HISTORIC CONTEXT

aka Cable Mountain aka Hidden Lake (sub-district) aka Fred Burr Lake (sub-district)


Activity in the Red Lion district, northeast of Georgetown Lake at the headwaters of the North Fork of Flint and Fred Burr creeks, began in the late 1880s when the Red Lion lode was located. By 1891 a 10-stamp mill was built on the North Fork of Flint Creek to work the mine's ore, but early milling efforts fell short and nearly half the gold values were lost (Swallow 1891).

Geologically, the sedimentary rocks in the district range from Newland limestone (Beltian) to the Madison limestone (Mississippian). The structure is complexly modified by a fault line which in the western part of the district brings the Newland Limestone in contact with the Jefferson formation. Beds are offset by many cross-faults with a general northwest trend. The granodiorite of the Philipsburg batholith cuts off sedimentary deposits in the northern portion of the district. Ore deposits occur as replacements in limestones, fissure-fillings cutting various sediments and as contact deposits in limestone (Sahinen 1935).

The Milwaukee Gold Extraction company was formed in 1901 and spent $60,000 acquiring all of the operating properties in the district. The Hannah mine and the Red Lion district as a whole were actively promoted by the company with reports of one vein 5 feet wide carrying $20 per ton in gold and another vein 60 feet wide carrying $15 per ton in gold. Plans were made for a new 100-ton amalgamation and cyanidation mill and a town site was platted; the new mill was to be a mile closer to the Hannah mine than the old Red Lion mill. This vein was 60 feet wide and carried 40 percent iron in addition to its gold values. A 3,800 foot long tramway was installed in 1905 to deliver ore from the existing Hannah shaft to the mill site. In the summer of 1906 a stamp mill and bunkhouses for the mill workers were erected. This marked the district's zenith; 200 men were employed and two mills were reported to be active. One of these mills was the rarely active 3-stamp Dougherty mill which was rated at only 40 tons per day. The other mill was the new Milwaukee Gold Extraction mill, but there was no evidence that any ore was actually run through the mill. No tailings were observed below the mill and the tramway showed rust but no wear. The investment in the development of the mine and mill exceeded the actual values of the available ore (Earll 1972).

In 1912 the operation was taken over by W. B. Rogers of Anaconda. The tunnel was extended to 600 feet and several shafts had been sunk on the vein. Mining at the Hannah was brought to a close by foreclosure in 1914. A new company, the Badger Montana Company, took over development of the mine after the foreclosure. On the Thurston claim 300 feet from the mill site an adit was begun which was projected to extend 700 feet to the Hannah vein. Unfortunately, little or no ore was found. The mill was destroyed by fire during World War II as part of an effort to extract metal from the mill for the war effort (Earll 1972).

Other important mines in the district include the Modoc, American Flag, Montana, Greater New York, St. Thomas, Golden Eagle, Flint Creek, Northern Cross, Yellow Metal, and Nineteen-Hundred. In 1912, the important mills of the district were the American Flag, Dougherty and Red Lion. All employed both cyanidation and amalgamation. The American Flag mill had a capacity of 50 short tons per day. The Dougherty stamp mill had a capacity of 40 short tons per day. The Red Lion 10-stamp mill could process 30 short tons per day (Hall and Rickman 1912; Wolle 1963).

Hidden Lake Sub-district

The Hidden Lake sub-district is situated several miles to the south of the Red Lion. The first claim located was the Blue Eyed Annie in 1900. One of the locators of the mine was named Robinson and the claim may have subsequently become known as the Robinson mine. Another claim located in 1905, the Venture, became known as the Hidden Lake mine. A large mill was built on this property. North of this mine was a small community which served the district's mines; the town became known as Diaperville (Earll 1972).

Fred Burr Lake Sub-district

The Fred Burr Lake sub-district is a collection of patented mineral claims around Fred Burr Lake. These claims have the unlikely names of Lilly, Duck, Island, Trout and Rabbit along with some more traditional names such as the High Ore. However, no mines, minerals or even ore has ever been located in the district. The legality of patenting claims without mineral development can be argued, but there is no denying the system's effectiveness in protecting the water supply of Philipsburg (Earll 1972).

BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT

Sahinen (1935) places the Red Lion district in the southeast part of Granite County about five miles southeast of Philipsburg. The mines are in the upper North Fork of Flint Creek basin, north of the Georgetown - Southern Cross district.

Figure 1 shows the Red Lion mining district as defined by the AMRB (1994) with the Hidden Lake and Fred Burr Lake sub-districts delineated.

HISTORIES OF SELECTED MINES

Badger - Montana

The Badger - Montana mine worked the Surprise lode claim along with 11 other claims with an aggregate 227 acres patented. The property was located about four miles from Southern Cross. The mine was developed with 3,700 feet of shafts, adits, drifts, and open cuts. It was last operated in 1926 and had fallen into disrepair when examined in 1935. At the time of inspection, lessees were actively pursuing a "showing" in the Surprise lode (Gilbert 1935).

Dougherty Mill

The Dougherty mill is located in the SW1/4, SE1/4 of section 23 T6N, R13W on Warm Springs Creek was about half a mile below the Montana mine. The mill was a log structure with three gravity stamps and amalgamation plates. Only a few tons of Montana ore were treated in the plant. In 1906 some ore from the Robinson mine to the south was taken to the mill for experimental treatment. From 1911 to 1917 the mill was used to process the ore from the Hidden mine (Emmons and Calkins 1913; Haun 1976).

When visited in 1976 the mill site contained two log cabins with collapsed roofs, several smaller collapsed buildings and the mill. The mill was in an advanced state of collapse, but still contained a steam boiler (Haun 1976; HRC 1989).

Flint Creek

The Flint Creek mine is located about 1,500 feet north of the Golden Eagle. Several tunnels, the longest being 1,000 feet long, were dug to find the source of rich quartz float. The adit cut a number of narrow veins and some were stoped. These veins were either fissure fillings or sheeted zones in quartzite. None appeared to be the source of the float. Ore was hauled out by wagon and treated in the Gold Coin mill near Silver Lake. The operation was said to have produced several thousand dollars worth of ore (Emmons and Calkins 1913).

Golden Eagle

The Golden Eagle mine consisted of eight patented claims on Cable Mountain between Southern Cross and Red Lion. It was the southernmost of the Red Lion mines and was connected with the Flint Creek road by a steep zigzagging trail about .5 mile long. Herman Mohn located the claim in 1896 when he found some rich specimens in the gulch. He developed a 900 foot crosscut tunnel to four narrow veins of quartz, pyrite, and iron oxides. In 1904 Mohn noticed some rich float along the trail below the adit and picked up a rock which was literally half gold. He traced float upward to a point 80 feet below and 200 feet east of the old tunnel. A new adit was developed 700 feet along the contact of quartzite and shale. The ore contained flakes of gold in blue quartz as well as silvanite and a sulphur-tellurium compound of bismuth. Visible gold was confined to joint planes and to quartz near the contact with the shale but not in the quartzite itself. The vein width varied from a few inches to over ten feet. The ore was as valuable as any seen on Cable Mountain (Bohm 1906; Emmons and Calkins 1913).

In 1912 the Golden Eagle was operated by Allen Gold Mining Co. The property was developed by tunnels from 900 to 1000 feet in length. Several veins were cut that had high free-milling gold values. By 1935 the property was in the hands of the Butte and Anaconda Mining Company. Apparently little development work had been done between 1912 and 1935 when two 900 foot long adits were reported along with a 300 foot crosscut. A low-grade gold vein, 15 to 20 feet wide, was reported to run the length of the Golden Eagle claim. The ore was thought to have some relationship to a shale contact (Walsh 1912; Gilbert 1935).

Hannah

In 1906 the Hannah (also spelled Hanna) group was owned and operated by the Milwaukee Gold Extraction Co. and was developed by George Savage. Thirty men were employed on a crosscut tunnel 300 feet long which tapped a vein at 200 feet. The Hannah worked a replacement vein in limestone. The vein was reported to be over 30 feet wide and averaged over $15 to the ton. The iron oxide ore was reported to be transported by a 3,800 foot Bletcher aerial gravity tram to a 150-ton mill and a 100-ton cyanide mill where gold values were to be extracted. However, the tram and mill show evidence of having never been used (Bohm 1906; Walsh 1906; Sahinen 1935; Earll 1972).

