HISTORIC CONTEXT

The Rock Island mining district is apparently an insignificant and little known district with a few minor mines. Geologically it is essentially an eastern extension of the Denemora-Packer Creek (Saltese) districts. Placer mining may have been conducted in the area but does not appear to have any significance in the mining literature (Sahinen 1935; Wolle 1963).

No historical information on the district was found. It is likely that the area was explored and prospected during the late 1870s, about the same time as the Packer Creek and Denemora districts. The town of De Borgia is the closest community to the mines of the district. De Borgia was destroyed by the 1910 forest fires, as probably were the few mines in the district as the only reports found occur prior to 1910. In 1935 Sahinen defines the district as, "practically unknown. Production is unimportant and none has been reported for many years." Apparently none of the mines have been reopened (Walsh and Orem 1906, 1910; Sahinen 1935; WPA 1941; Wolle 1963).

The district is underlain by quartzites of the Ravalli group and shales and impure limestones of the Wallace formation, both part of the Pioterozoic Belt series. The extensive Osborn fault and several other large faults extend through the district. Mineralization and geology are similar to the Packer Creek and Denemora districts and ores carry gold, silver, copper and lead (Sahinen 1935).

BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT

Sahinen (1935) locates the district on the "southern slope of a spur of the Bitterroot Mountains which extends southeastward between the valleys of St. Regis and Clark Fork rivers." The district lies about eight miles north of Henderson, a station on the Northern Pacific and Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroads. The AMRB (1994) defines the district as bounded on the south by the St. Regis River and on the north by Sanders County and the Couer D'Alene Mountains (Sahinen 1935; Montana Bureau of Mines n.d.). Figure 1 shows the district as defined by Sahinen (1935) and the larger area as defined by the AMRB (1994).

The district is not discussed in Lyden (1948), Wolle (1963), or the WPA Mineralized Resources Survey (1941).

HISTORIES OF SELECTED MINES

True Fissure

The True Fissure mine was reported on in 1906 and 1910, but apparently production was insignificant. Samples from the lower adit of the mine are reported to contain one to three ounces of silver per ton and five to ten percent of lead per ton (Walsh and Orem 1906, 1910; Wallace and Hosterman 1956; Wolle 1963; Sahinen 1962).

Rock Island

The Rock Island mine saw some development historically, but apparently to no avail. An assessment of samples from the Rock Island Mine taken in 1962 found galena and sphalerite, but no silver-bearing minerals (Wolle 1963; Sahinen 1962).

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