aka Southern Cross aka Cable
The Georgetown mining district is a hard to define collection of mining districts centered around Cable Mountain along the western edge of the Flint Creek Range. These mining districts include a small Georgetown sub-district immediately north of Georgetown Lake, the Southern Cross mines, and the Cable mines. The district has also been defined to include several other districts such as the Hidden Lake and Red Lion to the north, and the Gold Coin to the southeast. These later districts are discussed separately or, in the case of the Gold Coin, as a sub-district of the Silver Lake district.
The district is underlain by faulted and folded Paleozoic sedimentary rocks. Just east of Georgetown the sedimentary rocks have been cut by intrusive granites which occupy several square miles. Small apophyses and dike-like masses occur in the surrounding areas. The most important mines are in the sedimentary rocks near the granite contacts with occasional mineralization both in the sedimentary rocks up to a mile from the granite and within the granite itself. The most important deposits include gold-copper replacements of contact origin, gold-bearing replacement veins in sedimentary rock, gold-bearing veins in granite, silver-bearing replacement deposits in calcareous rocks, and contact deposits of magnetic iron ore. Placers are also an important source of gold in the area (Sahinen 1935).
The first mining activity in the immediate area of Georgetown occurred on what was known as Georgetown Flats where placers were active as early as 1866. In the gulch that drains through town, the Georgetown placer yielded $40,000 by 1870. To the east in Daly Gulch the Daly placer was less productive as was the Wellington placer to the north. While most of the placers were worked out by the mid-1870's, some miners tried working the hills with hydraulics. Others began to work quartz lodes and the camp revived. However, the mines were of low grade and could not be worked at a profit. Many of the historic placers of the district were inundated when the Flint Creek dam was completed in 1900. Other placers of note include the Betsy, Cameron and Pryor, Gold Leaf, Jefferson, New Baltic, King and Union (Emmons and Calkins 1913; Howard and Porsch 1987; Earll 1972; GCM Services 1994).
The first lode mine in the lesser Georgetown sub-district was the Pyrenees lode which was discovered in 1870. Although nearly all of the major producing mines had been claimed by the late 1880s, claims continued to be staked in the vicinity for some time afterward. Total production from the district has been reported to be at least $450,000. The majority of this production came from the Pyrenees mine and half the remainder from the Georgetown placer. Other producers include the Luxemburg, Montana, Ontario and Revenue (Earl 1972; GCM Services 1994).
The first quartz mill in the area was located at Georgetown. It was unable to make a profit and eventually ceased operations. The equipment was sold to Thomas Stuart who moved it to his mill on the south side of Georgetown Lake and put it to work reducing ore. Although Stuart called his mill the Rosy Whitford, it became known as the Stuart mill which caused confusion since there was a larger and more famous mill of the same name in nearby Philipsburg. The mill had five 800-pound stamps powered by a 21-foot overshot waterwheel. After four weeks of operation, the Stuart also had to quit operations. The mill was then worked as a custom mill by local miners. Around 1878 the mill was sold to Salton Cameron and Robert Kelly, who removed part of the machinery and took it to the Glenn mill near Georgetown and ran it profitably on the ores from their Pyrenees mine (Emmons and Calkins 1913; Wolle 1963).
The Glenn mill, situated halfway between Georgetown and Southern Cross was built by Cameron in 1884 to work the Southern Cross ores. It was equipped with a rock crusher, 10 stamps, amalgamation plates and cyanide plates. It was eventually sold to the owners of the Orphan Boy mine, but only a small amount of the mine's ore was put through (Emmons and Calkins 1913).
By 1880 Georgetown had dwindled to 50 souls and was empty by 1886. In 1900 the lower portion of the Georgetown Flats was flooded by the construction of the Flint Creek Dam. This structure was originally begun in 1890 and was intended to provide power for nearby towns. After the original effort was abandoned, the site was finally completed in 1900 by a subsidiary of the Granite - Bimetallic Mining Company of Philipsburg. The mining company used the electricity to provide cheap power for their mines and concentrators. In 1906 the electricity began to be sold to the new Washoe Smelter in Anaconda and in 1909 the smelter owned the dam outright. The dam became one of the assets of the giant Anaconda Copper Mining Co. and in 1915 the dam was raised which further flooded the Georgetown Flats (Howard and Porsche 1987; Wolle 1963).
