the gold production was from lodes and some was a byproduct of copper ore. The Sanger mine, the largest producer in the district, yielded an estimated $11/2 million in gold from auriferous quartz veins. The total early production of the district was estimated at $1,687,400 (about 82,000 ounces) in gold. Total recorded production from 1931
through 1951 was 5,782 ounces of lode gold and 69 ounces of placer gold; from 1952 through 1959, no production was recorded.
GREENHORN DISTRICT: The Greenhorn district is between lat 44033′ and 44044′ N. and long 118025′ and 118032′ W. in Baker and Grant Counties. Both silver and gold veins were mined in the district before 1910. The Bonanza, the chief mine, produced $1 3/4 million in gold before 1904; it operated only sporadically from 1904 through 1916. After 1930 the bulk of production was from placers The total gold production of the district through 1959 was 89,200 ounces from lodes and 10,382 ounces from placers.
LOWER BURNT RIVER VALLEY DISTRICT: The Lower Burnt River valley district, which includes Weatherby, Gold Hill, Durkee, Chicken Creek, and Pleasant Valley, is between lat 44″17′ and 44043′ N. and long 117010′ and 117041′ W., along Burnt River in southern Baker County.
The lode mines in this district were worked in the early 1880’s, and the placers probably were worked earlier. Small production from the Weatherby area was maintained until 1955; however, most of the production was in early days, when no accurate records were kept. Some of the major lode mines were the Gold Ridge, Gleason, Little Bonanza, and Little Hill. Estimates of early lode production total $928,000 in gold (about 45,000 ounces). Total production for the district through 1959 was at least 50,000 ounces of lode gold and 3,500 ounces of placer gold. Production data for placers are reliable only for the period since 1932.
MORMON BASIN DISTRICT: The Mormon Basin (Dixie Creek, Rye Valley, Malheur) district is between lat 44022′ and 44″31′ N. and long 117023′ and 117″40′ W. in southern Baker County and northern Malheur County. As early as 1863 placers were mined in the Rye Valley area and were credited with a production of $1 million in gold. Although quartz veins were known in the district in the early days, their gold production was not significant until after 1900; it was valued at about $21/4, million for the period 1906 to 1916. About half of this was from the Rainbow, the
largest gold mine in the district, and, from 1913 to 1915, the most productive in the State. The district reported only small production from 1915 through 1948, and it was idle from 1949 through 1959. Total gold production through 1959 was about 177,500 ounces from lode mines and 56,200 ounces from placer workings.
ROCH CREER DISTRICT: The Rock Creek district is between lat 44049′ and 45003′ N. and long 118000′ and 118015′ W., 10-15 miles northwest of Baker. The district, discovered in the late 1880’s, was a steady gold producer until 1914, after which activity declined; it was idle in 1959. The principal mine, the Baisley-Elkhorn, produced an estimated $950,000, chiefly in gold.
Estimated early production of the district was $1 million, mostly in gold. Production from 1934 through 1959 totaled 3,282 ounces of lode gold and 193 ounces of placer gold. A conservative total for the district would be about 51,000 ounces of gold.
SPARTA DISTRICT: The Sparta district is between lat 44036′ and 44057′ N. and long 117002′ and 117″23′ W. Although placer deposits were known in the area at an early date, it was not until 1873, when the Sparta ditch was completed, that enough water was available to exploit the gravel-filled gulches which yielded about $157,000 in gold before 1900. Quartz veins were discovered a few years after the discovery of the placers, and from 1889 to 1892 they yielded $677,000 in gold. Shortly thereafter the district declined rapidly, and from 1952 through 1959
it was idle. Total production from the district through 1959 was about 35,200 ounces of lode gold
and about 7,700 ounces of placer gold.
