Elizabethtown: Uncovering a Buried California Mining Community
July 1999 by Richard H. Peterson, PhDAlthough there are many mining ghost towns in California, it is rare to find the ruins of one that was abandoned 140 years ago and then subsequently buried by hydraulic mining debris.
Back in the early 1990s, a gold mining club in northern California (on the Klamath River near Happy Camp), was offering a free "Trial Week" to test their claims. I decided to take them up on their offer. After obtaining a California Dredge Permit, I loaded my trusty Jeep with my camping gear...
There were nice sections of vein material at the end of several drifts, like they just stopped work one day and walked away.
In October, five of us decided to take an exploration trip into an area called Green Valley. This was perhaps ten miles upstream from where we had gone in September and the difficulty was access. One would think that based on the name it was an easily accessible area not far from a nearby town. This couldn’t be more wrong.
I thought things started off okay until I realized I had forgotten some of my gear and had to return to the house. My troubled start was not helped when my boy came up to me a few minutes after my return to show me his first nugget of the day.
Our theory was that a dredge would collect far more material in a shorter period of time, leaving us with ounces of gold every day.
Some creeks have nuggets, while others, particulary the rivers, nothing but fine gold.
The need to bring mining back to North America is more urgent than ever.
The Bawl Mill • Gold Hunters Hit the Web in Fight with Missile Range • Religious Broadcaster in Liberia Mining Venture • Kazak Government Collects Gold from Residents • Recreational Gold Panning on the South Yuba River • Groups Wonder Meaning of Call for More Wilderness • Mining Claim Maintenance Fee Due • Desert Bonanza • Gold Near Boulder, Colorado • Company Notes • The Carissa Gold Mine, South Pass, Wyoming—A Sleeper? • Tantalum • Building the American Dream • Picks & Pans: A Pay Streak in Slate • California Diamonds • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices • Silver Demand Driving Mine Production Up—Mexico Remains Number One Producer • Looking Back