In 1935-36 a dragline scraper operating from a central mast was employed feeding gravel to a stationary washing plant a short distance downstream from Georgetown. In the first year of production the plant recovered 16 ounces of gold and 76 ounces the second year (Lyden 1948).
The placers of the Cable sub-district were established after the lode discoveries. Located just below the apex of the Cable vein, the Cable claim was one of the richest placers in the country. In 1872, Mr. Kohrs, who had a lease on the property, took out $18,000 in a mere eight weeks. The next year $37,000 was taken out of the claim. Over the years several hundred thousand dollars of gold were recovered (Emmons and Calkins 1913; GCM Services 1994; Lyden 1948; Sahinen 1935).
The Cable lode, which was located in 1866, is for all practical purposes the only producing mine in the district. The mine had the good fortune of having several deposits of unusually rich ore. The mine, which is discussed in detail below, officially recorded production in 1870, 1905-1908, 1919, 1925, and 1940. It was actively discussed in the mining literature from 1903 to 1913 and again in 1929 and 1936 (WPA 1941).
Southern Cross Sub-District
The Southern Cross sub-district has experienced only lode mining. The history of the sub-district is essentially the history of the Southern Cross mine and a few satellite claims such as the Oro Fino, Orphan Boy and the Holdfast-Short Shift-Golden Wedge Mine. The original discovery and claim on the Southern Cross lode occurred in 1866. The claim, however, was allowed to lapse and no further work was done in the district for five or six years. In the early 1870's Salton Cameron relocated the claim and began to develop it. After an unsuccessful attempt at milling the ore at the mine, the Southern Cross passed to Butte developers who shipped its ore to the Washoe Smelter in Anaconda for a good profit. In 1904 Lucien Eaves was leasing the mine when he discovered the fabulously rich west vein. While estimates of the return vary, most place it between $200,000 and $600,000. A new mill was built and modernized in 1907. The Southern Cross passed into the hands of the Anaconda Copper Mining Co. in 1910 and a period of extensive development followed which included the construction of a spur line to the mine from Brown's Siding. Ore was then shipped directly to the Washoe Smelter where in addition to its mineral values it proved useful as a flux. The mine is estimated to have produced $5,000,000 in gold, silver and copper.
The ore deposit in the sub-district is complex with two groups of north-striking veins, which branch from or cross the northwest-striking Southern Cross fissure. Mineralization is from replacement of dolomite limestone host rock, and fissuring of the limestone. Ore is primarily quartz and auriferous pyrite, accompanied by minor pyrrhotite, magnetite, and chalcopyrite. Nearly all of the ore extracted was oxidized with gold and minor copper values (Earll 1972).
BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT
One of the earliest references to define a mining district associated with the mines on Cable Mountain was Bohm (1916). He defined a "Cable mining district" to include all those mine.
located upon Cable Mountain which are in the Red Lion and Georgetown mining districts of Granite and Deerlodge counties.
Billingsley (1913) locates the district 20 miles west of Anaconda. He states the district lies along the divide between the headwaters of Warm Springs Creek, which drains to the east and Flint Creek which flows to the north. The actual divide is formed by Cable Mountain, a north / south ridge that terminates in the south in hills overlooking Georgetown Lake. His description encompasses the Red Lion mines to the north, the Southern Cross mines to the west and the Georgetown mines to the south.
Sahinen (1935) places the Georgetown - Southern Cross - Cable district in the northwest corner of Deerlodge County, about 15 miles west of Anaconda. The district includes the area north of Silver Lake and west of Warm Springs Creek. Sahinen also includes the Red Lion district to the north in his total production figures for the district.
Wolle (1963) places the Georgetown district in the immediate vicinity of Georgetown and on Georgetown Flats. Some of the placers and lode mines were located on the hillside immediately above the town.
