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Entries Tagged ‘oregon gold locations’

Briggs Creek – Oregon Gold Locations

Briggs Creek is not to be confused with the Briggs Pocket Mine, as they are not even close to one another. Briggs Creek is located on the western side of Josephine County. It is located in the Illinois District and had a total production  from 1852 to 1953 of 5,000 to 10,000 ounces of Oregon placer gold. That is a estimate. Upper Briggs Creek Valley, in section 7, of township 36S and range 8W, you will find the Barr Mine. This was a rich placer operation.

Along lower Briggs Creek, in the area of Red Dog Creek and Soldier Creek, there are some very rich placer gold prospecting locations. On the Northwest side of Briggs Creek, in section 24, of township 36S, and range 9W, you will find the Elkhorn placers, which were very productive.

Placer gold was discovered in Briggs Creek and it’s tributaries in 1852 or 1868 (conflicting accounts), and over 5,000 ounces of gold was recovered from the drainage area. This includes Onion Creek, Red Dog Creek, Secret Creek, Swede Creeks, as well as Briggs Creek itself. The upper part of Briggs Creek, below the Barr lode mine, was especially rich with that Oregon Gold.

Applegate River – Oregon Gold Locations

The Applegate River - Oregon Gold Location

The Applegate River - Oregon Gold Location

The Applegate River rises in Jackson County and empties into the Rogue River west of Grants Pass. Most of the placer gold deposits are found in tributaries such as Board Shanty, Caris, Miller, Grays, Oscar, Slate and Williams Creeks. Williams Creek, and it’s tributaries, Bamboo and Whiskey Gulches, were extensively worked. The Layton Hydraulic pit south of Provolt was a important producer. Oscar Creek was worked with a power shovel  and was noted for it’s large Oregon nuggets that it produced. Cans, Miller, Rocky and Slagle Creeks converge to form a rich placer area at Missouri Flat near the Jackson County line. The total placer gold production  along the Applegate River was well over 20,000 ounces.

Many spots on the Applegate River show bedrock exposed.

Many spots on the Applegate River show bedrock exposed.

The Applegate River stretches 51 miles long rising from California and stretches into both Josephine and Jackson Counties in Oregon.

Althouse Creek – Oregon Gold Locations

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.

Althouse Creek

Althouse Creek

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.

Grass Flat Cabin

Very old cabin near Grass Flat

Browntown Oregon

The site where Browntown once stood.

Althouse Oregon

Althouse, Oregon during the 1890's

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.

Holland Oregon

Holland store on the right and hotel on the left. The store is still standing today.

Gold and Geology of Josephine County

josephine-county-map

Lode Gold

The geology of  Oregon gold locations in the southwestern part of the state is complex and not fully understood, being closely associated with plate tectonics and crustal subduction. Numerous gold-quartz veins can be found in greenstone of the Triassic age (248 – 208 million years ago), which trends in belts from the southwest to the northwest parts of Josephine County. Black slate , peridotite, and serpentine of Jurassic age sometimes contain gold-quartz veins and tend to parallel the greenstone belts. Granite, diorite, and gabbro intrusive bodies can be found in many parts of the county, but are generally devoid of mineralization except where they are in contact with older rocks. Josephine County is noted for past chromium, copper and nickel production as well as gold, and exploratory work for nickel continues to this day.

The most productive lode gold mine was the Greenback Mine, which produced approx. 175,000 ounces of gold from a persistent quartz vein in greenstone. It was sunk to an incline of 1,000 feet on 12 levels. The Benton Mine was developed in gold-quartz veins in greenstone near the contact with intrusive diorite and produced 18,500 ounces of gold. The nearby Gold Bug Mine produced 37,500 ounces. Numerous other lode mines produced  between 1,000 and 13,000 ounces of gold, primarily in the period between 1893 and 1942.

Pocket Gold

Josephine County is noted for rich pockets of gold close to the surface. Some of these pockets were fabulously rich, though they were mined out quickly. The best known pocket diggings was in the Briggs Mine near the California line, where masses of gold totaling 2,000 ounces were taken out in 1904. Slabs of gold up to 3 feet in length were reportedly recovered.

Nuggets

A number of nuggets the size of chicken eggs have been found in placer gravels and pocket deposits. A 17 pound nugget was found in 1859 on the East Fork of Althouse Creek below the Briggs Pocket. Another nugget weighing 15 pounds was found in the gravels near the Esterly hydraulic cut in the early 1860’s. Despite the abundance of nuggets in Josephine County, most gold recovered in placer mining operations is fine flakes.

Placer Gold

Placer gold was discovered in 1850 and simple hand mining methods commenced in 1852. Before long, hydraulic methods were introduced and a number of deep cuts were made in the landscape. Placer gold can be found in stream channels, in bench gravels, and in terrace gravels up to 600 feet above the present stream levels. Old channels can be found in terrace gravels, some of which are rich. Gold is generally found at or near fractured or decomposed bedrock. Some of the bench and terrace gravels are cemented. Boulders are common in many stream gravels, and most gravels range from a few feet to over 50 feet in thickness.

Power shovels, dredges and dragline excavators were introduced around the turn of the century and were used up to 1952. Since 1960, individuals with portable suction dredges have found considerable gold in Josephine County and Jackson County to the east. Most placer work is done between February and September when streams contain sufficient water.


Canyon City – Oregon Gold Locations

Canyon City has a wonderful history behind it, and better than that it has gold! Gold was first discovered on June 7, 1862 on a stream near the John Day River. An estimate of twenty six million dollars worth of oregon gold was taken from the area. Please keep in mind that these were not based on the present price of gold. In 1862, gold sold for just around twenty dollars an ounce and held pretty steady for two hundred and seventeen years at that price.

Whiskey Gulch and Canyon Creek was estimated to be one of the most concentrated places of gold in one place within the whole State of Oregon. At it’s peak, the area produced five million dollars worth of gold per year. Humbolt drive, the area between the present day town’s of John Day and Canyon City was once priced at five hundred dollars a square yard. It is said that a single pan could hold as much as seven ounces of gold. Much more history can be found at the current day museum located at Canyon City.

Many other mining towns sprang up around the area and this is a good area to start looking for that Oregon Gold.

canyon-city-john-day-map

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