The Hannah mill was described in detail in 1906. Ore was first reduced in size by a Blake crusher, passed through wet-crushing rolls and then fed into a Chilean mill. Materials were then sorted through a 40-mesh impact screen to pass over amalgamation plates. From there the material was sent to four cones from which coarse material was sent via sand pumps to the five 20 foot wide cyanide tanks; the fine material was classified. The coarser classifieds were then passed over additional amalgamation plates and joined the slimes in the tailings dam. The process required five days for leaching and saved 85 percent of the values. The cyanide section of the mill was to be operated by ACM. It was reported that the last run in 1906 was free-milling and cyanidation was deemed unnecessary. There is no evidence that the mill was used again after the test run (Bohm 1906; Emmons and Calkins 1913).

In 1912 the operation was taken over by W. B. Rogers of Anaconda. The tunnel had been extended to 600 feet and several shafts had been sunk on the vein. Rogers employed eight men at the mine. While the mine had reported production in 1905, 1906 and 1908, it was discussed in the mining literature from 1903 to 1906 and again in 1913 (Walsh 1912; WPA 1941).

Hidden Lake

The Hidden Lake mine is located in the west central portion of section 35, T6N, R13W on the east face of Cable Mountain. The mine consists of four patented and 13 unpatented mining claims near Hidden Lake. Patented claims include the Gold Bug No. 1 and 2 and the Cecelia May No. 1 and 2. The mines were patented soon after their discovery by H. C. Robinson. The mine was first mentioned in the mining literature in 1903, but the first recorded production from the mine occurred from 1910 to 1912. The mine was developed in succession by the Hidden Lake Mining Company, N. C. Bacorn, Mt. Cable Leasing Company (Haun 1976; WPA 1941).

In 1935 the operation was owned by Lakes Mining and Milling Syndicate which employed 30 men and extracted 16,000 tons of ore. The main adit cut into the vein 50 feet below the outcrop. The mine was also developed by a 200 foot shaft and a winze. The fault fissure vein in Newland quartzite was worked by 3,000 feet of crosscuts and drifts. The ores, magnetite, limonite, and pyrite, were processed on-site in an electric 75-ton all-slime cyanide plant. In 1936 the Lakes Mining and Milling Syndicate was reorganized as the Hidden Lake Venture, Inc. Ore production increased in 1936, but declined in 1938 - 40. After the Mine Closure Act of 1942, no further production was recorded and the mine was sold for back taxes in 1946. A 37 ton load of high grade ore was shipped in 1947. The mine is credited with $844,557 in gold (Gilbert 1935; WPA 1941; Haun 1976; Light 1989).

When visited in 1976 the mine remains consisted of the large timber headframe over the shaft, and the mill which was immediately below the shaft collar. Much of the milling equipment was still in place. The remains of two small mining communities were also observed. The former contained nine log structures in various states of collapse. The latter contained 14 frame and log structures also in various states of collapse. An earthen dam and pumphouse which provided water to the Hidden mine's mill were also recorded at that time (Haun 1976).

Modoc and American Flag

The property consists of four patented claims near the divide between Flint Creek and Warm Springs Creek, immediately north of the Hannah mine. When described by Bohm (1906) the claims were little developed owing to insufficient exposure of workable ore. The border of the Philipsburg batholith passes through the claims, producing contact deposits. The limestone in the contact has been changed to marble. On the Modoc claim the granite near the contact is impregnated with iron and copper sulphides that contain some gold values. Initially the mine worked several prospects by means of shallow shafts, short tunnels, and trenches. The longest development was a crosscut tunnel several hundred feet long that was driven to tap the vein at depth; this was collapsed in 1906. Some of the ore from the initial development was worked in an arrastra below the mine in Warm Springs Creek. The mine had recorded production in the 1890s and in 1910 (Bohm 1906; Emmons and Calkins 1913).

When visited in 1912, the Modoc mine was being developed by Highland Pritchard. It was accessed through a 100 foot shaft serviced by a gasoline hoist. The vein at the bottom of the shaft was drifted 125 feet to the east and the west. When the mine was idled in 1916, development had progressed to include three shafts: 30, 100 and 200 feet in depth. By 1935 the hoist and plant had been dismantled (Walsh 1912; Gilbert 1935; Sahinen 1935).

