aka Wallace

The Clinton mining district (also known as the Wallace district) is located in Missoula County in the Garnet Range northeast of the town of Clinton. The district is bounded on the west and south by the Clark Fork River. Most of the mines were located along Wallace Creek and its tributaries, Trail and Woodville Creeks. The ores of the district are primarily copper-silver and lead-gold deposits, worked primarily between 1905 and 1912. The principal mines were the Hidden Treasure and the Cape Nome.

The district includes the Clark Fork valley as well as land within the Garnet Mountain range. The valley topography was created initially by Glacial Lake Missoula with subsequent action by the Clark Fork River. Geology of the Garnet Range is made up of Belt and Cambrian sedimentary rocks, including layers of metamorphosed limestone, quartzite, and shale. Most of the mineralized area of the district is composed granodiorite similar to that of the mining district of Garnet. The intrusive is surrounded by quartzite, shale, and limestone. Lodes in the intrusive are valued for their copper, silver, and gold, and those in the sediments for lead and silver (Pardee 1918; Sahinen 1935; Sanders and Winn 1994).

According to Hintzman (1964):

The main rock...is a late Cretaceous or early Tertiary granodiorite stock, which was intruded transverse to northwest-trending folds produced during Laramide orogeny. The stock cuts late Precambrian Beltian quartzite of the Missoula group and a diabase sill contained therein. After intrusion of the stock, dacite porphyry dikes were intruded along tensional fractures that cut all rocks in the district. Later tensional fractures provided openings along which ore minerals were deposited.

The ore deposits occur both in the granodiorite, as discontinuous fissure filling in veins that trend north and dip west, and in the adjacent quartzite, as lenticular replacement bodies in northeast-trending shear zones that dip southeast. In order of their paragenetic sequence, the ores in the granodiorite consist mainly of chalcopyrite, bornite, enargite, and chalcocite whereas those in the quartzite are chalcopyrite, tetrahedrite, and galena.

The first Euroamerican occupation of the Garnet Range resulted from the construction of the Mullan Road along the course of the Clark Fork River and the discovery of gold in nearby Bear Gulch in the 1860s. Miners began working placer deposits in Bear Gulch in 1865 and soon after in other areas of the Garnet Range (Sanders and Winn 1994).

The Clinton or Wallace district was discovered in 1878, when J. D. Richards, James House, and S. F. Keim made the first locations. There was little activity until about 1905, when exploratory work started in the Cape Nome mine. From then until 1912 several properties were actively explored, but low metal prices and discouraging mineral showings led to the virtual abandonment of the district for many years. Between 1912 and 1963, sporadic small - scale production and exploration were conducted in the Hidden Treasure and Cape Nome mines. Although there was some prospecting in other areas of the district, no other production is known. Beginning in 1956, the Hidden Treasure, Cape Nome, and several other claims were reopened. A mill built on Wallace Creek produced copper concentrates that were shipped to the Anaconda smelter (Rowe 1910; Piquette 1940; Hintzman 1964; Sanders and Winn 1994).

The town of Wallace was established by 1883 in Wallace gulch close to the mines. The main lead was two miles from the mouth of the gulch. The Northern Pacific Railroad through Montana was completed in 1883. Its route along the Clark Fork River provided a means for hauling ore both east and west, which prompted eastern capitalists to begin subsidizing mining ventures in western Montana. This event lead to the establishment of several hardrock mining districts in the Garnet Mountains. The hardrock deposits in the Garnet Range were exhausted by the 1910s and the mining communities soon were almost deserted (Leeson 1885; Sanders and Winn 1994).

The only mining of any significance in the district occurred between 1905 - 1912. The period from 1912 and 1916 the district was practically inactive. Production prior to 1913 was about $25,000 worth of copper, lead, and silver (this figure includes the Potomac district). Between 1912 and 1963 only small-scale production and exploration were carried out in the Hidden Treasure and Cape Nome mines. Although some prospecting was done in other parts of the district, no production was reported (Pardee 1918; Wolle 1963; Sanders and Winn 1994).

During the 1930s there was renewed interest in gold mining in the Garnet Range, but this was essentially subsistence mining by individuals trying to earn a living during the Depression. This period came to an end at the start of World War II because people found defense-related jobs and because of restrictions on the use of dynamite (Sanders and Winn 1994).

