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Entries Tagged ‘Coyote Creek’

Coyote Creek, Golden Oregon

Near the town of Wolf Creek (a town so-named for the creek that runs through it, also known for gold) is a small ghost town known as Golden, Oregon. It is easy to find and not far from I-5 in northern Josephine County. I recently took a trip to see for myself  this historical mining site on December 20, 2010.

Coyote Creek

Coyote Creek

Coyote Creek was first settled and mined around the 1840’s by white prospectors. The gold was very fine and made it hard for the men who worked the area to make a decent salary. When news of other strikes reached those working the  diggings, the area was abandoned for other areas including new strikes in Idaho. When white men left there were around thirty primitive cabins perched on upper Coyote Creek. Most miners did not stay long because it was a hard living.

Golden Oregon

Edwin Waters at Golden, Oregon

For ten years, from 1862-1872, Chinese worked the area.  Five Hundred Chinese men had moved into the area under the supervision of a contractor who had possession of the claims. The Chinese laborers made ten cents per day plus rice. Don’t feel too sad for the Chinese. This was actually a decent living at the time. A lot of gold was reported to be recovered by the Chinese, until they were driven out by white men who returned to the area in 1872.

Golden, Oregon

Golden Oregon

Merchantile at Golden

White men returned to the area and started using hydraulic means to recover the fine gold. William Ruble was struck at how efficient the process was and bought up most of the land around Coyote Creek. In 1879, large parcels of land was sold to William Ruble, both a minister and a miner. His family was struggling, so he decided to build a town. Golden was first called Goldville. The first post office was established in 1896 with Schuyler Ruble as the first postmaster. William Ruble is known to have stated “You know there is gold right under your feet , but without a more powerful way to extract it your dream will die.”

The Ruble’s could not move soil fast enough to make a profit and during the summer when the water levels dropped they could not work at all. Rather than giving up William and Schuyler Ruble invented and patented an invention known as the Ruble Rock Elevator, which increased gold production.

Golden is reported to have been a town with a population of as many as two hundred souls and there was no drinking allowed. It was a close knit and religious community. In 1900 the Bennett store was erected and in 1915 a stamp mill was built. The post office closed in 1920.

The town of Golden is now owned and managed by the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation. The former mining area has been transformed into a natural wetland and is owned by Josephine County. I do not know if you are allowed to mine at Coyote Creek. The town itself is registered as a historic site.

Golden Oregon Church

Grave Creek – Oregon Gold Locations

Grave Creek (Mostly resides in Josephine County)and it’s tributaries have produced placer gold up to the present time. The largest dredging operation in Josephine County was conducted between 1935 and 1938 on the south side of Grave Creek east of Leland. Bedrock became too deep for the dredge to clean and operations terminated, rather than re-outfit the rig with new customized parts that could do the job.  An undisclosed, but significant amount of gold was recovered. Butte Creek, Coyote Creek, Dog Creek, Poorman Creek, Shanks Creek, Tom East Creek, and Wolf Creek were important gold producing tributaries.

The picture famous Grave Creek covered bridge

The picture famous Grave Creek covered bridge

Tom East Creek, which drains the area of the Greenback Lode Mine, produced over 25,000 ounces of placer gold after 1897. A dragline excavator was used for awhile on Coyote Creek east of the village of Wolf Creek. Considerable placer gold remains to be mined in the region. Northeast of Grants Pass about 18 miles and 5 miles East of I-5 at Grave Creek bridge, in the Northeast part of the county from Winona to King Mountain, the Greenback Tri-County District can be found (A group of lode gold mines along adjacent boundaries of Douglas County and Jackson County).Along Grave Creek and tributary Coyote Creek and Wolf Creek; extensive placers are found, especially for gold dredging on the south side of Grave Creek. Upstream from Leland you will find the largest operations County history.

grave-creek-map

Grave Creek is roughly about 30 miles long and is a tributary of the Rogue River. Grave Creek starts near Cedar Springs Mountain just north of the Douglas County/Jackson County border and flows approximately southwest through Jackson County and Josephine County to its confluence with the Rogue River.

  
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