HISTORIC CONTEXT

aka Blackfoot

aka Silver

The Heddleston district [also sometimes called the Blackfoot or Silver district] was named for William Heddleston who, with his partner George Padbury, discovered the Calliope Lode in 1889. A small mining operation was begun and an arrastra was built on Pass Creek to process the ore. The two miners took out $11,000 worth of gold ore before the vein ran out a few years later. The Mike Horse, Carbonate, Paymaster, Midnight, and Anaconda [no connection to the Butte-based company of the same name] mines were also started during these early years but the district's development was hampered by the difficult access to the area. Unlike many other mining districts in the region which started with placer operations, the Heddleston district was, from the beginning, developed through underground lode mining. The only placer mining activity in the district did not occur until 1931 when only 3.1 ounces of gold were taken (Lyden 1948; Wolle 1963; Miller et al. 1973; Richmond 1973).

The oldest rocks in the area are Proterozoid quartzites and argillites of the Spokane Shale formation of the Belt group which dip gently to the north. They have been intruded by a sill of Cretacious or Tertiary diorite 500 feet thick. Trachyte and rhyolite also occur as dikes. The ore deposits have been described as "filled breccias in which more or less replacement has occurred." They are tabular, fairly regular, several feet wide, and continuous for several hundred feet vertically and horizontally The deposits form a group of steeply dipping northwesterly trending fissures. Post-mineral faulting has crushed but not displaced the ore bodies. Ore occurs in definite shoots. Some disseminated deposits also occur. They consist of cupiferous pyrite in basic granite. The sulphide constitutes 5 to 10 % of the rock. gold content is low but secondary enrichment has made some small but commercial ore bodies of disseminated chalcocite (Sahinen 1935).

The Heddleston district also differed from the common pattern of other mining districts, in that it never went through an early gold and/or silver boom. Although gold and silver have been steadily produced from the district's mines, the preponderance of the district's mineral wealth has come from the production of base metals such as lead, copper, zinc and molybdenum. Following the modest initial production from the Calliope mine, there was a small amount of intermittent production at the Mike Horse mine which was located in 1898. The district saw a revival of mining activity in 1915 when the Mike Horse mine was taken over by the Sterling Mining and Milling Company of Ellensburg, Washington. A major lead deposit was located at the Mike Horse in 1919 and a concentrating mill was built to process the mine's ores, as well as the ore from the Anaconda and Paymaster mines. The deposit continuously produced lead ore, along with some gold and silver ore, for the next decade. By 1930 the district had produced $2 million worth of ores and concentrates (Wolle 1963; McClernan 1983; Miller et al. 1973; Miller 1989; Anderson and Moore 1985).

In 1938 the Mike Horse mine was leased to the Mike Horse Mining and Milling Company. The following year a 150 tons-per-day flotation mill was built, and in 1940 a 15-mile electric power line was strung from Marysville to the mine. Sufficient ores were mined at the Mike Horse, Little Nell and Intermediate veins to keep the mill operating until mid-1945. At this point it was purchased by the American Smelting and Refining Company which kept the Mike Horse mine going until 1955 when it closed due to declining metals prices. The Rogers Mining Company of Helena, in 1958, leased and operated the mine until early in 1964 when the Anaconda Company of Butte acquired the property through lease agreements. The Anaconda Company started a full-scale development project on the mine's copper-molybdenum deposit but in 1970 the operation was terminated. The mine has remained idle since then (Trauerman and Reyner 1950; Miller et al. 1973; Krohn and Weist 1977; Anderson and Moore 1985; Miller 1989; Thompson 1989).