Earll (1972) provides a good commentary on the evolution of district boundaries and summarizes the district's history:
Although initially the several mining districts clustered around the settlement at Georgetown, [they] maintained their separate identities, in more recent years there has been a tendency to combine reports from all of these districts under the single heading of Georgetown District.
Figure 1 shows the Georgetown district as it corresponds to most of the historic literature. There is an extension to the AMRB (1994) boundary to the east to include the Cable Mine and placers and to the south to include the War Eagle.
HISTORIES OF SELECTED MINES
The Cable mine (24DL292) is in west / central section 10, T5N, R13W, 13 near the head of Cable Creek, 17 miles northwest of Anaconda and 7.5 miles beyond Browns Siding. The property consists of 13 patented claims. The mine was initially located in the fall of 1866 by Thomas Aiken, John E. Pearson and Jonas Stough. The trio were camping on Flint Creek when their horses wandered away from camp. While looking for their steeds, rich float was discovered and traced back to its source. A four mile ditch was quickly dug to wash the float. While digging a shaft on the claim in June of 1867 a new, richer vein was discovered. The Cable claim, named in honor of the laying of the first transatlantic cable, was then located (Wolle 1963; Munson 1988).
From Aiken and Company the mine quickly passed to W. Nowland, a banker in Helena. Nowland built the first mill, known as the Nowlan, one mile downstream from the mine in 1867. This 20-stamp mill treated 9,000 tons of ore valued at $172,000 during its history. In April of 1869 a 148 foot shaft, sunk into a large ore body, collapsed. Nowland died before the mine could be reopened. Despite reportedly poor management by Nowland, the mine was the top producer in the area and had a total reported production of $400,000 by 1869 (Bohm 1906; Emmons 1907; Lincoln 1911b; Gilbert 1935b).
Salton Cameron found some gold-bearing quartz near the Cable lode in 1873. Using borrowed money Cameron built the 20-stamp Hanauer mill to treat the ore. However, the ore quickly ran out and the mill shut down. During this time, the Cable mine itself was closed by litigation (Munson 1988; Wolle 1963).
In 1877 J. C. Savery from Des Moines bought the property. A second lower adit was excavated in 1883 to connect with the Cornish stope. Although the ore from the mine was initially treated in the Hanauer mill, Savery erected a second mill in 1883. The mill was reported to be very complete in its equipment. Savery also installed air compressors to power the machine and diamond drills. Ore mined during this period was free-milling and of good grade. The ore came primarily from the Cornish, Square Set and Lake stopes. Some of the ore from the mine was unusually rich; one ore car load from the west end of the Cornish stope was reported to have yielded $30,000. During this period of production the mine reportedly produced between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000. After 1891 the property was idled by litigation for a decade. In 1896 experiments determined that concentration machinery could recover copper and iron from the tails (Bohm 1906; Emmons 1907; Lincoln 1911b; Munson 1988).
In the mine two intrusive masses of granite have isolated and metamorphosed a long narrow belt of Meagher limestone, together with a little Wolsey shale. The Cable deposit is a contact metamorphic deposit formed by replacement of limestone near granite contacts. The deposit is similar to many copper replacement deposits except that it contains less copper and more gold than usual. The replacement zone has a length of 1800 feet with a width of 80 to 360 feet; the depth is not known. High grade ore contains visible flake gold with tetradymite in calcite; the low grade ore contains pyrite and pyrrhotite associated with dolomite (without visible gold) and small amounts of iron. Several magnetite ore bodies were discovered in 1906 at the mine, but never developed due to inadequate gold values (Lincoln 1911a; DeMunck 1956).
Beginning around 1902, lessees F. W. and H. C. Bacorn extensively prospected the property utilizing diamond drills and pumping out flooded levels. The brothers managed to recover $18,000 in the process. In 1904 a body of high grade ore was discovered within a few feet of the west drift on the 200-foot level. By 1906 three shifts were run in the mine. As the Cable Lease Mining Company the Bacorns eventually gained ownership of the property. From its discovery to 1911, the Cable mine is estimated to have produced between three and four million dollars of ore. In 1934 a number of men were employed at the mine in general clean up and repairs (Lincoln 1911b; Gilbert 1935b; DeMunck 1956; Wolle 1963; Munson 1988).
