aka Flint Creek aka Granite
The quartz mines of Philipsburg were discovered in 1865 by Hector Horton. He had been prospecting Flint Creek when he became interested in the area's quartz outcrops and as a result staked the Cordova lode. The next spring he reported his discovery at the town of Silver Bow starting a stampede to the area. By June of 1866, claims had been staked on many of the important lodes of the area including the Comanche, Hope, Cliff, Franklin, Trout, Gem, Poorman's Joy, and San Francisco lodes (Wolle 1963).
Rocks in the district are chiefly Paleozoic sedimentary rocks with exposed sections from lower Cambrian to Pennsylvanian along with a part of the Pre-Cambrian Spokane formation. A granitic batholith of late Cretaceous or early Tertiary cuts the sedimentary rocks. The calcareous sediments are metamorphosed in the mineralized area. This has developed tremolite, garnet, epidote, diopside, quartz, hornblende, scapolite, and other minerals. Subsequent to the intrusion of the granite and the folding of the sediments, a system of east-west fissures was superimposed upon the structure and extensive mineralization followed. Mineral deposits are silver-bearing veins in granite, silver-bearing replacement veins in the sediments, and silver-bearing deposits in bedding planes of calcareous rocks. Magnetite deposits of contact origin also occur. Manganese is associated with the silver veins and replacement deposits. These deposits have been developed to a depth of 1,000 feet (Sahinen 1935).
In 1866 the Hope and Comanche lodes were obtained by the St. Louis & Montana Mining Company which was at the time actively smelting ore in Argenta. In 1867 the company built a road to its claims and erected the first mill in the district on the property. The $100,000 mill was financed by the capitalists of the St. Louis & Montana Mining Company. Samuel Thomas Hauser was instrumental in obtaining the necessary money. When a camp grew up near the Hope mill, it was named Philipsburg after the man in charge of the mill. The standard joke was that Deidesheimerburg was just too much (Wolle 1963).
Philip Deidesheimer, the inventor of the square-set timbering technique of the Comstock, had earlier been hired to supervise the company's Argenta smelter. For the company's new endeavor on Flint Creek, he superintended the erection of the new stone mill. Named the Stuart Mill after James Stuart, Hauser's partner, the mill was equipped with ten 650-pound stamps, six one-ton pans and three 6-ft settling tanks. The operation was powered by an 80 horsepower steam engine. The mill employed what was known as the Washoe process and was the first silver amalgamation mill in Montana. The St. Louis & Montana Mining Company reorganized as the Hope Mining Company in 1867. The mill then became known as the Hope mill and was converted to the Reese River Process which converted the ore to chlorides (Wolle 1963; Periman and Decco 1994).
The town of Philipsburg originated in July of 1867 and grew at a rapid rate. One observer estimated a new house appeared every day. By the end of the year 250 houses sheltered a population of 1,500. Businesses included 6 general stores, 7 saloons, 3 blacksmith shops, 2 breweries, and 3 livery stables, a steam saw mill, a hotel (Dana's) and a newspaper. Services were provided by 2 doctors. A Masonic hall, the equal to that in Helena, was erected at a cost of $6,000 (Wolle 1963).
The Hope mill ran until 1869, but the process was not effective and much of the silver values escaped to the tailings. Because the new method utilized large quantities of salt, salt for the process had to be fetched from Utah at a cost of $120 per ton. When the cost of salt rose to $320 per ton, all profit was lost. After the mill shut down, the camp withered until only three men remained. In 1870 Purvine & Schneple leased the mill and the town began to revive. In 1872 Brown & Plaisted leased the mill and Col. Lyon ran 500 tons of Trout ore. About this time, lode mining in general got a shot in the arm with the passage of the 1872 mining law which radically extended the size of quartz claims. By 1873 Philipsburg was again in full swing, but investment capital continued to be a problem due to the banking Panic of 1873 (Wolle 1963; Periman and Decco 1994).
At about the same time as the Hope Mill was having problems, the Cole Saunders Silver Concentrating Company was organized to smelt ore from the Poorman's Joy and other properties. Two furnaces were built near the town, but eventually had to be abandoned for lack of flux. The company then leased its property to the Imperial Silver Mining Company, which had built a 5-stamp mill with a reverberatory roasting oven in 1871 (Wolle 1963).