Although the Mike Horse was the mainstay of the district, other smaller mining operations were also active in the district during the Twentieth century. The Paymaster was in operation early in the 1900s but had closed by the mid-1920s. In the early 1960s it was reopened and some development work was done by Paramount Estates of New York. The Anaconda mine was developed early in the 1900s but did not produce significant amounts of ore until the period from 1919 to 1924 when major amounts of lead and copper (with some gold and silver as well) were produced. The mine reopened in 1939 when 1400 tons of ore were taken and the following year 50 tons of the tailings were processed. The Carbonate mine was another operation which opened shortly after the turn of the century. It operated intermittently through the 1920s and was run by the Glacier Mining Trust during the 1930s until it closed in 1939, producing lead, copper, silver and gold ores, although it was never a major commercial operation. The Carbonate was reopened by the New Silver Bell Mining Company in the 1940s and was operated by the Swansea Mines, Inc., producing copper, lead, silver and gold ores. The ore was processed in a 120 tons-per-day flotation mill until the summer of 1949 when the mill burned down and the mine was closed (Works Projects Administration Mineral Resources Survey 1940; Crowley 1962; Trauerman and Reyner 1950; Miller et al. 1973; Thompson 1989).

The Consolation mines were another small operation active during the 1930s. During this period it was owned by the Thurber Printing Company of Helena and leased to Tom Ryan of Wilborn, Montana. Further development work was done on the property by John A. Thompson of Lincoln, Montana, during the mid-1960s although the mine did not produce any significant amounts of ore. Another property which did not get beyond the development stage, was the Humdinger Group which opened a vein of copper, molybdenum and gold ore. The Adele mine was also reported to have produced a small amount of copper and silver ore while the RTC mine, owned by L. B. Chambers, produced a small amount of lead, zinc and silver ore (Gilbert 1935; Trauerman and Reyner 1950: Geach 1965; Lawson 1977; Thompson 1989).

The Heddleston district was probably the youngest district in the Helena region for, although many of the mines had a long history of activity, most of the district's production has occurred since 1940. This was due to the fact that the bulk of the district's production was from the Mike Horse mine, which was in peak production during the period from 1941 to 1952 when the mine yielded 48,788,000 pounds of lead, 33,925,000 pounds of zinc, 4,556,000 pounds of copper and 1,409,000 ounces of gold. Total production from the district has been estimated at $25 million with $24 million of that figure coming from the Mike Horse (Richmond 1973; Krohn and Weist 1977; McClernan 1983).

BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT

Sahinen (1935) places the district at the head of the Blackfoot River, 33 miles northwest of Helena. McClernan (1983) locates the district in an area between Rogers Pass and Lincoln, north of Helena. More precisely the district is in the center of the eastern portion of T15N R6W. Figure 1 shows the district as defined by the AMRB (1994) with the area described by Sahinen (1935) and McClernan (1983) delineated.

HISTORIES OF SELECTED MINES

Anaconda Mine

The Anaconda mine is located in the southeast quarter of section 21, T15N, R6W, on the north slope of the Blackfoot River opposite the Mike Horse mine. The mine was developed during the early 1900s by Gottfried Krueger. When it was surveyed in 1911 (MS #9285) the mine consisted of a house, bunk house, store, shaft house, two discovery tunnels, seven mine tunnels, a shaft and crosscut valued at $30,725. The mine workings covered an area encompassed by the Little Joe, Big Dick, Copper Bell, Blue Cristle, and Anaconda claims. However, the mine did not report the production of any significant amount of ore until 1919 when 116 tons of ore were mined which contained about 72 ounces of gold, 2629 ounces of silver, 10,865 pounds of copper and 12,973 pounds of lead. The following four years an average of about 25 tons of ore was taken from the Anaconda and then processed in the mill at the Mike Horse mine (Crowley 1962, Richmond 1973; Miller 1989; Thompson 1989; BLM Patent records).

Pardee and Schrader (1933) reported that by 1933 about 1000 tons of ore had been produced with a net value of $30,000. There is no record of any subsequent production until 1939, when nearly 1400 tons of ore were mined producing 280 ounces of gold, 12,394 ounces of silver, 8,481 pounds of copper and 14,600 pounds of lead. The following year 50 tons of the mine's tailings were processed by the Giant Group Company of Helena which installed a 50 ton mill on the property. This was apparently the last production from the mine although some development work was done in 1961 by the mine's owners, Paramount Estates of New York (Work Projects Administration Mineral Resources Survey 1940; McClernan 1983; Thompson 1989).