In 1907 the mine was described by Emmons. The mine was developed out of an 888-foot crosscut tunnel which reaches the ore zone 245 feet below the surface and continued along the ore body for about 2,000 feet. At 1,600 feet from the portal an engine station supported a winze with levels at 65, 140 and 214 feet. Above the adit were three levels run from abandoned shafts. The location and size of the main stopes were well documented in the mining literature. In brief, three of the more important stopes, the Cornish, Square Set and Showers, were above tunnel level. The Lake stope was immediately north and below the engine station. Water was pumped out of the mine by a No. 7 sinking pump and used in milling the ore. Total underground workings with crosscuts and drifts was about 7,500 feet. By 1935 there were 10,000 feet of adits, drifts, and shafts (Emmons 1907; Gilbert 1935b).
The surface development of the mine was described in 1935 as a 30-stamp mill, motor-driven compressor, hoist, office, residences and bunkhouses. The electric powered Cable Mill was equipped with two Blake crushers, 30 Frazier & Chalmers stamps and amalgamation plates. Ore was run directly from the adit portal to the mill in mine cars. The ore passes through grizzlies and the crushers into small bins that automatically feed the stamps. More of the gold was recovered from the mortars than the amalgamation plates. The plant successfully recovered 80 to 90 percent of the mineral values from oxidized ores and was noteworthy in obtaining good results from sulphide ores (Emmons 1907; Emmons and Calkins 1913; Gilbert 1935b).
The mine was sold to the Canyon Lode Mining Company by the H. S. Bacorn estate in 1947. Two years later seven men were back at work in the nearly three miles of underground workings and were developing a new 85-foot shaft and a 150-foot raise. This marked the end of historic activity on the property. The mill was destroyed by fire in the 1960's (Munson 1988).
When visited in 1987, the mine complex was recorded to include the Atlantic Cable underground mine, Golden Gate mine, Cable Creek placers, the remains of Cable City, a portion of the Warm Springs to Philipsburg toll road, a complex of ditches, a Chinatown and numerous prospects. However, the surficial remains were degraded by time, weather, vandalism and subsequent mining episodes.
The Gold Coin is variously ascribed to the Georgetown, Silver Lake or its own district. A more complete discussion of the mine appears in the Silver Lake discussions.
The Luxemburg, southeast of Georgetown, is described by Emmons and Calkins (1913:236-237):
The Luxemburg mine is situated half a mile S.25o E. of Georgetown, and about 400 feet above Georgetown Lake. It was discovered in 1875 by Salton Cameron, who, according to Mr. H. C. Bacorn, took out about $12,000 worth of ore, and it is now owned by Laribee Bros. and Mrs. Mary Kelly, of Deer Lodge, Mont. In 1905-6 it was under lease to Bacorn Bros. and produced about $8,000 worth of gold.
The mine is exploited through an adit tunnel and two shallow shafts, and about 700 feet of galleries are accessible. The country rock is granite, and the deposits are fissure veins of irregular width. The ore consists of quartz, calcite, pyrite, iron oxides, and gold. Most of that which has been exploited is highly oxidized. The adit crosscut is 275 feet long and crosses five narrow veins striking east of north. The veins dip westward at varying angles, and two of them intersect a short distance below the surface. The largest ore body, which occurred at this intersection and extended below it on both sides, was shaped in cross section like the top of the letter A. Its maximum width was about 7 feet, and the average value about $30 to the ton. Away from the intersection the vein was smaller and not so rich. Considerable granite is mixed with the ore, and the country rock is sheeted along planes parallel to the vein (Emmons and Calkins 1913).
