The Sierra Nevada Mines Database
Notice: Due to a server move, and technical difficulties, the database will be off-line for a time while it is being revamped. Thanks for your patience. We hope to be back up soon, please check back later.
For teachers that are depending on our FREE Academic Packet, here is the download link:
Mines of the Sierras Academic Packet
The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma on the American River in Northern California by James Marshall, and further discoveries of gold in the Feather River and the Trinity River in 1848, fueled one of the largest Gold Rushes in history. Thousands of gold seekers poured into California from every state and all over the world, starting one of the biggest economic booms in the state's history. Enthusiasm was also generated by sensational reports of rich strikes in the newspapers. In 1854, miners at Carson Hill in Calaveras County discovered a 195 pound mass of native gold, the largest ever found in California.
Even though the California Gold Rush officially ended in 1864, mining continued. Prospecting by geologists and independent miners resulted in the discovery of other important metals and minerals in the Sierra Nevada mountains such as silver, copper, iron, manganese, chromium, lead, mercury, tungsten and many other ores. Today, mining is still one of the most important industries in the United States, supporting the manufacturing and production of thousands of everyday products.
Gold production from 1848 to 1968 for Alpine County was estimated to be $4 million, Amador: $200 million and Calaveras: $150 million dollars. Total gold production in all California Counties from 1848 to 1968 totaled more than 2.4 billion dollars. However, by 1968, the last commercial gold mining operations were suspended in California due to the low price of gold and high production costs. Over the 120 year period, thousands of mines were prospected, developed, worked and then abandoned throughout the state. One mining district in Calaveras County had over 500 mines and there were hundreds of mining districts in the state!
This historical database currently covers a portion of the Alpine, Amador and Calaveras mines. The mines are listed alphabetically by name. The history of the mines is given, including the amount and type of commodity produced. The location according to the records is provided and a GPS has been used to relocate the position of a few of the mines. The current ownership of the property where the mine is located, if known, is given. Photos both modern and historic are used to illustrate the database. The record is not complete, check back as mines are being added on a regular basis. Search capability is provided with the ability to search on Name, County, Commodity (ore) and Location.
Disclaimer: The information provided is intended for historical research only. Mines, and particularly old mines are dangerous places, go there at your own risk. Please respect private property. Some mines may be under current claim. If you go, pack out what you take in. Leave what you find for future generations; take only photographs for souvenirs.