The Greenhorn Mountains are found in the middle of the Umatilla National Forest. The area extends both Grant and Baker Counties. Gold was first discovered in 1864 on Olive Creek, where gold was found in decomposed quartz. The elevation in this area is high and many miners faced snow and hard long winters. In it’s heyday around 1,500 miners lived in the area and worked the many streams and creeks for placer deposits. Once these deposits were worked down, lode deposits were sought out and lode mining began. The lode gold in this area was primarily found in quartz veins.
One of the gold mines in the area was known as the Virginian Mine, which was reported to have had a pocket of quartz gold worth approximately $70,000 at that time. Other mines in the area were: the Morning Glory Mine, Phoenix Mine, Golden Gate Mine, Humbolt Mine, Gold Coin Mine, Don Juan Mine, Royal White Mine, Golden Eagle Mine, Black Hawk Mine, Rabbit Mine, Worley Mine, I.X.L. Mine and Red Bird Mine. These oregon gold locations are all found around the town of Robinsonville and the Greenhorn area. The Worley Mine was reported has one of the richest mines with it’s gold ore being estimated at $1,100 a ton.
The ghost town of Greenhorn City, or Greenhorn is located in both Grant and Baker County has it straddles the county lines. Although not easy to get to in the winter it is a good place to get out your metal detector. Miners first came to Old Greenhorn in 1864 or 1865 for the prospect of gold. Ten years later the town was relocated as just a mining camp. The town was incorporated in 1903. At that time Greenhorn was the highest town in the State of Oregon, with it’s county seat being in Baker County. The location on the map above is the newer location since it lasted much longer and is still referred to; just Greenhorn. Robinsonville is located one mile to the east of Greenhorn. Mining laws prohibited Chinese from gold mining anywhere in the area. The area is mainly known for it’s underground mining, and like most mining towns, Greenhorn went extinct during World War II, but ironically still has a mayor.