38° 42' 52 "N, 116° 58' 45 "W USGS Jefferson Quad
March 29, 2010 . Our Breakfast : Omelet and Beefsteaks at the Cold Springs Station
|DIRECTIONS||Take US 50 east from Fallon for 122 miles; turn south on continue south on SR 376 for 50.6 miles; turn east on road for 3 or 4 miles until you get to Jefferson Canyon Rd. head up canyon for about 3 miles From Fallon: 180 miles|
The district was discovered in 1866 (Whitehill, 1873) but no details of the early history are known. Mining began in 1871 when a test lot of ore was sent to Austin for milling (Lincoln, 1923) Oringally organized as the Green Isle district in 1873, the name was soon changed to Jefferson. The town of Jefferson started in 1874 and reached its peak in 1876 with a population of 600 (Paher, 1970) The principal mines were the Prussian and the Jefferson, located on the ridge above Berlin Canyon, southwest of Jefferson, and the Kanrahat or Sierra Nevada, located just southeast of Jefferson town site in Jefferson Canyon. Ten-stamp mills were installed on both the Prussian and Jefferson mines in 1874, and most of the recorded production of the district came from these mines in the period of 1874-78 (Kleinhampl and Ziony, 1984). Carper (1920) mentions the presence of an old smelting furnace "used by the Spanish and the Indians" somewhere on this property. These workings may be the oldest in the district, possibly dating to 1866-67 when Emanual San Pedro and his party were prospecting in the mountains to the southeast of Mount Jefferson.
Charles Kanrahat worked for the Prussian, Prussian South, and Jefferson Companies prior to 1873. After that date he began making the locations that are now part of the Jefferson Gold and Silver Mining Company's holdings. He has lived in the district and on the property continuously up to the present time. During that time the property has several times been sold, but for one cause or another it has reverted to the original owner, each time with added equipment, until there is quite a complete plant in existence. A 12000 volt power line has been built in from Round Mountain where power is supplied by the Nevada California Power Company. No lightning arrestors protect the plant, consequently severe accidents to transformers have been experienced. The mine and mill equipment is electrically driven. The mill is essentially a flotation plant, consisting of a gyratory crusher, rolls, tube mill, and flotation cells, and has a capacity of about 60 tons per day. Extraction during Mr. Brady's operations is said to have been not over 60%. The mine equipment consists of a 600 ft [sic] Ingersall-Rand two stage compressor and all air lines necessary to reach tunnels Nos. 2 and 4. There is also a complete outfit of drifting and stoping drills. Blacksmith shops, assay office, etc. are in operating condition.
Jefferson is a 20 acre site that covers the north- and south-facing slopes of Jefferson Canyon on the west side of the Toquima Range. Silver was discovered at Jefferson in 1866 and production began in 1871. A two-part town had developed by 1874. The lower town contained the mine sites and two stamp mills. The upper town, to the east, supported stores, blacksmith shops, a livery stable, offices, restaurants, sawmills, hotels, an express office, and other such enterprises. Byt 1881, when the mines were exhausted, Jefferson had been abandoned. Subsequent mining operations proved to be unsuccessful, and the town was complately abandoned by the 1930's. There are apporximately 25 structures in various states of ruin at Jefferson. Twenty percent of the structures are wood-frame; 80% are rubble rock. Free-standing footings, piers, slabs, and walls up to four feet in height are all that remain of some structures; others are in fair condition and support good roofs. Several ruins are situated on the north-facing slope of the canyon. There are remnants of a 40' x 28' x 60' high stamp mill, framed with 12" x 12" timbers. The foundation consists of 3 foot diameter concrete piers that are 4 feet high. Associated with the stamp mill is a 15 foot long by 6 foot diameter horizontally mounted metal furnace that is faced on the exterior with mortared rock.
"For nearly forty years the stage from Austin to Belmont followed the road up Jefferson Creek from the Big Smoky Valley to the summit of the Toquima Range, but after the opening of the mines of Manhattan and the discovery of Round Mountain, the route was changed, and a detour made to the south to include these places. During the seventies several mines were worked in Jefferson Canyon, which was then known as the Concordia or Green Isle mining district. The largest producers were the Jefferson and the Prussian companies, owning adjoining claims, the Prussian South and Prussian, on the same lode."
View a large (12Mb) map of Jefferson mining claims here.
|POST OFFICE||10/22/1874 - 1/29/1879; 1/24/1883 - 1/21/1884; 3/6/1885 - 6/21/1886; 6/30/1890 - 8/13/1890|
Jefferson is going to require two trips for us. There are a lot of ruins and things scattered over a wide area. We went in March, and the roads were a little slimy and snowy. With only on vehicle, we elected to play it safe and walk a lot of the way. Some of the streams were running fairly quickly and were several inches deep. We suspect that this summer things will have calmed down a bit, but we'll probably bring ATV's instead of a lone Jeep.
There are a lot of stone ruins along the way and at least two large mill ruins- and we never even made it into Jefferson proper. It was interesting to see things before the trees began to leaf out- you will have to look closely once that happens, since the the native stone and the buildings tend to blend in together. More details on Jefferson this summer, hopefully.
UPDATE: September 11, 2011
The road is fairly decent coming from the Round Mountain side and probably won't require more than a pickup or something with a little clearance. Coming from the east side, you will be more comfortable with a 4WD as it gets a little rocky.