The mine originally consisted of two shafts and two adits. The lower shaft was 325 feet deep The lower adit extended about 90 feet into the hillside while the upper adit was about 500 feet long (Pardee and Schrader 1933; McClernan 1983).

Calliope

The Calliope (also spelled Caliope) is located in southwest section 16, T15N, R6W north of the Midnight on the ridge between Shove Creek and Pass Creek. The mine was discovered by William Heddleston and his partner George Padbury in 1889. A small mining operation was begun and an arrastra was built on Pass Creek to process the ore. The two miners took out $11,000 worth of gold ore before the vein ran out a few years later. In 1933 the mine was described as an 80 foot shaft and a 300 foot long adit. The two excavations reportedly connected 50 feet from the adit portal. The mine worked two deposits: a vein in rhyolite porphyry and two pipe-shaped deposits 6 to 8 feet in diameter. No production figures are available (Montana Bureau of Mines n.d.; McClernan 1983).

Carbonate Mine

The Carbonate mine is situated in the northwest quarter of section 20, T15N, R6W on the slope east of Pass Creek. Not a great deal is known about the early history of the Carbonate mine. The claims for the property were staked soon after the Calliope mine was established in 1889. The Carbonate mine was developed during the early 1900s and when the claims were surveyed in 1926 (MS #10556 & 10557), the property was held by Janet A. Rowland and others. It consisted of four claims which showed fairly extensive development. The survey listed numerous discovery shafts, tunnels, crosscuts and four houses valued at $17,770. No production figures exist for the mine but McClernan (1983) surmised that the stopes in the mine and the nearby tailings pond and waste rock indicate that some production probably did occur although it does not seem that the mine was a major commercial operation (Richmond 1973; BLM Patent records; McClernan 1983).

Pardee and Schrader (1933) reported that the mine consisted of an adit about 850 feet long which intersected the lode 106 feet from the portal. The drift then followed the lode to the northwest with several short crosscuts. Near the middle of the adit there was a shaft which extended 200 feet below the adit with a middle level 100 feet down.

During the 1930s, the property was owned by the Glacier Mining Trust of Wilborn, Montana. At this point the mine was reported to have had 875 feet of tunnels and 425 feet of shafts with power for the mine equipment powered by a gasoline-powered compressor. The operation was shut down on November 5, 1939 even though the mine tailings were reported to have assayed for six dollars per ton. The following year it was reported that some of the tailings were reprocessed by the Giant Group of Helena who owned the mine dump (Work Projects Administration Mineral Resources Survey 1940).

During the 1940s the Carbonate group of claims, which comprised about 300 acres, was owned by the New Silver Bell Mining Company and operated by Swansea Mines, Inc. It was reported the property had 3000 feet of drifts, 200 feet of shafts and a 120 ton per day mill which processed the ore for gold, silver, copper and lead. The operation had electric power which operated the hoists and compressor. Ore was hauled in the mine workings by a three-ton storage battery locomotive. The mine was operated during the late 1940s by 20 men until the mill burned down on August 8, 1949 and the mine was shut down (Trauerman and Reyner 1950; Thompson 1989).

Edith Mine

Located in the northeast quarter of section 20, T15N, R6W, the Edith mine is a recent mining development into the Paymaster and Black Diamond ore veins. Originally the area had been claimed by Albert Kleinschmidt as the Helena and Edith claims. When they were surveyed in 1904 (MS #7353 & 7356), the GLO Plat map showed two discovery shafts, two tunnels and a boarding house valued at $1906 within the general vicinity of the Edith mine. Nothing remains of these earlier features and there is no record of any production from this earlier operation. The ore body in this area was particularly rich in molybdenum and was exploited earlier by the Paymaster mine located a quarter mile to the southwest and by the Midnight mine located on the hill above the Edith. The Edith mine was first opened by John Thompson of Lincoln, Montana, for the Anaconda Company in 1967. A tunnel was driven north into the ore body from the base of the south-facing hillside. Samples of the ore were taken which proved to be high in molybdenum but no production was ever initiated by the Anaconda Company. The prospecting operation was shut down a few years later (McClernan 1983; Thompson 1989).