As the district returned to life, the Hon. A. B. Nettleton talked James K. Pardee into looking at properties around the Speckled Trout. Pardee was impressed with the mine. With the help of Philadelphia backers such as Charlemagne Tower, he paid off Nettleton's $151,000 bond to Colonel W. F. Sanders for the Speckled Trout. The North-West Company was then organized to develop the Speckled Trout, Poorman's Joy, Kitty Clyde and Pocahontas mines. A $150,000 mill was built in 1875 a mile east of Philipsburg which employed the Reese River chloridizing roast and the pan-amagamation process. A small camp of 20 cabins was established adjacent to the mill. This camp was at first called Troutville, but later was known as Tower after C. Tower who controlled the North-West Company with Nettleton. Other mines in the area included the Salmon, Gem, the Little Emma and the Osage (Wolle 1963).
To the south of the Troutville mines a 10-stamp mill had been erected to work the ore of the East Comanche and Algonquin mines. These were two of the earliest mines in the district. In 1877 the mines were bought by Philadelphia financiers who organized the Algonquin Company. When a new body of rich ore was discovered in 1880, a 20-stamp mill, also utilizing the same processes as the Trout mill, was built half a mile south of Tower on the north side of Frost Gulch. As the operation grew, additional stamps were added until the roar of 80 stamps filled the Gulch. The camp that grew up around this mill was known as Hasmark (Wolle 1963).
The early 1880's were good ones for the mining district. Until 1881 the Hope mill had been moderately successful and was used to treat ores from mines as far away as Black Pine 12 miles to the north. However, in 1881, the Hope mine reached an especially rich ore body. That year the mine produced $361,000. For the next six years the mine produced between $100,000 and $200,000 each year until the ore body was exhausted in 1887 (Wolle 1963).
The town of Philipsburg expanded with two new hotels, the Kaiser House and the Silver Lake. New buildings included the Good Templars Hall, McDonald's Opera House, the First National Bank, the Merchants & Miners Bank and Kroegen's Brewery. The Northern Pacific reached Drummond in 1883, significantly shortening haulage distances to the railroad. In 1887, a spur line was completed to Philipsburg, eliminating wagon haulage altogether. Although the mine production was lackluster after 1887, the reduced cost of transportation allowed the operation to get by until the next major strike in 1892. But the Hope mine had become overshadowed by a big strike four miles to the north (Wolle 1963).
The boom of the 1880's was in no small part fueled by the location and development of the Granite Mountain mines. The Granite Mountain lode was located on July 6, 1875 after Eli D. Holland took a sample of an outcrop to Philipsburg to be assayed. Although some work was done on the property, the real development of the mine had to wait until 1880 when Charles D. McLure, the superintendent of the Hope mill found a specimen of ruby silver on the dump. The specimen was assayed at 2,000 ounces of silver per ton. McLure negotiated a $40,000 bond with the owners under his own name. With Charles Clark, he formed a mining syndicate. Clark traveled to St. Louis and capitalized the Granite Mountain Mining Company to the tune of $10,000,000. For the next two years $130,000 was spent developing the mine. Stories are told that a telegram from the investors told McLure to shut down operations, and at the same time a cable from McLure to the investors announced the discovery of a rich body of ore. Whether the stories are true or not, in November of 1882 after 115 feet of barren ground, ore was encountered in the Bonanza Chute that assayed at 1,700 ounces of silver per ton. The next summer and autumn the Bonanza Chute sent fourteen hundred tons of ore to the Algonquin mill with a return of $274,000 (Emmons and Calkin 1913; Wolle 1963).
In 1884 a town developed around the Granite mine as miners built cabins on lots rented to them by the company for $2.50 per month. Near the top of a ridge, the Granite camp was a company town, built by employees on steeply sloping ground. As workers of different nationalities collected in camp, neighborhoods developed: Donegal Row for the Irish, Finnlander Lane, and Cornish Row. Moore House, a three-story hotel, was the pride of the camp and considered one of the best hotels in the Territory. Since no water was available locally, water had to be hauled from Fred Burr Lake until a pipe and flume could be constructed to carry water to a cistern. By 1889 the town had four churches, a newspaper (Granite Mountain Star) and a public school for the enlightenment of the citizens. It also had 18 saloons, a hospital, fire station, bathhouse, a three-story Miners' Union Hall, Knights of Pythias Hall, Masonic Hall, and an Odd Fellows Hall. For fun a roller rink was used for parties and a four-mile bob sled run connected Granite to Philipsburg (Wolle 1963).
The hospital was not just for show; mining was a dangerous occupation. The Bimetallic reported two fatalities in 1891 when Jerry Downey was killed in a blast and Fred Clark was killed by a fall of ground. In 1892 H. B. Smith was killed by a premature explosion. In the Granite mine Samuel Lavin was killed by a blast in 1891. The following year W. F. Cover and W. F. Roberts were killed by falling ground in separate incidents and Hank Shifler and Thomas Rodgers were killed by explosions. In 1893 John C. Darby was killed by a blast (Hogan 1891; 1892; Shoemaker 1894).
