Althouse Creek is about 13 miles long; is located in Josephine County and feeds into the Illinois River from the Siskiyou Mountains. A section of the creek it is located about 9 miles east of Waldo. Few places in Oregon produced more placer gold than Althouse Creek, as in the early days miners lined the banks and claimed up every inch of the 10 mile stretch that was claimable. Gold was first discovered in 1852 by a man with name Althouse on the east fork, which gave it it’s name.
Browntown (the original site does not remain) was the mining center for Althouse and the surrounding mining districts in that day. A great number of large nuggets were taken from Althouse Creek as many mines from toiling miners were dug in the adjacent hillsides. So many that the hillside was said to look like a giant woodpecker had swooped down and drilled many holes into the surrounding hillsides. About three miles from Browntown on the Althouse was another town called Grass Flat, which also served as another center for the cattle trade and gold. This area in Josephine county not only had lot’s of miners but had it’s share of farmers and cattle rustlers also. After all the miner’s had to eat, and many found profit in other ways besides a pick, pan and shovel. Before long, power shovels and a dragline excavator were introduced in 1936 and they discovered that the Chinese had drift mined the area in the early days. The dragline could handle 6,000 cubic yards of gravel per day.
Of greater importance in the Althouse drainage area was the Briggs Pocket Mine in the presence of large hydraulic cuts in, or near Allen, Fry, Sailor, Scotch and Waldo Gulches. The Logan Llano de Oro hydraulic cut was opened in 1874 and was worked on and off until 1945. It consumed 30 acres and produced 30,000 ounces of gold, along with some silver, platinum, and osmiridium, from gravels, which contained up to .016 ounce of gold per cubic yard.
The high gravel and deep gravel cuts were made in the same general area during the same time interval. The high gravel cut produced around 5,000 ounces of gold. The deep gravel cut covered 65 acres and produced about 14,000 ounces of gold, from gravels that produced about .0125 ounce per cubic yard. Considerable placer gold remains to be mined in the district. Near Holland, south and half a mile along Althouse Creek, in stream deposits, and in benches you can find gold colors, and nuggets. In the area along Althouse and Sucker Creeks there were extensive placers including the Llano de Oro (Esterly), Deep Gravel, Placerica, and Leonard placers. All of which were very rich, worked by thousands of miners in the 1850’s -60’s.