SUMPTER DISTRICT: The Sumpter district, between lat 44037′ and 44″48′ N. and long 118″00′ and 118018′ W., is predominantly a placer district, but there has been a small gold production from quartz veins that cut argillite. Placer deposits were discovered here in 1862, and production was almost continuous until 1955. Records of production before 1932 have not been found, but from 1932 through 1955 the district produced 129,004 ounces of placer gold and 2,206 ounces
of lode gold. No production was reported from 1955 through 1959.
UPPER BURNT RIVER DISTRICT: The Upper Burnt River district, which includes Bridgeport, Bull Run, Unity, and Hereford, is in southern Baker County, between lat 44015′ and 44″36′ N. and long 117035′ and 118″20′ W. It is a large district and includes many localities that have
produced small amounts of both placer and lode gold. Early production data are scant, but apparently some placers were worked before 1900. Total gold production through 1959 was about 9,300 ounces from all sources.
VIRTUE DISTRICT: The Virtue district is between lat 44043′ and 44057′ N. and long 117022′ and 117045′ W. This is predominantly a lode district; placer operations consisted of small-scale diggings in some of the gulches below the veins. The Virtue mine, discovered in 1862, was one of the largest gold producers in eastern Oregon .
Other mines in the district that have produced significant quantities of gold are the Brazos, Flagstaff, Hidden Treasure, and White Swan. The latest production reported from the district was in 1956. Early production of the district was about $2,500,000 in gold (about 121,000 ounces); about $2,200,000 came from the Virtue mine, which had its best years before 1900. Yearly production data for the district go back only to 1935. The total for the period 1935 through 1957
was 4,837 ounces from lode mines and 288 ounces from placers. Total gold production for the district through 1959 was about 126,000 ounces.
Grant County covers much of the southwestern part of the Blue Mountain region of northeastern
Oregon where pre-Tertiary gold-bearing rocks are exposed. The geology of the county, as summarized by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (1941, p. 14-15), includes rocks that range in age from Paleozoic to Tertiary. The oldest rocks are greenstone, argillite, and chert containing small lenses of Permian limestone. Several tens of thousands of feet of Upper Triassic and Jurassic rocks, mostly tuffaceous sandstone, shale, and some limestone, are exposed in the southwest part of the county. The Paleozoic rocks were intruded by peridotite, gabbro, and diorite, and all, including the Mesozoic rocks, were intruded by granodiorite. Tertiary rocks cover much of the county. These are the Clarno and John Day Formations (tuff, lava,
and agglomerate of Eocene age), the Columbia River Basalt (Miocene age), Mascall Formation
(tuffs that overlie the Columbia River Basalt), and Rattlesnake Formation (tuffs and lavas of Pliocene age). Soon after the initial discoveries of placer gold at Griffin Gulch in 1861, discoveries were made at Sumpter and Canyon Creek, and by 1864 nearly all the mining districts of the Blue Mountains area were known. The important gold-producing districts in Grant County were the Canyon Creek, Granite, Greenhorn (partly in Baker County), North Fork, Quartzburg, and Susanville. From 1880 to 1899, Grant County produced $3,022,564 (about 146,000 ounces) in gold. From 1904 through 1957 it produced 77,840 ounces of lode gold, 226,835 ounces of placer gold, and 19,967 ounces undifferentiated as to source. Approximate total gold production through 1959 was 470,600 ounces.
CANYON CREEK DISTRICT: The Canyon Creek district, which is between lat 44011′ and 44030′ N. and long 118045′ and 119″33′ W. and includes most of the drainage area of the
John Day River in Grant County, is noted chiefly for its gold placers along the river Estimated early production from these placers was about $15 million in gold (about 725,000 ounces). Hydraulic operations were conducted in the 1880’s, and dredges were in operation sporadically after 1900. Recorded gold production for the district from 1904 through 1959 was 899 ounces from lode mines, 91,711 ounces from placers, and 504 ounces from undifferentiated sources. Total production was about 818,000 ounces.