McLure was succeeded by John W. Plummer and under his management the mine paid its first dividend of $60,000 in April 1885. A 20-stamp mill was in operation by December of 1885 and was later replaced by an 80-stamp mill. Between 1885 and 1888 the operation produced 2.5 million dollars. In 1888 the mine's production exceeded the capacity of the mill and a new 100-stamp mill was built on Fred Burr Creek. The Rumsey mill, named after Lewis R. Rumsey, the president of Granite Mountain Mining Company between 1884 and 1889, became operational on March 15, 1889. The mine was connected to the mill by an 8,900 foot tramway and to Philipsburg by a 7.7 mile extension of the railroad. A 8,500 foot tunnel was begun at Rumsey and driven to the mine. A camp of 500 mill workers, miners and their families developed around the mill. In 1890 the Granite Mountain operation produced $4 million in silver and gold (Swallow 1891; Emmons and Calkins 1913; Wolle 1963).
In 1882 McLure purchased the James G. Blaine lode which was adjacent to the Granite Mountain. The lode had been located the previous year and McLure had obtained it for $1,200 of his own money. Although he offered it to the Granite Mountain Company at cost, the offer was refused. McLure then formed the Bimetallic Mining Company on equal shares with Charles Clark and J. M. Merrell. Although separate from the Granite Mountain, by 1886 when the company was incorporated, eighty percent of the ownership was the same as Granite Mountain (Wolle 1963).
On Douglas Creek about one mile south of Philipsburg, the Bimetallic mill was built in 1888. The 50-stamp mill, 150 feet wide by 367 feet long, was rated at 75 tons with the capacity to add more stamps later. A separate two-story building housed the mine offices, fireproof vault, kitchen, library, parlor and living quarters. The mine and mill employed 500 workers. Around this operation grew the small town of Kirkville, later known as Clark. The mill began reducing ore in January of 1889. It was connected to the Blaine shaft in Granite by a two mile long tramway. The large iron tram buckets could carry 500 pounds of ore down the mountain and fuel back up. In 1891 the mill was enlarged by 50 stamps to give it a 200-ton capacity. Ore was dumped continuously in the furnace and mixed with rising combusting gases. In 1893 an accompanying slow-cooling chloridization process was nearly perfected and a 4,307 pound bar of silver bullion from the Bimetallic represented the town of Granite at the 1893 World's Fair. Despite the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1893, mining continued through the summer of 1893 (Wolle 1963).
However, the rapidly dropping silver prices spelled the doom of silver camps throughout the west. A day came in August when the engineer at the Granite mill tied down the steam whistle, announcing the end of an era of incredible silver production. The chloridization process was left unperfected. The Douglas Creek tunnel was stopped a few hundred feet from the shaft. The town of Granite became a ghost town overnight as the entire population, with possessions in tow, left the mountain (Emmons and Calkins 1913; Wolle 1963).
For three years, Granite was a ghost town, as the mines slowly resumed production. In 1898 the Granite and Bimetallic properties were consolidated and work resumed. At the time production figures were published that showed the bullion from the Granite Mountain from 1883 to 1898 was worth $22,093,106.26 while that of the Bimetallic was worth $7,267,813,29 with a net profit to stockholders of $13,770,000! From 1898 to 1901 the combined property was the largest silver mine in the world and produced a million dollars of bullion a year. In 1902 a 34,000 pound motor casting for the Bimetallic hoist motor was hauled up the mountain. An 8,850 foot tunnel completed from the portal on Douglas Creek tapped the Bimetallic at 1,000 feet and the Granite Mountain at 1,450 feet (Wolle 1963).
A subsidiary company, Montana Water, Electric Power & Mining Company transformed Georgetown Flat into a reservoir for their power station for the mines. The Flint Creek dam was begun in 1890 to generate power for the nearby towns. It was completed with Granite / Bimetallic money in 1900 and used to power the mines until 1906 (Howard and Porsche 1987).
Although the Granite mines shut down briefly in 1905 because of low silver prices, the mine was back in production the next year. By the end of 1913 the small district had produced $39,000,000, mostly from Granite, Hope and Trout mines. But the mines had been excavated below water level and were reduced to working lower grade ores. After 1920 dividends were paid only at irregular intervals. In the period between 1907 and 1932 the district produced about $7,500,000 in ore. The Granite and Bimetallic reopened in 1934 and 35 men processed 30,000 tons of ore. In 1958 the Trout Mining Division of the American Machine & Metal Corporation were conducting exploration work in the shaft when a fire broke out in the engine room. Although an underground crew was rescued, most of the Granite mine surface structures were destroyed (Emmons and Calkins 1913; Sahinen 1935; Gilbert 1935; Wolle 1963).
