Mining in Baker County

Along in the 60’s there was some placer mining within the Baker gold district. In the year 1897 the yield of gold from 313 gold mines and claims, in all stages of development, was $3,000,000. It is estimated that not one-tenth of the mineral bearing districts has been even fairly prospected. Yet since the mining industry began in Baker County, the total yield of gold has been close to thirty million dollars. Quartz mining worthy the dignity of the name, has not been pursued in this county to any great extent, but for the past three of four years, find the industry is yet in its earliest infancy. Some 1200 miners are laboring and the monthly yield of the yellow metal is near $250,000. It is a very conservative estimate that with the promised advent of capital the development of present and prospective mines, and the increase of machinery find more general use of modern methods that in a very few years Baker’s quartz and placer mines will annually yield at least $10,000,000. Baker county is the banner gold mining county in Oregon. In fact the output of this precious metal from this county, and its near-by tributary regions in 1807 was approximately three-fourths of the entire gold output from the state. However, there are other resources, such as stock raising, dairying, lumbering, grain and fruit raising, each of which is destined to fall not far short of the value and importance of the mining industry which now is in the lead.
The mineral wealth of this county is evidenced by the following minerals:

Iron Salt Nitre
Coal Barytes Gypsum
Gold Graphite Marble
Silver Steatite Limestone
Lead Fire Clay Slate
Copper Brick Clay Granite
Nickel Aluminum Sandstone
Zinc Potter’s Clay Gneiss
Quicksilver Ocbre Syenite
Platinum Quartz Basalt
Iridium Pumice Andesite
Chrome Infusorial Earth Cement
Manganese Mineral Waters  

Besides the million dollar output last year from the placer mines, the following were outputs from some of Baker County’s quartz mines during 1897, and a number of these latter mines will make a greater showing this year by reason of extensive developments and an increase of stamps and other milling machinery:

Bonanza, Bonanza district


Virtue, Virtue district


Eureka & Excelsior, Cracker Creek district


North Pole, Cracker Creek district


Columbia, Cracker Creek district


Flagstaff, Virtue district


Gold Ridge, Gold Ridge district


Baisley-Elkhorn, Baisley-Elkhorn district


Gold Hill, Gold Ridge district


Don Juan Bonanza district


Humboldt, Rye Valley district


Pyx, Bonanza district,


Gallagher, Lookout district


Ibex, Mammoth district


Rattler, Virtue district 5,000

Leonard, Rye Valley district


Smith, Rye Valley district


Friday, Virtue district


Ninety-Seven, Cable Cove district


Martin Hill, Weatherby district


Rachael, Virtue district


Columbian, Virtue district


Tom Paine, Pocahontas district


Perry, Virtue district


Climax, Cracker Creek district


Uncle Dan, Virtue district


Cyclone, Virtue district


Kearsarge, Virtue district



$ 1,413,000

That free gold section, beginning six miles east of Baker City, has furnished some of the richest and most beautiful gold specimens in the world, one of the pockets encountered in 1897 yielded $70,000.
The Flagstaff is a recently developed mine, fully equipped and produces about $100,000 per annum. The Consolidated Virginia, adjoining the Virtue, encountered the Virtue ledge a few weeks ago at a depth of 500 feet, and active preparations for one of the most complete mining plants in the state are now under way by ‘Messrs. Keith Bamberger, the controlling owners. The Rachael, incorporated as the Gold Ring Mining Company, struck water last week at a vertical depth of 400 feet. A splendid showing of valuable ore is made at the deepest workings, and the property will be in full blast next spring. The Gordon has just been sold to Minneapolis parties, with the purpose of fully opening up the mine. The Perry, Climax and Cliff have changed hands with the same object in view. Not quite so far advanced, but fully as promising, are the Emma, Montie, Friday, Brazos, Mabel, Cyclone, Red Jacket, Queen Bee, Sound Money, Paymaster, Wonder, Sleeping Beauty, Uncle Sam, Mogul, Amador, Collateral, Uncle Dan, Kearsarge, Columbia, and hundreds of other more or less developed claims.

MLA Source Citation:

Eastern Oregon Gold Fields. Web. 25 January 2015. - Last updated on Mar 29th, 2013

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