|Pilot Mining District (Eddyville)|
N38.31909 W117.96483 Eddyville, NV Quad
|VISITED||September 5, 2015
Our Breakfast: Eggs 'n' such at the Country Sunflower, Yerington
Our Lunch: Too full from breakfast
Our Dinner: Pizza at Round Table in Yerington
Take US 95 south from Fallon for 105 miles; head generally east on local road for 5.7 miles and keep going until you see cool stuff.
From Fallon: 110+ miles
Mining in Nevada wasn't always about gold and silver. The Pilot Mountain District (sometimes referred to as the Sodaville District) resulted from the discovery of cinnabar, tungsten, copper, and gold in the early part of the twentieth century. Many small scale mines and little mills sprang up and the town of Eddyville was formed around a gold mine in the 1930's. Not unlike Aurora, most of the desired mineral was near the surface and it didn't last very long.
Some of the following information has been taken from the best-selling publication, "Quicksilver Deposits in the Southern Pilot Mountains Mineral County Nevada (GSB 973-d)" written in 1951 by Messers. David Phoenix and James Cathcart. So keep in mine the production figures are based on that year.
In 1913 Thomas Pepper and Charles Keough were chasing some stray cows when they came upon an old prospect, and Keough recognized the red rock as cinnabar. To produce mercury, the cinnabar ore is crushed and roasted in a furnace. The mercury evaporates and is condensed and collected in flasks. Since it contains mercury, cinnabar ore is dangerous and unhealthy, and will mess you up if you are over-exposed to it. Naturally, mercury itself is even worse, and will kill you just thinking about it. So stop. Ha, you can't, now, can you? Well don't say we didn't warn you.
You'll often see production figures for mercury in "flasks" instead of pounds or tons. A flask of mercury holds 76 pounds and was usually made of iron or steel. Mercury was, of course, used in refining gold back in the day, before they started using the safer and much more efficient cyanide, as funny as that sounds.
Quicksilver was mostly located on Cinnabar Mountain from 1915 to 1917. In 1916 tungsten deposits were also found on Pilot Mountain.
MINA: What is said to have been a record shipment of quicksilver from Nevada was made recently from the Pilot Mountain District, 12 miles east of Mina. The shipment consisted of 99 flasks, valued at $7400 [$102,076.37 in 2015 dollars - F.N.] The principal producers are the Mina Quicksilver Co. and the Mina Mercury Co., the claims of the latter being operated under lease. The ore occurs in irregular deposits and with the quicksilver contains lead, gold, silver, zinc, and antimony. It is high grade, assaying from $500 to $1000 per ton over 4 to 6 ft. widths in places. Only the quicksilver is extracted.
All the quicksilver produced in this district has come from high-grade cinnabar ore, and most of it from two properties, the Drew Mine and the Booth-Wardwell mine, but some also from the Lost Steers group. Production began in 1915 and reached its maximum between 1917 and 1919.
CINNABAR RETORT NEAR MINA IS NOW READY FOR OPERATION
NOW BOILING OUT QUICKSILVER AT CORNELIUS-MACE PLANT NEAR MINA
Mina Mercury's Lost Steers Group (aka Booth-Wardell Mine) in Cinnabar Canyon. Used a Cottrell oil-fired rotary furnace 30 feet long and 3 feet in diameter, plus a crusher, metal pipe condensing system, and redwood settling tanks, all powered by a 25 horse Fairbanks Mores semi-diesel engine. They produced 41 flasks of mercury in 1941. However, the Reno Evening Gazette reported
Low grade ore is being trucked down the hill from the Lost Steers over a new road to Mina Mercury, where the retort is situated. Work is to be resumed at once in the Mina Mercury ground to develop a supply of ore for treatment at a time when it will be impossible to transport ore down the steep hill.
The Drew Mine (formerly Red Devil) at the head of Cinnabar Canyon with a 300 foot shaft and mill site. 80% of the mercury from this district came from here and the Mina mine. It's past production is reported to be about 1,000 flasks of mercury.
The Warlock mine was a small mercury mine
The Mina mine consists of about 5,000 feet of drifts and crosscuts. 1,200 flasks of mercury were produced here during 1940-1941 alone. According to Quicksilver Deposits, this mine was worked for twenty years prior to that as well, with about 1800 flasks recovered from high-grade deposits.
Marked as the Pine Tree Mine, there are several ruins here but we can't find much information under that name. The USGS says it was discovered in 1905 and shipped an insignificant amount of copper in 1917. Centennial Development Co. was sniffing around here as late as 1955. Owner (or past owners) L. E. Cornelius and C. F. Noble, owners of the Dunlap Mine.