A mill called the American Flag was active in the district in 1912, but it may have been the ill-fated Milwaukee Gold Extraction mill (Hall and Rickman 1912).

Montana

The Montana Mine is located on the crest of the saddle between Red Lion Mountain and Cable Mountain. The mine was located in 1902 and by 1906 a shaft had been sunk to 100 feet. Around the mine several cabins were built to house the workers and their families. The mine tapped a vertical lode in the quartzite of the Spokane formation. The lode is a sheeted zone from 1 to 2 feet wide where fissures are closely spaced, forming a breccia of quartzite; the fragments are cemented by quartz and pyrite. The ore is composed of quartz and oxidized pyrite which carries small flakes of gold. A small quantity of the ore was shipped to the smelter and a few tons run through the Dougherty mill half a mile below the mine (Periman and Jackman 1990).

Red Lion

The Red Lion mine was active in the late 1880s. Two shafts were sunk on the ore body 350 feet apart. One of the shafts was 180 feet deep and had two levels with drift. The mine worked a tabular ore body in the bedding of the native limestone. The replacement vein was from 2 to 4 feet wide and carried from $5 to $20 in gold per ton. Ores were primarily quartz, calcite, pyrite, limonite, specularite and magnetite. A 10-stamp amalgamation mill was built on Flint Creek below the mine to work the ores. The operation was said to have produced $38,000 in gold. The mine was inaccessible and the mill dismantled by 1906 (Swallow 1891; Emmons and Calkins 1913).

The Red Lion mine worked a replacement vein in limestone. The mine reported production in 1909, 1910 and 1915. It was discussed in the mining literature in 1904, 05, and 13 (Sahinen 1935; WPA 1941).

Greater New York, St. Thomas, Northern Cross, Yellow Metal, Nineteen Hundred, and Robinson

These mines were developed to a lesser extent with less than 500 feet of underground workings. Several achieved production, but none produced more than a few thousand dollars of gold. The mines worked fissure or fault veins (Emmons and Calkins 1913; Sahinen 1935).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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

Billingsley, Paul, and Grimes, J. A.

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Amer. Inst. Min. Engr. Trans.

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Byrne, John and Frank Hunter

1899

Tenth Annual Report of the Inspector of Mines of the State of Montana for the Year ending November 30th, 1898

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Earll, F. N.

1972 Mines and Mineral Deposits of the Southern Flint Creek Range, Montana.

Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Bulletin 84

. Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology, Butte.

Emmons, William Harvey and Frank C. Calkins

1913 "Geology and Ore Deposits of the Philipsburg Quadrangle, Montana",

U. S. Geological Survey, Professional Paper 78.

Ferguson, Henry Gardiner and L. P. Benedict

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Montana Bureau of Agriculture, Labor and Industry, 10th Report

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Gidel, Murl A.

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Seven Talks About Mines

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Gilbert, Frederick C.

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Hall, J. H. and M. L. Rickman

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Haun, Alan E.

1976 "Archaeological Investigation Hidden Mine Timber Sale", Deer Lodge National Forest.

Light, Timothy

1989 "Cultural Resource Inventory: Hidden Lake Project, Deerlodge National Forest, Granite County, Montana", submitted to Western Gold Exploration and Mining Company, Missoula by Heritage Research Center, Missoula.

Historic Research Consultants (HRC)

1989 "Cultural Resource Inventory; Hidden Lake Project, Deerlodge National Forest; Granite County, Montana", Submitted to Western Gold Exploration and Mining Company.

Light, Timothy

1989 "Cultural Resource Inventory: Robinson Project, Deerlodge National Forest, Granite County, Montana", prepared for Western Gold Exploration and Mining Company, Missoula, by Heritage Research Center, Missoula.

Periman, Richard and Julia E. Jackman

1990 "Robison Project II" Cultural Resource Inventory Report, Deerlodge National Forest.

Sahinen, Uuno M.

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Swallow, G. C., J. B. Trevarthen and Jacob Oliver

1891

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1906

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1963

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1941

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