Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Old Dominion Mine, Santa Ana Mtns.

Looking up the large tailings pile
The rolling crest of the Santa Anas parts often to reveal sweeping views of the Inland Empire, and in the distance, the crenellated  summit of San Jacinto, and the gray tops of Mt. Baldy and San Gorgonio peak above the haze. The dense green chaparral carpet blankets the hillsides, and making all but the most tenacious efforts of walking off the road unsuccessful. Peaking west down Long Canyon, the observer can imagine building this road, through unstable rock and dense undergrowth. At this pass, the Old Dominion Saddle, a commanding view of the San Gabriel Mountains to the north and Lake Elsinore to the South serves as a backdrop to a little-known mining operation that lasted for about fifty years during the first half of the twentieth century.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Garibaldi Mine

The Garibaldi mine can be considered the first major mine in the Wild Rose District. Its earliest deposits were discovered as early as 1874 by Italians Joe and Zeff Nossano, Joe Lanji, and Charles Andrietta. Probably the first Italians in the region, they located eight rich outcrops of silver ore. The Inyo Independent newspaper reported:
Among them is the 'Garibaldi' mine, a very large lode, showing on the surface hundreds of tons of rich ore. An average sample of the ores of this mine, assayed by J. L. Porter, of Cerro Gordo, yielded $238.18 per ton in silver.
This was an impressive silver deposit if the reports were accurate, but little work was done on the claims for  some time. Some of the lodes were assayed up to $1800 per ton. Interestingly, the eastern portion of these deposits was worked by E.M. Bentley, from the Christmas Gift Mine in Nemo Canyon for some time.

Even though little work had been done, interest began to develop and they were heralded as the most promising in the county, and before long a San Francisco company purchased all eight of the Nossano Brothers' claims for a whopping $70,000 dollars in 1875. The San Francisco investors incorporated as the Garibaldi Mining Co, and by April of the next year a 100-foot incline shaft had been sunk along the top of the vein, employing several men to cut tunnels and drifts to tap the ledge. The Superintendent, Irwin, unfortunately decided the ledge had petered out after reaching ore selling for $600 per ton, possibly due to an error in sinking the shaft and digging away from the ore. The mine lay abandoned for some time after this misfortune.