With the cut-off of German manganese during World War I, manganese became an important product for the district. The first shipment of manganese ore occurred in 1900, but until 1916, the district was not especially noted for the ore. From 1917 to 1918 the district produced 200,000 tons, half of the manganese ore used in the United States. An exposed manganese deposit on the road from the Algonquin to Philipsburg was the first to be exploited. Later the Algonquin shaft was reopened by the Philipsburg Mining Company to extract ore from a small high grade ore body and to pull quantities of low grade ore. Two Holt caterpillar tractors were initially used to pull five 6-ton Troy ore wagons from the mine to the mill, but were abandoned when traditional methods proved more economical. The first mill erected at the Algonquin to extract the manganese was not efficient and so a second mill was constructed. Three other mills were eventually built in the district to process the ore from 40 different manganese-producing mines. Ores with between 30 and 43 percent manganese were concentrated to about 70 percent at the mill. The most productive mines include the Headlight, Scratch Awl, Trout, West Algonquin and Bernard. After the war, the district's manganese could not compete with foreign metallurgical manganese, but found a market in the production of dry-cell batteries. By 1939 the district had produced 477,000 tons of high grade ore (Goddard 1941; Ageton 1923; Fritzberg 1927; Lorain 1950).
Other mines in the district include Bagdad, Black Bear and Weary End (Fredlund and Shovers 1988).
BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT
Sahinen (1935) places the mines of Philipsburg, Granite and Tower to the east of the town of Philipsburg. The district is an area three miles square on the west slope of a ridge between Flint and South Boulder Creeks. Although separate, the mines near Echo Lake are also associated with the Philipsburg district. The areas to the north, east and south also contain some small unimportant quartz veins. The Flint Creek Dam to the south is discontiguous with the district, but played an important role by providing electrical power for the mines and mills. Figure 1 shows the Philipsburg mining district as defined by Sahinen (1935) and the AMRB (1994).
HISTORIES OF SELECTED MINES
The Algonquin mine is on the north side of Frost Creek near the camp of Hasmark. It was one of the first lode discoveries in the district and a 10-stamp mill was built to work the ores from the Algonquin and the nearby Comanche lode. In 1877 the mine was purchased by a Philadelphia syndicate. A dry-crushing 20-stamp mill was built replacing the earlier structure and roasted ore was treated with the pan-amalgamation process. The mill was expanded eventually to 80 stamps and is credited with nearly half a million dollars of production in 1882 and 1883. However, this figure may also include 1,400 tons of ore from Granite Mountain ore that was treated in the mill (Emmons and Calkins 1913; Wolle 1963).
The Algonquin mine worked a silver-bearing replacement vein in sedimentary rock. The ores resembled those of the nearby Trout mine. Iron and manganese oxide stained quartz was observed on the dumps while the ores were lead carbonate, pyromorphite, galena and other minerals (Emmons and Calkins 1913).
In 1916 the Algonquin mine was reopened as a manganese mine. A mill was erected on the site to concentrate the ore. When this mill proved ineffective, it was replaced by a second mill. The mine recorded eight years of production from 1923 to 1939. From 1937 to 1939 the West Algonquin and associated Bernard mine were reopened and 10,000 tons of manganese ore were taken out (Goddard 1941; Ageton 1923; WPA 1941).
The Bimetallic mine worked the James G. Blaine lode which was adjacent to the Granite Mountain. The lode had been located in 1881 and McLure had obtained it in 1882 for $1,200 of his own money. Although he offered the mine to the Granite Mountain Company at cost, the offer was refused. McLure then formed the Bimetallic Mining Company on equal shares with Charles Clark and J. M. Merrell. Although separate from the Granite Mountain, by 1886 when the company was incorporated, eighty percent of the ownership was the same as Granite Mountain. The Bimetallic mill, similar to the Granite Mountain mill, was built on Douglas Creek about 1.25 miles from Philipsburg. The 60-stamp mill, later expanded to 100 stamps, fed 16 pans and had a capacity of 80 tons per day. A tunnel was begun to tap the mine at depth and provide cheap ore removal and drain the mines to the 1,000 foot level. In 1890 the 3-compartment main shaft was down to 800 feet with levels every 200 feet; these levels extend 950 feet west and 350 feet east to the Granite Mountain mine. The shaft was serviced by a Knowles pump and a Frasier and Chalmers 22 x 60 double cylinder engine was employed winding a 6 x .5 inch cable. The mine employed 135 men underground. In 1892 the shaft was down to 1,400 feet, but no stoping was done below 1000 feet. The mine and mill continued to be worked vigorously until the fall of silver prices in 1893. At the time of closure, the mine was employing 327 men underground and on top. The shaft was down to 1,542 feet. Operations as a major independent mining company ended on August 31, 1893 (Shoemaker 1894; 1895; Swallow 1891; Hogan 1891; 1892; Wolle 1963).
