Blue Cloud Gulch is located about 11 miles west of Helena. The district has seen very little placer or lode mining. The first mention of the district in mining literature occurred in 1869, when Comer & Company were reported to be operating a mill which was working Blue Cloud lode ore. The district was said to contain numerous promising veins worth developing (Bassett and Magee 1869).
In 1890, G. C. Swallow, Montana Mine Inspector, reported that the district had some promising mines and that a 10-stamp mill had been erected to work the ores of the district. Unfortunately, little detail was included in the report and the information was not repeated elsewhere. The Arrowhead property, no location given, reported production in 1908, 1909, 1913, and 1915. The Old Dominion property, presumably in Old Dominion Gulch, reported some production from 1908 to 1910 and again in 1940. The Wilkerson property in Old Dominion Gulch shipped one lot of iron ore with gold and silver values in 1924. Another anonymous lode mine in the district was reported to have produced 12 tons of ore in 1934. The ore yielded $152 in gold along with four ounces of silver, and 47 pounds of copper. Total value for the carload was listed at $156 (Swallow 1891; Montana Bureau of Mines n.d.).
In 1936, the Blue Cloud Placer Syndicate controlled about 500 acres of Blue Cloud gulch. The company tested the ground on 200 acres and found values at bedrock, 20 to 60 feet from the surface. A dragline was initially used to work these gold-bearing gravels. Later, the equipment was said to have been upgraded (Greenfield 1936).
BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT
There is no historic definition of this district. Mines were mentioned in Blue Cloud Gulch in several sources, but no boundaries or dimensions were given. The Blue Cloud Gulch mines and the placers appear to be generally discussed as part of the adjacent Austin district.
HISTORIES OF SELECTED MINES
Blue Cloud Placer
The Blue Cloud placer in Blue Cloud Gulch appears to be the only mining venture in the district of any significant size or production. Although a dragline was in operation in 1937, little else is known of the mine's operation or production (Greenfield 1936).
Blue Cloud lode
Located in Blue Cloud Gulch, the Blue Cloud lode was in operation in the late 1860s. In 1869, ore from the mine was being worked in the Comer & Co. mill (Bassett and Magee 1869).
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
Bassett, S. P. and Joseph Magee
Statistical Almanac for 1869 and Year Book of Facts Showing Material Resources of Montana
. Montana Publishihg Co. Helena.
1936 "Gold Dredging Operations Near Helena, Montana",
, Vol. 20, No. 14, pp. 5, 29. Montana Bureau of Mines
n.d. Vertical files for mining districts.
Swallow, G. C., J. B. Trevarthen and Jacob Oliver 1891
Reports of Inspectors of Mines, State of Montana, year ending November 30th, 1890
. Journal Publishing Company, Helena.
Work Projects Administration (WPA) Mineral Resources Survey
Montana Mine Index, An Alphabetical Index Arranged by Counties, Districts and Mines of Information on Montana Mines from 1867-1940
. Montana School of Mines, Butte.