The Clinton mining district produced copper, gold, silver, and lead with most of it coming from the Wallace area. In 1907 most of the production from Missoula County came from the chalcopyrite ores of the Wallace sub-district. Carload shipments and samples from string lodes contained 1.5 - 6.0 percent or more copper and $2 to $10 per ton in gold and silver. Although the total production of the district between 1889 and 1913 did not exceed $25,000, it had produced approximately $360,000, mainly in copper and silver, by 1940. Between 1934 and 1960, 212 ounces gold; 31,718 ounces silver; 270,775 pounds copper; and 26,722 pounds lead were obtained from 5,641 tons of ore (Pardee 1918; Piquette 1940; Rowe 1941; Sahinen 1957; Hintzman 1964).

Between 1904 and 1955, Missoula county mines produced 36,248 Troy ounces of gold; 139,356 Troy ounces of silver; 686,177 pounds of copper; 3,403,568 pounds of lead; and 155,266 pounds of zinc. The total value was $3,097,685 (Sahinen 1957).


Pardee (1918) described the Clinton district as consisting of two major mining areas: along Wallace Creek east of the town of Clinton and along Ashby Creek toward the town of Potomac [the latter is considered by the AMRB (1994) to be the Potomac district]. Pardee wrote that "Most of the mines [of the Clinton district] are within an area five or six miles long and one or two miles wide that begins two miles east of Clinton and extends northeastward across the divide and part way down the Blackfoot River slope....The most extensively developed lodes are along Wallace Creek and its tributaries Trail and Woodville Creeks, about 2.5 miles east -northeast of Clinton. Within a square mile there are 50 or more mines and prospects, on some of which the workings reach a depth of 500 feet vertically below the surface." Later geological researchers regarded the Clinton district as comprising only those areas along Wallace Creek.

Miller (1894) described the Wallace district as located 17 miles east of Missoula, with mines, two to five miles from the Northern Pacific Railroad line. Piquette (1940) described the Clinton mining district as located 2.5 miles northeast of the town of Clinton, with the main stream Trail Creek. Most of the mines in the district were within an area five to six miles long and two miles wide, beginning two miles east of Clinton and extending northeasterly across the divide and partway down the Blackfoot River slope on the north.

Rowe (1941) defined the Clinton mining district as located in the area of the town of Clinton. In 1910 he defined the district as 2 1/2 miles northwest of the town of Clinton, with drainage into the Hell Gate river. Hintzman (1964) defined the Clinton mining district as within the western part of the Garnet Range, 20 miles east of Missoula and two miles northeast of Clinton. Hintzman said it was located in Sections 13 and 24, T12N, R17W, and Sections 17-20, T12N, R16W.

According to Sahinen (1935) and Wolle (1963), the Clinton district was in the Garnet Range, a few miles northeast of Clinton. Sahinen (1957) defined the Clinton (Wallace) district as "on Wallace (Trail?) Creek and its tributaries from two to three miles east of the town of Clinton." Sanders and Winn (1994) defined the Clinton Historic Mining District as located in Sections 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, and 17-19 of T12N, R16W and Sections 13 and 24 of T12N, R17W.

Figure 1 shows the Clinton district as defined by the AMRB (1994) and the smaller area -- the Wallace sub-district -- which matches the description of the Wallace or Clinton district described by Hintzman (1964) and others (Pardee 1918; Miller 1894; Sahinen 1935). The Clinton Historic Mining District as defined by Sanders and Winn (1994) includes the area defined here as the Wallace sub-district as well as mines in the Potomac district on the other side of the divide.



The Alladin (also known as Aladdin) group is located directly northeast of the Cape Nome mine. Before 1907 the property was developed by a few prospect tunnels and shafts. In 1907 the Speculator Mining Company of Butte began to develop it with 1700-1800 feet of drifting but apparently did not strike the Cape Nome vein. The company explored underground from the 500-foot level of the Cape Nome shaft. Frank Keim was one of the owners in 1910. The vein may be a continuation of the Hidden Treasure-Cascade-Cape Nome structure (Rowe 1910; Piquette 1940; Hintzman 1964).


The Anchor mine in 1894 had a 50-foot shaft and a 65-foot tunnel (Miller 1894).