Montana The Montana Mine is about .25 mile north of Georgetown on Georgetown Flat. It was located in 1902 and developed from a 104-foot shaft with short drifts and crosscuts at 50 and 100 feet. The mine is in Jefferson limestone and worked a lode of crushed, mineralized and almost completely oxidized limestone. Minerals in the ore are quartz, calcite, pyrite, iron oxides, malachite and azurite. The lode is 30 feet wide at the crosscut and carries from $2 to $20 per ton gold. It was last listed as a producer in 1935 (Emmons and Calkins 1913; Earll 1972).
The Ontario mine is also on Georgetown Flats about .3 mile northwest of Georgetown. It is reported to have produced several thousand dollars of silver, presumably in the late 1880s. It was inaccessible in 1906 (Emmons and Calkins 1913; Earll 1972).
Located a short distance east of the Southern Cross mine, the Orphan Boy was developed with several shafts about 50 feet deep. The mine worked limonite outcrops which carried low values of gold. Some of the ore was treated in the Glenn mill (Emmons and Calkins 1913).
Emmons and Calkins (1913:236) describe the Pyrenees as:
The Pyrenees mine is situated a few rods northeast of the Luxemburg mine and half a mile southeast of Georgetown. It was discovered in the early seventies and was an important producer of gold in the late eighties. It has been worked through several tunnels close to grass roots and through a vertical shaft about 266 feet deep. All workings are now inaccessible. The mine is credited with $125,000 in 1887 and 1888, when a 1-stamp mill was in operation. According to Mr. Clinton H. Moore, of Butte, its gold production has amounted to about $250,000.
The Pyrenees mill was situated near the mine. It was equipped with 10 stamps and amalgamation plates. Although it produced considerable amounts of gold in the 1880's, it was dismantled by 1913. The mine's owners then purchased the Glenn Mill in an abortive attempt to work the mine's ores (Calkins and Emmons 1913).
The mine reopened several more times and recorded production in 1918 - 1923 and 1934 and 1935. When visited in 1993, the Pyrenees mine consisted of a collapsed adit located on the B. A. and P. Southern Cross spur line and a funnelling shaft located on a siding. No surface structures were observed. Large waste dumps were associated with the excavations (GCM Services 1994).
The Revenue mine (MS # 1892) is located .75 mile east of Georgetown. The mine was developed through a southwest oriented adit which followed a narrow zone of quartz - limonite veins. Although Earll (1972) states that the property was equipped with a small mill, probably installed around 1938, examination of the mine in 1993 showed no evidence of a mill. The adit and a funnelled shaft were recorded on the claim. A short distance to the south of the Revenue a late 1930s era ball mill was observed at the World Mine property. The Revenue mine is credited with some production in 1939 and 1940. The ore is likely to have been worked at the World mill (Earl 1972; GCM Services 1994).
The Southern Cross property consists of 22 claims in sections 4 and 9, T5N, R13W, about 2.5 miles north of Georgetown on Highway 10A. The most significant claims include the Nellie, Pleiades, Southern Cross, Trinity, North Atlantic, Oro Fino and Short Shift which ultimately were held by the Anaconda Copper Mining Co. and the Pomeroy which was held by T. E. Gilbert of Dillon. This latter claim was mined for magnetite ore from 1921 to 1923 (DeMunck 1956).
The Southern Cross claim was first located in 1866, however, the claim was allowed to lapse. Salton Cameron relocated the ground several years later and began to develop the property. At first ore was sent to East Helena to be processed, but in 1884 a stamp mill was erected to work the ore. This first milling attempt was not particularly successful and the mill was immediately shut down (Billingsley 1913).
After Cameron's milling failure the mine was obtained by the Southern Cross Gold Mining Company of Butte. Production increased and the Pleiades shaft extensively developed. By 1893 the mine had produced 30,000 tons reported to be worth $750,000. Most of this ore was treated in Anaconda (Bohm 1906; Billingsley 1913; Earll 1972).