The Paymaster mine did produce some ore from the vein in the early 1900s. The large dumps at the mine indicate the mine had extensive underground working but when it was visited by Pardee and Schrader in 1927 the working were partially closed by caving. The Midnight mine was run by the Midnight Copper Mining Company who also tapped into the molybdenum deposit during the early 1900s and was operated sporadically until the 1950s although it was never a large commercial operation (Pardee and Schrader 1933; Miller et al. 1973; Richmond 1973; Thompson 1989).

Mary P Mine

Located in Section 21, T15N, R6W, this small mining operation was begun by Gottfried Krueger on the Mary P vein around 1911. When the claim was surveyed in 1911 (MS #9285), the operation consisted of a discovery cut with a tunnel, and a second tunnel with a drift valued at $4,960. The mine was contemporary with that of the Anaconda mine, also owned by Krueger, which was located a few hundred yards to the southeast on the other side of the Blackfoot River. The Mary P appears to have only been a small prospect operation. There is no evidence of any commercial production and the mine was probably closed down within a year or two (Miller 1989; Thompson 1989; BLM Patent records).

Mike Horse

The Mike Horse mine is located in southeast section 28, T15N, R6W. The mine, which was located in 1898 by Joseph Heitmiller, was the most prolific producer in the district. By 1902 the mine had been developed by three adits, one of which was 1,100 feet long. However, the first 15 years of the mine's existence, little ore was shipped. The district saw a revival of mining activity in 1915 when the Mike Horse mine was taken over by the Sterling Mining and Milling Company of Ellensburg, Washington. Further production occurred in 1917 and a major lead deposit was located at the Mike Horse in 1919. A concentrating mill was built to process the mine's ores, as well as the ore from the Anaconda and Paymaster mines. The mill is credited with $6,000 in silver lead concentrates. The deposit continuously produced lead ore, along with some gold and silver ore, for the next decade (Byrne and Barry 1902; Wolle 1963; Miller et al. 1973; McClernan 1983; Anderson and Moore 1985; Miller 1989).

The mine was again active in the 1920s with peak years of 1923 and 1924. In those years 1,120 tons of ore were treated and returned about $61,000. The Mike Horse Claim was patented in 1925 by the Sterling Mining and Milling Company. At that time the operation was expanded to include the Little Nell, Detroit, Sterling, Hogall, Pine Hill and Black Ore claims. The underground workings consisted of three adits over a vertical distance of 300 feet. The adits were connected by raises and connected to several large stopes. At its deepest, the mine reached 450 feet. Total production for the decade was estimated at $75,000 (BLM Mining Records; Pardee and Schrader 1933; Anderson and Moore 1985, Gray and Anderson 1993).

In 1938 the Mike Horse mine was leased to the Mike Horse Mining and Milling Company. The following year a 150 tons-per-day flotation mill was built and in 1940 a 15-mile electric power line was strung from Marysville to the mine. Sufficient ores were mined at the Mike Horse, Little Nell and Intermediate veins to keep the mill operating until mid-1945. At this point it was purchased by the American Smelting and Refining Company which kept the Mike Horse mine going until 1955 when it closed due to declining metals prices. The Rogers Mining Company of Helena, in 1958, leased and operated the mine until early in 1964 when the Anaconda Company of Butte acquired the property through lease agreements. The Anaconda Company started a full-scale development project on the mine's copper-molybdenum deposit, but in 1970 the operation was terminated. The mine has remained idle since then (Trauerman and Reyner 1950; Miller et al. 1973; Krohn and Weist 1977; Anderson and Moore 1985; Miller 1989; Thompson 1989).

The main entrance to the mine was a 1,100 foot crosscut to the vein. Two other adits were also developed. The mine developed the vein for a distance of more than 300 feet vertically and 600 feet along the strike. Mine ore averaged 13.7 ounces of silver per ton, 30.5 percent lead and 13.7 percent zinc. The ore was concentrated in the mill before shipment (McClernan 1983).