Cape Nome

The Cape Nome mine was located on the southeast side of Trail Creek, a tributary of Wallace Creek, about three miles northeast of Clinton in Section 19, T12N, R16W. The Cape Nome claim was first developed in 1897 and was extensively developed prior to 1912. The property contained three claims: the Cape Nome, the Bullion, and the Moose. A shaft was driven down 300 feet at the mine in 1905. The Cape Nome mine was owned and operated in 1906 by Wilson and Webster, employing eight men at the mine. In 1907 the Cape Nome Copper Company made shipments to smelters in Tacoma, Washington, and to East Helena and Anaconda, Montana. A 500 foot double compartment shaft and 2,700 feet of tunnels were developed to access ore in 1910. Judge F. C. Webster of Missoula became president of the company. That year tunneling had increased to about 4,800 feet and there were bunk and boarding houses, shaft houses, blacksmith shops on the property. Between 1905 and 1916 the property was leased by the Speculator Mining Company to develop the Aladdin Claim. In 1916 the mine was owned by the Keime Brothers of Missoula. The veins at the mine were located in granodiorite, and the minerals were chalcocite, galena, chalcopyrite, tetrahedrite, pyrite, barite, and iron oxides. Although several shipments of copper-sulfide ore were made in 1921, there are no records of subsequent activity (Walsh 1906; "Missoula" ca. 1909; Rowe 1910; 1911; Pardee 1918; Sahinen 1957; 1962; Hintzman 1964).

Ore shipments from the property yielded about 19,000 pounds copper; 2,000 ounces silver; and $100 in gold. The copper content of shipments ranged from 1.6 - 12.7 percent, the gold content from 0.01 to 0.13 per ton, and the silver content from 5 - 20 ounces. The Cape Nome mine reported activity in 1904-07 and 1921 (Mineral Resources 1905-07; 1921; Mining World 1904; Mining and Scientific Press 1905; Pardee 1918; Piquette 1940).


Small lots of lead ore were shipped from the mine in 1939 (Rowe 1941; Sahinen 1957).

Copper Bell

The Copper Bell mine was located about half a mile north of the Hidden Treasure mine, a third of a mile southeast of the Triangle mine, and about three miles northeast of Clinton. The group of nine claims was developed with a shaft and tunnel in 1900 by a group of Milwaukee investors. In 1910 numerous open cuts, shallow shafts, and tunnels had been cut to explore copper and gold veins in granite. No records of production are available (Rowe 1910; Piquette 1940; Sahinen 1957).


The Eagle mine in 1894 had 175 feet of shaft and tunnel (Miller 1894).

Hidden Treasure

The Hidden Treasure mine, one of the first mines to be opened in the district, was located 2.5 miles northeast of Clinton on Wallace Creek and consisted of eight patented claims. The ore in the Hidden Treasure mine was principally copper and silver but also contained minor amounts of lead and gold. The mine was discovered in 1879 by a Mr. Keime, Sr., but was not developed until 1889. In that year several cars of ore were shipped that averaged 11 percent copper; 25 ounces of silver and 0.20 ounce of gold per ton. After that, the operator drove another adit 1,200 feet into the hillside (Piquette 1940; Sahinen 1957; Wolle 1963; Hintzman 1964).

By 1894 the Hidden Treasure had a 110-foot shaft, and a 1200 foot adit. By 1907 it had expanded to 2,600 feet of drifts. In 1901 the Hidden Treasure was owned by Judge W. J. Stevens (sometimes written as Stephens) of Missoula. By 1906 it had been developed by two tunnels (500 and 1,600 feet in length) producing sulphide ore with values in copper, silver, and lead that was shipped to Tacoma smelters. By 1910 C. A. Stevens of Missoula owned the mine. W. J. Stevens resumed operations of the mine, but died in 1914, and the mine was not worked from then until 1924 (although one report mentions a shipment of ore in 1917). In 1924 the Missoula Mines Associated arranged to buy the nine patented claims from Mrs. Stevens and built a 150-ton concentrating plant near the mine. In 1925 Missoula Mines Associated shipped 1,682 tons of ore with a total value of over $100,000 to East Helena and Anaconda (this was the bulk of production for Missoula County for that year). After extracting $160,000 or ore, the mine was closed temporarily due to financial difficulties. C. L. Hewitt took over and extended an adit in 1935, removing another $30,000 of ore (Miller 1894; Byrne 1901; Walsh 1906, 1910; 1910; Rowe 1910; 1911; Piquette 1940;Sahinen 1957).

In 1926 the mine shipped oxidized copper ore and lead ore. In the late 1930s, the mine was operated sporadically on a small scale. From 1937 to 1940 it shipped 51 cars of oxidized copper ore valued at about $12,000. In 1937 the mine produced 92 ounces gold; 13,766 ounces silver; and 85,628 pounds copper. In 1938 it also produced gold, silver, and copper. The mine shipped crude copper ore to the Anaconda smelter in 1939. In 1940 the mine produced 26 tons of ore with a value of $785 in gold, silver, and copper. In 1943 the mine shipped 206 tons of crude copper and lead ore yielding gold, silver, copper, and lead, worth $3,357. In 1944, lessees shipped 212 tons of silver ore to the Washoe Sampling Works at Butte recovering gold, silver, and copper (Piquette 1940; Rowe 1941; Sahinen 1957).