In 1904 Lucian Eaves leased the property and tried to reopen and develop the mine with limited capital. Initially, his efforts met with little success; freight and treatment charges used up most of the value of the extracted ore. However, in excavating a new roadway and ore bin 150 feet below and to the west of the old working shaft he discovered a new ore body. The discovery yielded ore that paid its own way from the first shovel full. The ore shoot contained hematite, limonite and silica worth $18 to $40 per ton. W. D. Bohm began construction on a third mill which utilized a dry-crushing cyanide process. However, due to problems with the lease arrangement the mill was never completed. All told, Eaves shipped an estimated $300,000 to $400,000 in ore to the Washoe smelter (Bohm 1906; Billingsley 1913).
Eaves discovery sparked new interest in the property and in 1906 the property again changed hands. The New Southern Cross Company installed a wet-crushing mill and extensively developed the mine. New ore bodies were discovered that significantly extended the life of the mine. In 1910 the Anaconda Copper Mining Co. (ACM) purchased the mine. The next year ACM extended their railroad from Brown's Siding to the mine. The mine's ore, which was somewhat difficult to mill, was high in iron and served as an excellent flux in the ACM smelters in Anaconda. Smelting also solved the problems associated with recovering the precious metals in the ore. The mine continued to produce fluxing ores with gold values until the gold mining suspension order of 1942. At $5,000,000 the mine is credited with three-quarters of the production of the district that bears its name (Billingsley 1913; DeMunck 1956).
The mine was initially developed through a series of shallow shafts on the east vein and the Eaves incline shaft on the west vein. Later development occurred through the 3-compartment vertical shaft on the Pleides claim which was sunk to the 600 foot level. Underground workings included several miles of drives and crosscuts that extended down to the 600 foot level. This level was 60 feet below the elevation of the nearby Georgetown Lake. The increased presence of water in the mine was a contributing factor in its closure (Earll 1972).
The Southern Cross mill was at first a dry-crushing cyanide plant. As such it was reported to have extracted 70 to 85 percent of the value out of the cellular oxidized ore. In 1907 the plant was remodeled and modernized. Crushed ore from a Blake crusher was sent through wet rolls and then a Chilean mill. Two Colorado impact screens sent oversized back to the mill and finer materials over amalgamation plates and then into Dorr classifiers. The coarse classified materials were directed to five 250-ton cyanide tanks. The fines were sent to cone thickeners and then treated by the Moore filter process (Emmons and Calkins 1913).
The Hold Fast properties which were worked in association with the Southern Cross mine reported production every year between 1909 and 1930 and then intermittently until 1940. The Oro Fino likewise reported production from 1909 to 1929 and in 1937. The Short Shift produced in 1914 - 1915, and intermittently from 1921 to 1937 (WPA 1941).
The Twilight mine is just east of the confluence of Flint Creek and the outlet of Echo Lake on the west slope of Cable Mountain. It is about 3,500 feet northeast of the Southern Cross mine. The crosscut tunnel driven to the northeast intersects the lode 125 feet from the portal; a 400-foot drift follows the vein to the east with some stoping above and below this level. A 100 foot winze was sunk 380 feet from the portal and drifts were run at 50 and 100 feet. At the east end of the workings a shaft connects to the surface.
The country rock is the Hasmark formation with ore coming from a replacement vein of variable width. The vein is widest at the 100 foot level. Ores are oxides such as hematite, limonite and quartz.
In 1906 the mine was acquired by Paul A. Fusz and John R. Lucas of Philipsburg. They drove a 1,000 foot tunnel to explore the lode at depth. The 10- stamp mill for the mine was built on Flint Creek. The mill reportedly processed 1,000 tons of ore. The ore was low grade, but it was easily mined and treated which significantly lowered expenses. The mill was in ruins when described in 1913 (Emmons and Calkins 1913).
The War Eagle is located southeast of Georgetown Lake about a mile southwest of the Gold Coin mine in the Silver Lake district. The mine was developed through a 150-foot drift driven on a vein. A shallow winze was sunk near the portal to develop oxidized ferruginous quartz that is locally stained with copper (Emmons and Calkins 1913).
Abandoned Mine Reclamation Bureau (AMRB)
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