The Stonewall Jackson Mine, San Diego County, California
July 2001 by Richard H. Peterson, PhDFor obvious reasons southern California is not known historically for its gold mines. Gold production was concentrated heavily in the Sierra Nevada foothills in the northern part of the state. However, the high mountainous region of eastern San Diego County was the site of a number of productive hardrock gold mines, notably in the late 19th century.
My next strategy was to walk anywhere and everywhere that I had been inside this home and garage. I looked on the floor, in the bathroom, I checked the bathroom trash can, and I even pulled the shower curtain back and looked in the bathtub.
If everything you see, the men, the animals, the crude mechanism that grinds gold from rock, everything around you, looks to be from centuries ago, if the mysterious sound you hear is pure history and the smell around you is primitive, if the earth beneath your feet quivers with untold strangeness; and, the taste in your mouth sweeps time out of mind then, if all of this happens at once, if every one of your five senses has taken you into the past, then you’ve traveled back in time.
It was time to prime the pump and start the engine! Dan’s priming method is to use a small, submersible, 12-volt pump. My priming method is to use a hand-operated diaphragm pump.
Virginia Elvira Russell
(Mining Grandma of Humbug)
March 4, 1999
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The time-honored objective in recovering gold from placers has always been to discover and recover gold from the detritus of both known and unknown lodes. The traditional method to recover gold from desert dry placers was to locate and work the enriched gravels known as the “pay streak.” This pay streak was usually found directly over false or true bedrock and within the upper few inches of the bedrock itself.
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