GRANITE DISTRICT: The Granite district is between lat 44045′ and 44054′ N. and long 118018′ and 118033′ W., in eastern Grant County. As early as 1862 placer gold was mined from the gravels of Granite Creek, Clear Creek, and Bull Run; in 1874 lode mining became commercially important when the Monumental and La Belleview mines, the most productive lode mines in the district, were discovered. Much of the early placer mining was done by the Chinese, who at one time outnumbered the Americans. From World War II through 1959 the district was virtually idle with the exception of the Buffalo mine which supplied nearly all the lode gold mined in eastern Oregon during that period. The total lode production of the Granite district to be $1,800,000, most of which was in gold and in small amounts of silver. This would represent, conservatively, about 75,000 ounces of gold. Recorded lode production for the district from 1904 through 1959 was 37,250 ounces. Placers yielded $1,033,000 in gold through 1914. Recorded placer production from 1904 through 1959 was 34,080 ounces and total gold production for the district was about 160,000 ounces.
GREENHORN DISTRICT: The Greenhorn district straddles the Baker-Grant County line. The western part of the district, in Grant County between lat 44″33′ and 44045′ N. and long 118018′ and 118043′ W., will be discussed here. The mines in the Greenhorn district reached their peak of productivity between 1895 and 1910. From 1910 until 1942 there was only sporadic activity, and from 1942 through 1959, almost none. Only fragmentary records of early production are available. A total of the estimates of early production of individual mines is $346,000
(about 16,800 ounces) in gold. Recorded production from 1932 through 1959 was 4,829 ounces from lode mines, 4,612 ounces from placers, and 425 ounces undifferentiated as to source.
NORTH FORK DISTRICT: The North Fork district includes the drainage area of the North Fork of the John Day River and Desolation Creek between lat 44045′ and 45000′ N. and long 118015′ and 118055′ W. This is a placer district that dates back to the early 1860’s. The total minimum production to 1914 at $893,000 in gold (about 43,000 ounces); since then, only 1,336 ounces have been reported from the district. The principal mines were the French Diggings
and the North Fork. At the French Diggings both moraine and stream gravels were mined, and at the North Fork a gold-bearing terminal moraine was mined .
QUARZBURG DISTRICT: The Quartzburg district is in eastern Grant County between lat 44028′ and 44″36′ N. and long 118035′ and 118047′ W. In 1862, placers at Dixie Creek were discovered, and shortly afterward lode mines were producing in the district. After the initial boom of placer mining, in which estimated production ranged from $600,000 to $6 million, the
district slowed down to sporadic small-scale activity stated the production from lode mines to 1900 did not exceed $100,000. From 1904 through 1959, the recorded gold production from the district was 954 ounces from lodes, 8,534 ounces from placers, and 624 ounces undifferentiated as to source. Total production through 1959, using the $600,000 figure for the early placer production, was about 45,100 ounces.
SUSANVILLE DISTRICT: The Susanville district is between lat 44041′ and 44047′ N. and long 118″41′ and 118″52′ W.. in eastern Grant County. Most of the production from this district was
from placer mining before 1900. The placers were discovered in 1864, and those along Elk Creek and along the north side of the Middle Fork of the John Day River yielded 9600,000 in gold . These placers were inactive in 1930 . The Badger mine, discovered in the late 1860’s, was the most important lode property in the district, but after several years of successful operation it was closed in 1905, reopened briefly in 1922, and closed again. Most of the recent production from the district was from dredging operations. From 1932 through 1959 the district produced 937 ounces of lode gold and 17,809 ounces of placer gold. Total production through 1959, including the estimated early placer production, was about 48,750 ounces.
The first gold mining in the State was in Jackson County. In 1852, placers along Jackson Creek were worked. Soon afterward placers were discovered along other creeks in the vicinity, and mining of these deposits became a major industry in the county (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, 1943, p. 11). Lode deposits were discovered as early as 1859, but the chief gold production has come from the placers. The major districts in the county are Ashland, Gold Hill, Jacksonville, and Upper Applegate. Much of the gold production from the county was
before 1880, when there were no reliable records of the output; however, combining estimates and recorded data, reported gold production worth $7,110,333 from 1852 through 1912. From 1904 through 1959 the county produced 35,067 ounces of lode gold, 136,030 ounces of placer gold, and 16,787 ounces undifferentiated as to source. Total gold production from 1852 through 1959, including estimates, was about 495,000 ounces.