The next year the mine employed only 36 miners and 9 topmen on a 600 foot shaft served by a Webster and Lane 12 x 14 engine. A start was made on a 7,000 foot drain tunnel to tap the mine at 1,000 feet. In 1895, operations resumed out of the 1,500 foot shaft with 75 miners and 25 topmen (Shoemaker 1895; Wolle 1963).
While the mine worked the same vein as the Granite Mountain, the ore was not as rich. However, it still managed to produce $6 million in bullion from 1883 to 1893 and paid out $2 million in dividends. In 1898 the mine was combined with the Granite Mountain mine under the name of the Granite-Bimetallic Consolidated Mining Company (Wolle 1963).
The Granite Mountain mine was first located in 1872, but the claim was allowed to lapse and it was relocated in 1875. Some work was done on the property, principally a 50-foot shaft. In 1880, the manager of the Hope mill in Philipsburg, Charles D. McLure, found a high grade ore sample on the ore dump of the mine. He then obtained a $40,000 bond on the property and spent several thousand dollars developing a block of ground between level 1 and 2. Together with his friend Charles Clark, a syndicate was formed with many of the Hope mine directorate. The syndicate advanced $132,000 for development work. By April of 1881, when the mine was inspected by Prof. J. E. Clayton, $75,000 worth of 44 ounce silver per ton ore had been blocked out. Adit number one had been driven 186 feet and number two driven 443 feet and had tapped an ore vein at 300 feet (Emmons and Calkins 1913).
In 1882, after the first period of development, the Granite Mountain Mine was described in a report to the Trustees as 4,500 feet of a strong quartz vein covered by the Granite Mountain, Granite Mountain Extension and the Peerless Lode. The vein was located on Granite Mountain, the southern abutment of an extensive tableland 3,000 feet above Flint Creek. The development of the vein consisted of two tunnels, 260 and 629 feet long, a level 95 feet long, a 124 feet deep shaft, two other small shafts and shifts. The development revealed the vein to be three to 6.5 feet wide and a horizontal depth of at least 2,500 feet. The vein is separated from granite walls by a thin clay seam. In 1881, 400 tons of ore were stoped out of the mine to be treated at the Hope Mill in Philipsburg. However, the recovery was so poor that the sampling run was halted. Blame was laid on the difficulty in sorting out the high grade ore from the common vein material. Battery assays returned only 28 ounces of silver per ton, too little to meet expenses of mining, transportation and milling. A mill was proposed to be built at the head of Douglas Gulch which could treat the ore profitably by cutting transport costs. In a report to the board of trustees, excuses were made, but it was clear that the money spent on development would not be returned unless additional development to the tune of $85,000 to $115,000 was made on a mill (Lionberger 1882).
In 1882-83 the Granite mine shipped 1,400 tons of ore to the Algonquin mill and made a fair return. As the mine reached greater depths, extremely rich sulphide ore was encountered. When sufficient amounts of ore were blocked out, the company built a dry-crushing stamp mill with a chloridizing roasting oven. A second larger mill with 80 stamps was later built to handle the ever-increasing ore production. In 1889, a third mill of 90 stamps was built at Rumsey to handle the mine's output. The following year over 500 men were employed in the Granite Mountain mine and mills. The 3-compartment Ruby shaft was sunk to 1,200 feet and 53,529,053 tons of ore were reduced to 3,930,329.69 ounces of silver and 8,583.48 ounces of gold worth a combined $4,000,000. The next year the Ruby shaft was sunk to 1,578 feet, but no stoping was done below the 900-foot level. Large pumps were employed to keep the mine dry. A double reel 20 x 60 Corlis engine was attached to 4.25 x .375 inch cable. The mine employed 320 men underground. In 1892, the shaft had reached 1,700 feet with levels at 1400 and 1700 feet. Ore was stoped out from the 1300 foot level and the shaft was retimbered from the 600 foot level to the surfaces. The operation was further upgraded with a new Camp and Lane 28 x 72 cylinder hoisting engine hoisting double deck cages with a 7 x .5 inch wire rope. The peak employment for the mine was reached in 1892 when 440 men worked underground. The next year only 260 were employed underground while 150 were employed on top (Swallow 1891; Hogan 1891; 1892; Shoemaker 1894; Emmons and Calkins 1913).