Shipments were reported from the Hidden Treasure mine in the years 1904-07; 1910-11; 1917; 1924-26; 1930; 1936-40; 1942-44; and 1948 (Mineral Resources 1905 - 07, 1917, 1924-26, 1930; Mineral Yearbook 1938-40; Mining World 1904; 1910-11;Sahinen 1957).

The country rock at the mine is micaceous quartzite intruded by a granodiorite stock. The greater portion of the minerals are still in the sulphide form. Within the Hidden Treasure mine, four stages of movement cut and displaced previous mineralized structures. Chalcopyrite in the mine contains appreciable amounts of silver (Sahinen 1957; Hintzman 1964).


The Hobo mine, consisting of two claims, was located about three miles up Wallace Creek from Clinton. Thirty tons of ore were shipped from the mine containing 11 ounces of silver per ton, with 5 percent lead, 1 percent copper, 0.5 percent antimony, and 3 percent iron. In 1949 it was operated by E. R. Terry and Carl Larson (Sahinen 1957).

Jack Pot

The Jack Pot mine was on the west side of Trail Creek near its junction with Wallace Creek, two miles east of Clinton. In 1912 an adit had been driven in granodiorite. In 1919 a test lot of copper ore was shipped from the claim (Sahinen 1957).


The Kennebec, located three miles east of Clinton, had an 85-foot shaft by 1894. In 1926, three cars of oxidized copper ore were shipped from the property (Miller 1894; Sahinen 1957).


In 1929 a car of oxidized copper-lead ore was shipped from the Missoula (or Missoulian) property 2.5 miles from Clinton (Sahinen 1957).


In 1914 the Montana mine produced a small amount of silver-copper ore with some gold (Sahinen 1957).

Queen Mary

The Queen Mary copper mine was located in Section 18, T12N, R16W, about six miles by road northeast of Clinton. The claim was located in 1899 and was patented in 1914. A. J. Mosby of Missoula owned the three claims that composed the group. The deposit was a weakly mineralized zone of shearing and fracturing in granodiorite. Ore minerals were chalcopyrite, bornite, azurite, malachite, and specular hematite (Sahinen 1957).


The Raven property was located east and north of the Hidden Treasure mine and contained nine claims. The ore had its main values in copper and also carried small amounts of gold, silver, and lead. By 1910 about $12,000 worth of development work had been done on the property. The owners had developed adits allowing the mine to be worked as deep as 700 feet, but no ore had been shipped by 1940 (Rowe 1910; Piquette 1940).

Southern Cross

The Southern Cross had 100 feet in shaft and tunnel in 1894 (Miller 1894).


The Treasurer in 1894 had a 75-foot shaft and a 100-foot tunnel, with a ledge of galena and copper sulphides (Miller 1894).


The Triangle and Grass Widow mines were located about 2 1/2 miles northeast of Clinton on Woodville Creek, about 0.75 mile northwest of the Hidden Treasure mine. The Triangle group of claims consists of 11 claims, the most important being the Triangle and the Grass Widow. The Grass Widow lode was about 600 feet northwest of the Triangle. Both were opened by drifts. The Triangle Group was owned by the Triangle Mining and Development Company of Missoula in 1910. The main vein had been drifted upon for 540 feet by that year. One stringer of high-grade copper ore assayed 15.4 percent copper, 0.24 ounce gold, and 3.2 ounces silver per ton. The Grass Widow vein was opened by two drifts 50 and 75 feet long. In addition to other tunnels and crosscuts on the property. By 1910, buildings on the property consisted of a power house, blacksmith shop, ore bins, etc. In 1912, an adit was driven 540 feet into a steep hill. Ore shipments reportedly yielded $3,500, with most of the value in copper. Near the the face of the adit, values in copper ranged from 3.5 - 6.75 percent, in silver from 7-13 ounces, and in gold from four to seven ounces per ton. The Triangle adit followed a zone of parallel fractures in granodiorite (Rowe 1910; 1911; Pardee 1918; Piquette 1940; Sahinen 1957; Hintzman 1964).


In 1894 the Wallace mine had 80 feet of work in shaft and tunnel (Miller 1894).

West Point

The West Point mine in 1894 had a 50-foot shaft and a 50-foot tunnel showing galena and copper sulphides (Miller 1894).

Other mines in the district included the Weston and the Bellvue (or Bellview) (Wolle 1963).


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