ASRLAND DISTRICT: The Ashland district is between lat 42001′ and 42011′ N. and long 122″31′ and 122″48′ W., in south-central Jackson County. Mining began here in 1858 when placers were discovered at Forty-nine Diggings. These were highly productive for about 20 years. Lode deposits were worked as early as 1890, and the chief producer was the Ashland mine which yielded about $150,000 in gold from 1892 to 1899. The total production of this mine was estimated to be worth $1,300,000. There was sporadic activity in the district up to 1942, but only a few ounces have been reported since that time. Production of the district from 1933 through 1959 was 1,764 ounces of lode gold and 163 ounces of placer gold. Total production through 1959, including estimates of early production, was about 66,400 ounces of gold. At Forty-nine Diggings, the major placer mine in the district, Quaternary gravels were originally mined, but productive channels were also found later in conglomerates of the Cretaceous Hornbrook Formation . Other placers were in the quaternary gravels along Bear Creek and its tributaries.
GOLD RILL DISTRICT: The Gold Hill district is between lat 42023′ and 42043′ N. and long 122047′ and 123″15′ W., in northwestern Jackson County, and includes the Foots Creek area.
Placers were worked in the district as early as 1853, but the big strike occurred in 1859 when lode
gold was discovered; an estimated $400,000 was mined from the Gold Hill pocket in the first year. The chief lode mines in the district were the Braden, Sylvanite, and Whitney. The lode deposits were important in the early days, but, with the exception of the Sylvanite mine, they were small though rich and were quickly mined out. The placers on Foots, Sam, Galls, Sardine, Evans, and Pleasant Creeks were worked on a fairly large scale for many years. Dredges and hydraulic methods were in use from the early days until as late as the early 1940’s (Oregon Department of
Geology and Mineral Industries, 1943, p. 42). The district was active on a small scale as recently as
1957. Complete early production data could not be found. Parks and Swartley (1916, p. 109, 193) reported that total production from the Gold Hill pocket was at least $700,000 in gold, and the Revenue pocket is said to have produced $100,000 in gold. From 1908 through 1959, scattered production data totaled 2,847 ounces of lode gold and 35,021 ounces of placer gold. Total gold production through 1959, including the estimated early production from the Gold Hill pocket, was a minimum of 80,000 ounces.
JACRSONVILLE DISTRICT: The Jacksonville district is between lat 42011′ and 42023′ N. and long 122045′ and 123003′ W., in the Bear Creek valley. Medford is the chief town in the district.
The initial gold discoveries in Oregon were made in this district in 1851 on Jackson Creek, and mining began the following year. The placers were profitable until about 1870, after which the Chinese worked the lower grade gravels that remained. In the 1930’s the old placer workings were dredged (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, 1943, p. 132). Quartz veins were discovered in the 1860’s; the chief mines were the Town and the Opp. The lode deposits of this district are similar to those of the Gold Hill district in that they are extremely rich pockets of auriferous quartz which can be mined out in a short time. With this type of activity it is difficult to keep production records; consequently, estimates must be accepted in lieu of factual data.
Early placer production from the Jacksonville district is also unrecorded. J. T. Pardee credited the Town pocket with a production of at least $100,000 in gold, and Winchell credited the Opp mine with production of at least $100,000. The district was fairly active up to 1942; thereafter, production decreased and remained very low through 1959. Production of the district from 1904 through 1959 was 7,090 ounces of lode gold and 9,172 ounces of placer gold. The district probably yielded a minimum of 26,000 ounces, including the early estimates of the Opp and Town mines, and possibly twice that much, if the early unknown placer production is included.