From 1885 to 1892 the mine and mill were extremely prosperous with $20 million taken out and $11 million paid in dividends. However, the Silver Crash of 93 brought all operations to a halt on September 1, 1893. When the mine reopened three years later, its operations were merged with those of the Bimetallic (Shoemaker 1894; Emmons and Calkins 1913).
The 1896 consolidation of the Granite Mountain and the Bimetallic mines was assisted by their common ownership. Although only low-grade ore remained, a large tonnage had been blocked out. Both mines were worked out of the 1,540 foot Bimetallic shaft. Hoisting was done by a monster 22 x 60 Frasier & Chalmers engine. During down time while the hoist engine was being installed, the 8,850 feet Douglas Creek tunnel, begun in 1894, was completed. The tunnel drained the Bimetallic at 1000 feet and the Granite Mountain shaft at 1,460 feet. This greatly reduced the cost of pumping and ore haulage. A 1,100 kilowatt hydroelectric power plant was built on Flint Creek to supply the mines with electric power. At the plant 700 feet of head operated two 900 horsepower pelton wheels which in turn drove two 550-kw Westinghouse generators. The three phase generators were linked to machinery at the mines and mill by a nine mile transmission line. A 150-ton concentrator was also erected to treat the tailings and waste dumps of the previous operation; the concentrator also enabled the company to process lower grade ore left in the mine (Byrne 1899; 1900; Wolle 1963).
In 1900, 425 men were employed underground and 185 men worked the hoists, mills and offices on the surface. In 1902 the Bimetallic shaft had reached 1,800 feet and the Granite shaft was at 1,600 feet. Work proceeded using cheap electrically generated compressed air, except for the hoists which remained steam powered. Both shafts used double deck safety cages in shafts. Despite the safety changes three men were killed in the mines in 1901-02; one died when he fell from the safety cage. The 150-ton concentrator below the collar of the Bimetallic shaft was expanded to 300-ton capacity . The combined operation managed to produce $1 million a year from 1898 to 1904. Low silver prices in 1905 closed the mine for a year, but by the summer of the next year lessees had 100 men back at work in the mines and sorting the old dumps. After a period of inactivity, from 1910 -12 the mine's drainage tunnel was again worked by lessees; the Bimetallic shaft was overhauled and repaired for future operations that never materialized. Total production (prior to 1913) for the two mines is estimated to be more than $32 million in silver and gold with $15 million paid out in dividends (Byrne 1900; 1902; Walsh 1906; 1910; 1912; Emmons and Calkins 1913).
Although work continued intermittently until 1958 when the Granite Mountain surface structures were destroyed by fire, the mine never returned to its spectacular profits. The Granite (Ruby) shaft reached 1,550 feet and the Bimetallic (Blaine) shaft reached 1,800 feet. The vein had been stoped to 2,600 feet below the surface while total drifts and stopes measured an aggregate 20 miles (Emmons and Calkins 1913).
The Headlight mine is located at Tower and first produced silver ore in 1878. It was reopened in 1908 - 1909. Due to manganese shortages during World War I, the mine was reopened in 1917. The mine was then put into continuous operation. The mine officially reported production intermittently between 1919 and 1928; it was reported in 1939 to be mining 40 to 50 tons of ore daily (Goddard 1941; WPA 1941).
The Hobo mine was one of the larger of the independent mines in the district. It was situated at Hasmark on Camp Creek about 1.5 miles east of Philipsburg. Located in 1884, the mine was developed by Hines & Leach who took out a considerable amount of rich oxide ores. It was leased by McGurt et al in 1897; they employed eight miners to drive the main tunnel to 420 feet and a second tunnel to 180 feet. In 1898, lessee Joe Tamiettie employed 7 men to push the tunnels to 600 feet and 500 feet; a shaft was sunk to 100 feet from the No. 2 tunnel. The mine was then bonded to Charles McLeod, who worked the 2,000 feet tunnel along the vein to reach a depth of 500 feet. In 1906 the mine was worked by George Ternie who extended the tunnel to 2,800 feet. No ore was extracted because of the low price of silver. The mine reported ore production from 1907 to 1919. In 1912 lessees extracted some ore from a crosscut on the tunnel. After 1923 the mine was worked intermittently until 1940 (Byrne 1898; 1899; Walsh 1906; 1912; Emmons and Calkins 1913; WPA 1941)
Like the Granite Mountain mine the Hobo worked a silver-bearing vein in granite. The lower tunnel had a wide variety of ores, but they were too low of a grade to work profitably. Three other tunnels were driven on the vein at higher elevations. The oxidized upper levels carried lead carbonate with some pyromorphite and wire silver. The richest sulphide ore came from the 200 to 300-ft level and was said to carry 100 ounces of silver and $3 gold per ton. A reported $100,000 in ore was taken from the mine ( Emmons and Calkins 1913).