The Mike Horse was the mainstay of the Heddleston district with the bulk of the district's production coming from the mine. During the peak productive years from 1941 to 1952, the mine consisted of 22,620 feet of drifts and crosscuts, and 660 feet of winzes. The usual work crew averaged 125 to 130 men who mined an average of about 200 tons of ore which were processed in the flotation mill to produce a lead-zinc concentrate. The final production from the mine during the 1941-1952 period totalled 48,788,000 pounds of lead; 22925,00 pounds of zinc; 4,556,000 pounds of copper and 1,409,000 ounces of gold worth some $24,000,000 (Richmond 1973; Krohn and Weist 1977; McClernan 1983).

Midnight / Daylight

The Midnight mine, located in southwest section 21 T15N, R6W, was listed as shipping ore in May of 1904 while the adjacent Daylight mine showed production even earlier in May of 1901. The two mines were part of the same operation of the Midnight Copper Mining Company which had driven a connecting tunnel and drifts through the Midnight, Copper Gate, and Daylight claims. Although the company had begun operations on the property at the turn of the century, the Midnight, Daylight, and Copper Gate lodes (along with the Sunlight, Sunset, and Yellowstone lodes) were not patented by the Midnight Copper Mining Company until October 1, 1915 (Pat. No. 541532 - Mineral Survey No. 9806). The plat map of the claims shows that by 1915 the company had done considerable development on the claims consisting of four discovery cuts, two shafts, two tunnels, three extensive drifts, and a "branch of tunnel" worth a total of $16,494 (BLM mine patent records).

At the same time the lodes were patented, the company located a mill site. Three years later the mill site was patented (Pat No. 710310 - Mineral Survey No. 10106) on February 15, 1918. The plat map showed that a boarding house, office building, bunk house, powder house and stable, worth a total of $825, were at the mill site. A mill complex was built to support the Midnight / Daylight group of mines. The ridge to the northwest of the mill site is named Midnight Hill after the mine which is located on a branch of Shave Gulch (BLM mine patent records).

By 1929 the Midnight was listed as having 3000 feet of workings from several adits; however, during an idle period from 1926 -27, most of the old works had caved in. In 1929 work was underway on a new adit and 25 tons of copper and silver ore was shipped with a return of $900 (Pardee & Schrader 1933; McClernan 1983).

Paymaster

The Paymaster mine, in SE1/4 , Section 20, T15N, R6W, is situated northeast of Lincoln, Montana in Paymaster Gulch, a tributary of the Blackfoot River. The first work on the property was in February of 1902, when a tunnel was reported to be under construction by a crew of ten men working for the Anaconda mine. That same year the Paymaster Gold Mining Company was incorporated in Washington. An amended location notice was filed on August 26, 1902, by Francis D. Jones who also claimed the Black Diamond, Jumbo, Bonanza and Cicero Lodes [The upper collapsed adits, Feature 1 and 2, are on the Black Diamond]. Jones finally patented the four claims on January 4, 1912 (Pat. No. 310563 - Mineral Survey No. 9287). When the claims were surveyed the previous year, improvements worth $32,680 were listed as: four discovery shafts, four tunnels (Features 1-4), three drifts, winze, three diamond drill holes and a trench (BLM mine patent records).

Surface development apparently never went much beyond these initial improvements. When Pardee and Schrader (1933) examined the site in August of 1927, they reported the workings were partly closed by caving and it appeared they had not been worked for several years. The underground workings of the mines were fairly extensive with a 900-foot long crosscut at the lowest adit, several hundred feet of drifts and a 50-foot winze. About 100 tons of ore were reported to have been shipped from the mine.

The ore body in this area was particularly rich in molybdenum. Besides the Paymaster, the ore body was also exploited by the Midnight and, later, the Edith mine. The Paymaster was reopened in the 1960s through the established lower adit but no production was reported (McClernan 1983; Thompson 1989).

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