UPPER APPLEGATE DISTRICT: The Upper Applegate district is in southwestern Jackson County between lat 42001′ and 42020′ N. and long 123000′ and 123015′ W. This was predominantly a placer district. Placers first were discovered along Forest Creek, and the
district was organized in 1853. The original discoveries were soon worked out, but other rich placers were found along Ferris Gulch, and Althouse, Humbug, Keeler, and Sterling Creeks. Hydraulic methods were introduced in the early 1880’s; the Sterling mine, with an estimated
early production of $3 million, was one of the most successful of the hydraulic mines. Other large producers were the Layton, Pearce, Spaulding, and Old Sturgis mines. More recently draglines were used in this district. Only one lode mine, the Steamboat, was commercially important; before 1869 it produced $350,000 in gold from gold-quartz veins in altered andesite. Early production data are fragmentary, but the estimates from the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (1943) give a minimum of 165,000 ounces of gold before 1905. From 1904 through 1959 the district produced 2,135 ounces from lodes, 45,900 ounces from placers, and 779 ounces undifferentiated as to source. Total production through 1959 was about 210,000 ounces.
Josephine County has been one of the leading producers of gold in Oregon and has yielded significant amounts of the State’s chrome and copper output. Gold was found on Josephine Creek as early as 1852, and the following year additional discoveries on Althouse Creek precipitated a rush during which prospectors spread throughout southwestern Oregon. Hydraulic methods were introduced as early as 1856 to mine the placers. As in many other mining camps, the depletion
of the placers in Josephine County led to the search for lode deposits. By the early 1860’s quartz mines were active in the Grants Pass district, and some-what later, in the Galice, Greenback, and Waldo districts. From 1852 to 1900 the annual production of gold in the county exceeded $450,000, or a total of about $21,600,000 (about 1,048,000 ounces) for those years. From
1901 through 1959 the county produced 187,913 ounces of gold. Total gold production from 1852
through 1959, including Diller’s estimate, was about 1,235,000 ounces. The major gold-producing districts in Josephine County are the Galice, Grants Pass, Greenback, Illinois River, Lower Applegate, and Waldo.
GALICE DISTRICT: The Galice district is between lat 42028′ and 42044′ N. and long 123028′ and 123054′ W., in the northwest corner of Josephine County, and includes the Mount Reuben district in this report. Placer mining began in this district along Galice Creek in 1854. By the 1880’s the richer deposits were mined out and Chinese took over many of the operations (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, 1942, p. 16). The Old Channel and the Benton mines were among the important gold producers in southwestern Oregon. The Old Channel mine, about 1 mile west of Galice, was first worked in 1860 and was one of the largest, if not
the largest, hydraulic mine in Oregon (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries,
1942, p. 48-59). The workings were in a gravel terrace about 600 feet above the Rogue River. The
Benton, a lode mine in the Mount Reuben area, was located in 1893 and was worked until 1905. It was reopened in 1936 and closed again from 1942 through 1959. During 1940 and 1941 the Benton was the largest underground mine in southern Oregon (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, 1942, p. 17). Other important mines in the Galice district were the Almeda, Gold Bug, Oriole, Black Bear, and Robertson. The periods of greatest production from the quartz mines were from 1900 to 1910 and from 1939 to 1942. The district was practically inactive from 1951 through 1959. The Galice district produced about $5 million in gold to 1913. From 1914
through 1959, gold production included 16,600 ounces from lode mines, 7,258 ounces from placers, and 1,941 ounces undifferentiated as to source. Total production, including estimates of
GRANTS PASS DISTRICT: The Grants Pass district is in east-central Josephine County between lat 42024′ and 42035′ N. and long 123015′ and 123035′ W. Included within this district are the Jump off Joe Creek, Rogue River, Winona, and Merlin camps. The earliest mining was along Picket and Jump off Joe Creeks several years after the discoveries along Josephine Creek in 1852. Although records are scanty, apparently this district was not important until lode quartz mining began in the 1890’s. The major lode mine was the Daisy or Hammersley. Some of the important
placer mines were along Jump off Joe Creek, the Rogue River, and the Dry Digging at the town of
Grants Pass. The district was sporadically active through the 1930’s, but only a few mines were in
operation in 1942 (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, 1942, p. 66). From 1951 through 1959 only a few ounces was reported from the district. Estimates of early lode production credit the Granite Hill mine with $65,000 in gold, the Daisy with $200,000, and the Baby with $20,000. Incomplete production data for the district from 1904 to 1932 total 5,218 ounces. From 1932 through 1957 the district produced 540 ounces of lode gold and 6,087 ounces of placer gold. Total production through 1959, including the estimates of early production, was about 22,000 ounces.