Located in 1865, the Hope lode was one of the first to be claimed in the district. The claim along with those associated with it, the Comanche, Little Emma, Potosi, Porter, Take All, Field and Prince Imperial, were sold to the St. Louis & Montana Mining Company in 1867. On the Hope property, they erected a 10-stamp mill with pans to work the Washoe process. Philip Deidesheimer, the inventor of the square-set timbering technique of the Comstock, was placed in charge of the operation. The mill was originally named the Stuart after James Stuart, one of the original partners of the enterprise. The St. Louis & Montana Mining Company reorganized as the Hope Mining Company in 1867. The mill then became known as the Hope mill and operated until the cost of procuring salt for the process exceeded profits in 1869 (Emmons and Calkins 1913).
The mine was operated by lessees for two years beginning in 1872. As the silver industry revived in the mid-1870s the Hope mine with its modest ores grew more active. In 1881 a large body of high grade ore was discovered. The following year the mine yielded $361,000. The following years the mine produced between $100,000 and $200,000 and in 1887 produced $354,000. The 2-compartment shaft reached a depth of 235 feet and was well timbered with 8 x 8 foot timbers. After this time the high grade ore was exhausted and the mine resumed its former modest earnings. In 1891 the mine employed only 34 men and a small Ledgerwood engine was used to operated a bucket on a .75 inch steel rope. The following year only 27 men were employed stoping in the 1,600 foot long Jubilee tunnel. The shaft had been extended to 400 feet in 1893 when silver prices fell in 1893. The mine closure threw 24 men out of work. However, the mine closure was only temporary; by 1895 26 miners and five topmen were employed at the mine working the shaft and a 1,870 foot tunnel. In 1897, the shaft, served by a 9 x 12 Frasier and Chalmers engine, connected with the tunnel 540 feet from the portal (Shoemaker 1894; 1896; Byrne 1898; Hogan 1891; 1892; Emmons and Calkins 1913).
The mine was worked by 36 men in 1898 and in 1900, 25 men were reported to be working in a 2,500 foot tunnel and a 550 foot double compartment shaft. The hoist was described as a 50-horsepower friction engine that raised and lowered a safety cage on a 1-inch cable. Ore was treated at the company's 10 stamp mill which utilized pans and settlers (Hogan 1891; Byrne 1899; 1901; Emmons and Calkins 1913).
The mine managed to stay open even when other silver mines in the area closed. In 1905-06 when silver prices again plunged, the Hope mine was busy extracting high grade gold ore out of chamber deposits. While the mine's silver mill stood idle, thirty miners were employed extracting and shipping 800 tons of ore per month. Lessees continued to develop the mine as they actively prospected for new ore bodies. The mine reported production from 1906 to 1917 and in 1922 (Walsh 1906; 1910; 1912; WPA 1941).
The mine initially worked silver deposits in bedding planes of Jefferson limestone. The Hope Hill is honeycombed with miles of stopes, cross cuts, drifts and tunnels. Much of the early wealth was taken out of the Porter incline shaft which is connected at its base to the Jubilee Tunnel. The Jubilee Tunnel enters the west slope of the hill and is driven to the Shapleigh shaft, a distance of 540 feet. The Shapleigh shaft is 570 feet deep with levels at 100, 300, and 470 feet below the tunnel level. These in turn are connected by winzes, stopes, and inclines. The Jubilee workings also connect with the Field and Cuno shafts; the original Hope Discovery workings are connected to the lower excavations by raises, drifts and cross cuts. In its first 40 years of production, the mine produced a total of nearly $4 million in ore (Emmons and Calkins 1913).
The Scratch Awl was one of the first silver lodes discovered in the district, and recorded production in 1875 when it was worked in a small way in association with the Salmon lode. By 1907 the workings were inaccessible. The mine was reopened in 1917, when it supplied a moderate amount of manganese for the war effort. The mine recorded production nearly every year between 1919 and 1927. Between 1928 and 1939 the mine was reported to have produced 50,000 tons of manganese ore and 60,000 tons of silver-zinc ore. By 1939 the mine was the most active in the district. The mine is developed through a 500-foot shaft with three levels with 8,000 feet of workings. On the 500-foot level the mine is connected to the True Fissure lode to the north and to the Cliff lode on the west (Gilbert 1935; WPA 1941).