WILL OPERATE DUNLAP COPPER
CHONG WONG WAS NOTED CHINAMAN
Production to 1942 at Reward Mine is reported to be 513 flasks of mercury. About 350 feet of drifts and crosscuts.
The Hitt Mine, as of 1941, had produced 46 flasks of quicksilver. Four hundred feet of drifts and crosscuts. Next door is the Allen Mine, with a 50 foot shaft, and 510 feet of drifts and crosscuts. It edged out the Hitt mine with 48 flasks of quicksilver production by the end of 1941.
The Betty Mine, owned by E. Messenger and H. Betty, adjoins the Inman property on the south flank of the Pilot Mountains. Approximately 570 feet of drifts and cross-cuts.
The Inman Mine was originally discovered in 1916 by Carl Reik and Ed Messenger. It consists of 16 claims called the Red Wing group; it formerly included the Betty and Inman properties. Recorded production from the Red Wing group from 1921 to 1941 was 109 flasks.
RICH CINNABAR FLOAT IS FOUND
In Dunlap Canyon, the Mammoth Quicksilver Mine has several tunnels and used a one D-retort and a three pipe furnace, small air compressor, and an incline gravity tram 600 feet long. There were several camp buildings. Production to 1941 was 50 flasks. They also produced some for the Hitt mine up to 1948.
The Cardinal group is near the Drew property in Cinnabar Canyon. It was discovered in 1931 and used two D-retorts. Since 1930 it produced 133 flasks of mercury. About 1500 feet north of Inman Mines.
BIG MONEY IN SHORT TIME NEAR MINA
The Red Wing between the Hitt and Mammoth mines also produced a small amount of quicksilver, probably less than 40 flasks. The Reward Group in Dunlap Canyon produced about 1,000 flasks of mercury. It was being worked in 1936. They used a two pipe furnace using two 12 inch pipes, 12 fet long, placed vertically in a brick firing chamber, which was fired with fuel oil.
The Gunmetal Group was a tungsten operation active from around 1924 - 1927 and erected a 25 ton mill that used pneumatic concentration. A Lezeart mill was equipped with a small crusher, an Abbe ball mill, and two stebbins dry concentrating tables were used.
The Stormland group at Camp Eddyville was a gold mine discovered in 1932. By 1936 it was inactive. It reported produced at $30,000 in high grade gold ore.
The Belleville Mine at the head of Telephone Canyon was discovered in 1927 and named after O.J. Belleville when he purchased it from discoverer Charles Woodworth in 1928. In 1932 and 1933 Russell Gold Mining Co. operated the property and produced $27,000 in gold. In 1936 preparations were being made to erect a 25 ton mill. There was a 5 ton Straub mill on the site. The Reno Evening Gazette (April 3, 1931) reported a 15 ton ball mill on the site.
The mill was installed over a year ago. It is equipped with a Campbell-Kelly table. for a short time last year the dumps were worked but lack of water forced the owner to abandon this. The mill like other equipment had to be trucked six miles up a canyon road built by Belleville and then packed for an eighth of a mile over a rough trail. The site of the work is above the camp and this necessitates use of pack animals for the hauling of all supplies, and carrying out ore. Belleville's camp consists of a small bunk house kitchen and storehouses. He has developed springs for domestic water supply.
Although many of the mines had their own buildings for operations, it would appear that only Eddyville acquired the status of a "camp."
MAKING ROADS AT EDDYVILLE
SUMMIT SPRINGS ORE EXPRESSED TO SELBY PLANT
STORM CLOUD LOOKING WELL
SUMMIT SPRINGS CONTINUES SHIPMENTS
SUMMIT SPRINGS DESCRIBED IN BULLETIN
Not too much is heard from Eddyville after that, and apparently things eventually took a turn for the worst, especially for the founder of the town.
FINAL RITES HELD FOR MINING VETERAN
This district is littered with mines, ruins, mills, retorts, and whatnot. For our first visit to the area, we explored the some sites off Dunlap and Cinnebar Canyons. Unfortunately, may roads have been ruined by recent rainstorms, although the main road had a blade drug down it fairly recently. You won't have trouble getting down teh main roads but you will want lots of clearance and lots of four wheel drive to visit most of the sites, just to be on teh safe side. There are many mines and cabins and workings remains all over the place. The Mina Mina has, perhaps, the greatest concentration of remains. Definitely have to return on the quads so we can get past the washouts with a minimum of bother. In case you're wondering, Eddyville is on the south flanks of Pilot and we'll be visiting that site at a later date.