GREENBACR DISTRICT: The Greenback district, which includes Graves, Wolf, and Coyote Creeks, is in the northeast corner of Josephine County, between lat 42037′ and 42043′
N. and long 123016′ and 123028′ W. The date of gold discovery in this district is unknown, but placers along Graves and Wolf Creeks probably were discovered in 1860 and were productive through the 1940’s. In the late 1890’s and early 1900’s, lode mines such as the Greenback, Dorothea, and Livingston were discovered, and they exceeded the placers in production. For some time in the early 1900’s the Greenback mine was regarded as the largest producer in southwest Oregon. After the 1930’s, however, production from placers was much greater than that from the lode mines. From World War II through 1959 the Greenback district produced only 100 to 200 ounces of gold annually. Records of early production in the Greenback district do not exist and estimates are fragmentary. The Dorothea mine produced $50,000 in gold, and the Livingston, $20,000 (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, 1942, p. 101, 110). reported early production of $400,000 from placers along Graves Creek. Total recorded production for the district from 1904 through 1959 was 37,062 ounces–2,001 ounces from lode mines, 28,853 ounces from placers, and 6,208 ounces undifferentiated. Total gold production through 1959, including Winchell’s estimate of early placer production from Grave Creek, must have been at least 55,000 ounces.
ILLINOIS RIVER DISTRICT: The Illinois River district is along the west boundary of Josephine County between lat 42013′ and 42″29′ N. and long 123038′ and 124005′ W. Placer mining was reported as early as 1852 in the gravels of Josephine Creek, a tributary of the Illinois River, but
records of early production are so fragmentary that the early output from the district is uncertain. Scattered data attribute 2,006 ounces to the district from 1904 to 1932 (U.S. Geological Survey, 1904-24; U.S. Bureau of Mines, 192532). From 1932 through 1959 the district produced 327 ounces of lode gold and 3,670 ounces of placer gold. Total recorded production through 1953 was 6,003 ounces, but the unrecorded early production must have been at least 5,000 to 10,000 ounces. There was no recorded production from 1954 through 1959.
LOWER APPLEGATE DISTRICT: The Lower Applegate district is in southeastern Josephine County between lat 42007′ N. and long 123015′ and 123036′ W. The recorded production of this district from 1904 through 1959 was only 4,180 ounces and does not warrant its inclusion in this report; however, as placers were mined along Williams Creek soon after 1852 and through the 1870’s, it seems logical to assume a total production of well over 10,000 ounces. Most of the production was from placers, but lode mines were discovered as early as 1860 and were
active on a small scale until 1950. The major lode mines were the Humdinger, Oregon Bonanza, and Porcupine. The most productive placers were along Williams, Slate, and Oscar Creeks and Missouri Flat.