The Trout mine, originally claimed as the Speckled Trout, is on the ridge between Camp and Frost Creeks, between the towns of Hasmark and Tower. In the early 1870's the Honorable A. B. Nettleton convinced James K. Pardee into examining properties around the Speckled Trout lode. Pardee was impressed with the mine and with the help of Philadelphia backers such as Charlemagne Tower, he paid off Nettleton's $151,000 bond to Colonel W. F. Sanders for the Speckled Trout. The North-West Company was then organized to develop the Speckled Trout, Poorman's Joy, Kitty Clyde and Pocahontas mines. A $150,000 mill was built in 1875 a mile east of Philipsburg which employed the Reese River chloridizing roast and the pan-amalgamation processes. A small camp of 20 cabins was established adjacent to the mill. The camp was at first called Troutville, but later was known as Tower after C. Tower who controlled the North-West Company with Nettleton. Other mines in the area included the Salmon, Gem, the Little Emma and the Osage (Wolle 1963; Emmons and Calkins 1913).
The mine worked a silver bearing replacement vein in limestone and shale. The Phillipsburg batholith contact with sedimentary rocks is located about 200 yards west of the mine. The ore was extracted from a 550 foot deep 2-compartment shaft with most ore taken from the 150 and 200-foot levels. The mine worked galena, zinc blende, pyrite, ruby silver and gray copper ore carrying 20 to 150 ounces silver and $3 or $4 gold per ton. It was estimated that in its early days, the mine produced half a million dollars worth of ore. Although the mine was closed by the drop of silver prices in 1893, some work was done by lessees in 1910 (Walsh 1910; 1912; Emmons and Calkins 1913).
In 1917 the Gem claim shaft was reopened and manganese mining commenced. From September 1917 to November 1918, 30,000 tons of ore were extracted. During this period several thousand tons of ore were also extracted out of the Pocahontas shaft. This shaft was previously developed in 1912 to a depth of 100 feet to extract 50 ounces of silver per ton ore. In 1924 the Trout property was taken over by the Trout Mining Division of the American Machine & Metals, Inc. In 1934, the mine employed 94 men in the mill and mine. From 1924 to 1937 the Trout properties were in continuous operation and their combined production was 166,034 tons of manganese ore and 240,000 tons of silver-zinc ore (Goddard 1941; Gilbert 1935).
When described in 1927 the Trout operation was utilizing a 2-compartment shaft with 100 foot levels. A 50 horsepower single drum hoist was used to extract 100 tons of ore per eight-hour shift. A 6 x 5 inch Aldrich triplex pump was used to keep the mine drained. A 17 x 10 x 14 inch Ingersoll compressor powered the drills at 90 lbs. Ore was hauled by team to the mill where it was passed over a magnetic separator, passed through a Blake jaw crusher, sent through a Ruggles-coles A8 drier (with dust collector), elevated to a Leahy-No Blind screen (0.5 inch); oversized materials passed through 30 x 14 in. rolls and the fines sent through another similar set of rolls. From there the fine material was sent up an elevator to a Colorado Impact screen where it was sorted and fines sent to Leahy-No Blind screens to be further sorted and put in bins. Type 3 E Wetherill separators were employed to concentrate the ore magnetically. From these separators the concentrates were placed in bins where they could be fed directly to railroad cars (Fritzberg 1927).
Emmons and Calkins (1913) also discuss mines working silver-bearing veins in granite such as the Puritan, Silver Chief, Mitchell, San Francisco, Granite Belle, Royal Metals Tunnel, Three Metals and Salt Hill Tunnels, Pearl mine, Annie Marony claim and Young American Claim. On silver-bearing replacement veins the Gem, Blackmail, Salmon, Headlight, Midnight, Imperial, True Fissure, Levi Burr, Terrid, Cliff, Sanders, Mystery Tunnel, and Basin mine were discussed. Mines working silver-bearing deposits in bedding planes of calcareous rocks include the Sweet Home, Cadgie Taylor, Two Per Cent, New Hope and Copper Jack. Mines working magnetite deposits include the Redemption Iron Mine and the Silver Lode Iron Mine. Gilbert (1935) briefly describes additional manganese mines including: the Moorlight, Mont-York and Two Percent mines. The WPA (1941) also identified mineral production from the McKay lodes, Moorlight, Old Chief (the Hobo), Philipsburg Mining Company, Pocahontas, Silver Prince, Two Per Cent, and Young America claims.
Abandoned Mine Reclamation Bureau (AMRB)
1994 Mining districts of Montana. Maps 1:100,000 and Map #94-NRIS-129. Compiled and edited by Joel Chavez. Prepared by Montana State Library Natural Resource Information System (NRIS) for Montana Department of State Lands. Helena
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1917 "Ore Deposits of the Boulder Batholith of Montana", American Institute of Mining and Engineering Bulletin #124. pp. 641-717.
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1939 "History of Geology and Ore Deposits", Seven Talks About Mines, pp. 10-19.
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