HISTORIC CONTEXT

The Beaver Creek district lies west of White Sulphur Springs on the eastern slope of the Big Belt Mountains. Elevations range from 5000 feet in the Smith River valley up to 8000 feet at the top of the mountains. Gold occurs in the district in both placer and lode deposits.

Because of its location across the divide from the rich Confederate Gulch district, the region was explored at an early date. Prospectors discovered placer gold on Thompson Creek in 1865. Within three years, there were three hydraulic companies operating along the creek. The first five years of work produced a total of $50,000 in gold. There are also signs of early placering on Camas and Elk creeks, although no records of these operations are available (Lyden 1948).

One miner constructed an earthen dam and ditch on Gipsy Creek around 1890 to carry water to his claims on Thompson and Upper Birch creeks (Lyden 1948; Roby 1950; Fairchild 1990).

Placering continued on at least two claims during the 1920s. The Klondyke placer reported production every year except 1927 from 1921 through 1930, with additional yields reported in 1934. The Geho Placer reported production during 1924, 1925, and 1927 (WPA 1941).

A rise in the price of gold in 1933 stimulated the revival of placering throughout the West. Placer mining resumed in the Beaver Creek district during the 1930s, continuing into the next decade (Lyden 1948; Roby 1950; WPA 1940).

Companies and individuals worked placer claims on other creeks in the district as well. Acme Dredging Co. employed five men in its operations on the Honeysett, Bluestreak, and Triangle claims near White Sulphur Springs in 1940. The crew processed 400 cubic yards of gravel a day using a gasoline powered washer and dragline. The Camp Robber placer reported production for three years during 1934, 1935, and 1940. Claims on Thompson Creek produced nearly 236 ounces of gold between 1932 and 1940, with most of it coming in one year from a small dryland dredge operation. Operations on Camas Creek produced 87.53 ounces of gold between 1933 and the late 1940s, and individuals conducted testing along the creek in 1947 to find a site for a connected bucket dredge. Atlanta Gulch placer claims produced more than 422 ounces of gold after 1932, some of it from a skid-mounted washing plant operated by E. Ogel and his son in 1947. The Elk Creek claims proved minor, with less than five ounces produced during the mid-1930s, and Beaver Creek and Benton Gulch were also insignificant producers (Lyden 1948; Roby 1950; WPA 1940; WPA 1941).

In addition to the placers, which produced 3,729 fine ounces of gold between 1904 and 1945, the Beaver Creek district had a few lode mines which produced primarily gold. The the Snowbank was developed in the 1920s and operated intermittently into the 1950s while the Bourbon only reported one shipment of gold, in 1922. Both the placers and lodes of the Beaver Creek district were responsible for most of the nearly 66,600 ounces of gold produced in Meagher County from 1883-1947 (Roby 1950).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Fairchild, Gary S.

1990 Cultural Site Record, Gipsy Lake Dam, 24ME466.

Lyden, Charles J.

1948 The Gold Placers of Montana. Memoir No. 26. Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Butte.

Roby, Robert N.

1950 Mines and Mineral Deposits (Except Fuels), Meagher County, Mont. Information Circular 7540. United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines.

Sahinen, Uuno Mathias

1935 Mining Districts of Montana. Unpublished Master's thesis, Department of Geology, Montana School of Mines, Butte.

Work Projects Administration (WPA), Mineral Resources Survey

1940 Directory of Montana Mining Properties. Montana School of Mines, Butte.

Work Projects Administration (WPA), Mineral Resources Survey

1941 Montana Mine Index, and Alphabetical Index Arranged by Counties, Districts and Mines of Information on Montana Mines from 1867-1940. Montana School of Mines, Butte.