WALDO DISTRICT: The Waldo district is in southern Josephine County between lat 42″00′ and 42″10′ N. and long 123″30′ and 123″50′ W. Placers have been the mainstay of this district;
however, there are a few lode mines, and some gold is produced as a byproduct from some of the copper mines. Placers were discovered along Althouse Creek in 1853 and were
developed mainly by a group of sailors who constructed a long ditch to carry sufficient water to
work the placers. By 1901 production declined, but the district was rejuvenated shortly afterward when hydraulic mining enabled substantial economical production from lower grade gravels. The district was active until 1942, but from then until 1959 it was virtually idle. Shenon (1933b, p. 179) estimated a total minimum placer gold production of $4 million (about 194,000 ounces) up to 1932. From 1932 through 1959 the district produced 1,228 ounces from lode mines and 18,614 ounces from placers. Total production through 1959 was about 213,800 ounces. The principal placer mines were the Llano de Ore, Deep Gravel, and Platerica mines. The Queen of Bronze copper mine, whose total production was valued at more than $1,350,000, yielded ore containing from 0.04 to 0.44 percent gold and 5.16 to 16.33 percent copper .
Lane County has been a relatively small gold producer even though mining of the precious metals
began as early as 1858 and continued in a desultory fashion through the 1940’s. Most of the gold has come from veins in the Bohemia and Blue River districts. Total recorded gold production of Lane County from 1880 through 1959 was slightly more than 46,000 ounces. Considering that mining began in 1858, it seems reasonable to assume that at least 50,000 ounces of gold was produced.
BLUE RIVER DISTRICT: The Blue River district is in Lane and Linn Counties, between lat 44″10′ and 44″20′ N. and long 122″10′ and 122″25′ W. The Lucky Boy mine, the only large producer in
the district, was discovered in 1887. Gold production from the district was estimated to be worth
$50,000 to $100,000 before 1896, and it was 7,728 ounces from 1896 to 1924. Only 44 ounces was reported from the district from 1924 through 1959. The total production, using the lower estimate of Callaghan and Buddington, was about 10,200 ounces.
BOHEMIA DISTRICT: The Bohemia district is 35 miles southeast of Cottage Grove between lat 43035′ and 43045′ N. and long 122035′ and 122045′ W. on the divide between the Umpqua and Willamette drainage systems. The district was discovered in 1858, and some ore was mined until 1877, when the mill closed and the district became inactive. In 1891 there was a revival of activity that continued until about 1912. Since then, activity has been somewhat sporadic. There was no recorded production from 1952 through 1959. The entire gold production of 14,591 ounces in
Lane County from 1880 to 1900 is credited to the Bohemia district. From 1902 through 1930 the district produced 13,695 ounces, and from 1931 through 1959 it produced 10,270 ounces of lode gold and 81 ounces of placer gold. Total recorded gold production through 1959 from the district is 38,637 ounces.
Considerable gold has been produced from the Malheur district, in northern Malheur County, and
from the Mormon Basin district which extends into Baker County. As might be expected, early production from such border-straddling districts was reported with little consideration for geography; however, it is fairly certain that the bulk of the Mormon Basin output was from the part of the district in Baker County. Gold production data for Malheur County are complete from 1904, but data on district production before 1932 are fragmentary. From 1904 through 1959 Malheur County produced 13,522 ounces of lode gold and 13,860 ounces of placer gold. More than one-third of this came from the Mormon Basin district.
MALHEUR DISTRICT: The Malheur district is about 10 miles west-south-west of the Mormon Basin district in northern Malheur County. Information on this district is fragmentary. The district’s greatest production was in 1875, just after the completion of the Eldorado ditch which pro-
vided sufficient water to mine the gulch gravels on a fairly large scale. Production for that year was
$150,000 in gold. No further mining was reported until the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. From 1932 through 1942, the district produced 36 ounces of lode gold and 2,277 ounces of placer gold.
From 1942 through 1959 no production was reported. The minimum total production for the district through 1959, including Lindgren’s report of $150,000 for 1875, was about 9,600 ounces of gold.
MORMON BASIN DISTRICT: The Malheur County part of the Mormon Basin district produced 4,133 ounces of lode gold and 5,199 ounces of placer gold between 1904 and 1959, but before 1932 not all the annual production was reported. from 1952 through 1959, no gold production was reported from the district