Galice Creek (located in Josephine County) and its tributaries were important placer gold producers, especially in regard to the “Old Channel Mine” gravels which form a terrace to the west of the creek and 600 feet above it. Placer gold was discovered on Galice Creek in 1854, and significant amounts of gold were produced. The Old Channel hydraulic pit on the high terrace was started in 1860 and ultimately became almost 2,000 feet wide and 100 feet deep, the largest such pit in the State of Oregon. It is reported that over 50,000 ounces of gold were produced from the pit. The gravels averaged about .007 ounce of gold per cubic yard and a lot of good ground remains to be mined.

New Information as of 11/14/2017: “Richard Thomas McNicholas was a one time owner of the Channel Mine. According to him, the clean up averaged $0.98 per yard.  The sluice boxes were 5 miles long and railroad ties were used for riffles.  They were shut down when the law passed to do away with big giants.  My father and his sister would snipe in the sluices for nuggets.  At the time it was considered the largest placer Goldmine in the world. You should consider that Gold was $20.00 per oz.  I do not know how many yards they were running per day.  Likely thousands since they were washing down boulders as big as a house.” – Harry McNicholas, sent via Oregon gold contact form.

Old Channel Mine

Old Channel Mine

If you see this sign you will know your in the right place.

If you see this sign you will know your in the right place.

There are a number of old lode gold mines in the Galice district, and those mineralized zones supplied most of the placer gold deposits found in the area. The Galice district, including Mount Reuben, had a total production of around 268,000 gold ounces. The local placer operations include the Ankeny Mine, Courtney Mine, Carnegie Mine, California-Oregon Mine, and Last Chance Mines.

galice-creek-map

The hillside just West of the Galice Range (approximately 1/4 to 1/2 miles wide, extending 4 miles to the Southwest), patches of gravel benches about 500 feet above present day streams as dissected by tributaries of Galice Creek there is placer gold. The “High Bench Gravels” along both sides of the Rogue River are gold bearing, but not much worked at this time. Downstream you will find the Dean and Dean placer Mine, and the Rocky Gulch placer Mine. In Hellgate Canyon, the Hellgate placers, were very productive. Along Galice Creek there are many rich placers. The Chinese also worked in the area.

Near these sites: If you go 21 miles Southwest of Glendale in Douglas County, in section 22, 23, and 27 of Township 33S and Range 8W, you will find the Benton Mine, near Mount Reuben. It was found in 1893 and is the largest underground mine in Oregon. It was closed in 1942. The Almeda Mine, Gold Bug Mine, Oriole Mine, Black Bear Mine, and Robertson (Bunker Hill) Mines, were important producers of lode gold in the area.

Miners Cabin

Miners cabin on Galice creek

Galice Creek

Galice Creek