Mines of El Dorado County: “U” – “V”

The somewhat mysterious Umatilla mine, which was owned by C.J. Gardner in 1898, was a placer gold, drift mine listed in most publications as being 12 miles northeast of Plymouth (Amador County). That puts it close to the town of Uno, which was located about two miles to the southeast of Mt. Aukum, on Cedar Creek. The town of Uno may have earlier been known as Coyoteville, which is why the location of the Umatilla Mine is difficult to establish. Even more confusing is that the Umatilla mine rarely shows up on early maps, and never on those produced after the 1880s.

The gravel channel mined at the Umatilla varied in width and had a thickness ranging from a few inches to more than four feet. The gravel was crushed in a Krough hexagonal mill and then dumped onto a shaking table that caught the gold (the El Dorado County museum has shaking tables on display). The equipment was powered by water.

The patriotically named Uncle Sam mine was a placer gold, drift mine two miles south of Fair Play. It was active in 1896 when two adits were run through bedrock into the gold-bearing gravel in an ancient channel of the Cosumnes River.

A second Uncle Sam mine was a lode gold mine on 19.189 acres two miles north of Georgetown on the eastern branch of the Mother Lode.

The Union (Springfield) mine was one of the largest and most active lode gold mines in El Dorado County. Located on the Mother Lode, two miles southeast of the townsite of El Dorado, it is the mine that ended up being the County’s largest landfill site. In the early years of the Gold Rush the area boasted a town of some three thousand miners who worked the outcrops and nearby streams. Soon, a shaft was sunk to further explore this large deposit of gold-bearing quartz. Prior to 1868 this mine and the Church Mine to the east, were consolidated and worked as a single mine. After that they were operated as separate entities. The Union Mine was again active from 1871-1886, with the ore being treated in a 15-stamp mill. In 1896 the Union Gold Mining Company took over operation of the mine and worked it for thirteen years. They also enlarged the mill to 20 stamps (some time later it would double to an earthshaking 40-stamps). Some prospecting was done during the years 1914 and 1915 and, in 1934 the Gold Fields American Development Company reopened it, deepening the shaft to 2000 feet and rehabilitating the lower workings. From 1936 until 1937, the Montezuma-Apex Mining Company operated the mine, trucking the ore to their mill near Nashville. After 1937 the operations at the mine became sporadic and in 1940 the mine became idle. The deposit consists of a number of veins of gold-bearing quartz five to ten feet in width, the three major ones being the heavily worked Poundstone (East Gouge), the McCosmic, 200 feet to the west, and the Klondyke, north of the main shaft. Ore from the Poundstone vein yielded $8 per ton and from the McCosmic up to $25 per ton (there are some reports of mill runs as high as $40 per ton). It is believed that the early surface workings were even richer than that. Development of the mine consisted of a 2000-foot vertical main (Springfield) shaft that cuts into the Poundstone vein at 1200 feet and the McCosmic vein at about 1540 feet. About 750 feet north of the main shaft was the 900-foot Clement shaft and 200 feet further north was the 500-foot Klondyke shaft. There were also several crosscut adits that were driven west, one 700 feet in length near the main shaft and another about 600 feet in length near the Klondyke shaft.

Another Union mine was a placer gold, drift mine two miles east of Placerville. A channel of the ancient South Fork of the American River, six inches to four feet thick, 400 feet wide and covered with a 100-foot thick andesite (lava) cap was developed by two shafts, 412 and 285 feet in depth.

The Union Tunnel mine was a placer gold mine on 38.15 acres one and one-half miles northeast of Smith Flat. It may be the same mine as the one listed above.

The Union Quartz Mine and Mill Site was located on 18.81 acres of the western branch of the Mother Lode one mile northwest of Greenwood.

The United mine was a lode gold mine on 20.66 acres of the Mother Lode, one and one-half miles southeast of Garden Valley.

The Unity mine was a placer gold, drift mine at Wisconsin Flat, two miles northeast of Placerville. It was active in the early 1890s when a portion of the Deep Blue Lead (lead as in “to lead you,” not the metal lead) up to 12 feet thick, 400 feet wide and capped with benches 200 feet wide, was developed by a 1700-foot drift with an inclined shaft. The gravel was treated in a 10-stamp mill and washed through a 160-foot sluice.

A second Unity mine was a lode gold mine consisting of about 30 acres two miles north of Rescue.

The Uno (also known as Uno and Croesus) mine was a placer gold, drift mine three miles south of the town of Fair Play, which, like the Umatilla mine, was near the site of the former town of Uno. It was active prior to 1896 and worked an ancient channel of the Cosumnes River through a 350-foot adit, partially in granite, and a 50-foot drift and raise. 1898 mining records indicate that in that year David Faulkner and Fred Hepburn owned the Uno mine, although there is no record of any production.

The Uno Gravel and Quartz Mining Company, owned by William Gardner and John Leventon in 1876, may have been the operator of the Uno Mine.

The Up-To-Date mine was a lode gold mine on 41.32 acres of the western branch of the Mother Lode, two and one-half miles north of Greenwood, near Hoboken Creek.

U.S. Chrome Mines, Inc. operated a mine on about 40 acres one half mile east of Pilot Hill. There is no information on production at this site.

North of Mt. Danaher (Mt. Danaher is northeast of the town of Camino) was the U.S. Grant (New Deal) mine, a lode gold mine. It was active in the 1870s and prospected in 1936. The deposit consisted of a vein of gold-bearing quartz, one to four feet in width, that contained two ore shoots. The mine was developed by a shaft and a 100-foot crosscut adit with a 400-foot north drift and a 200-foot south drift. In the 1870s the ore was treated in a ten-stamp mill.

The Vacinda Mining Co. had a 46.22 acre placer gold claim one mile south of Omo Ranch.

The Valdora mine was a lode gold mine north of and adjacent to the Mt. Pleasant Mine, one-half mile west of Grizzly Flat. It was active around 1888 and developed by a 110-foot vertical shaft.

Three-quarters of a mile north of Georgetown was the Van (Vann) mine, a lode gold mine on 20 acres of the eastern branch of the Mother Lode, near Georgia Slide. It has been idle for a very long time.

Four miles south of Shingle Springs, on the west side of Big Canyon was lode gold mine known as the Vandalia mine. Located on an Agricultural Patent (not a mining claim) of about 70 acres, this mine was originally worked in 1885 and then again in 1888, with the ore being treated in a five-stamp mill. It was idle during the 1890s, but around 1900 a cyanidation plant was built to process the ore from the mine and reprocess the mine tailings (cyanidation is a process that extracts gold from the auriferous [gold containing] pyrite often found in lode gold mines). Some work was done at the mine in 1926 and 1928 and then, during the years 1936-37, the Page Consolidated Mining Company prospected the site and erected a 150-ton mill and a new cyanidation plant. Unlike most of the lode gold mines that had veins of gold-bearing quartz containing native gold, this deposit consisted nearly entirely of several bodies of fine-grained silicified schist, over 80 feet wide and up to 300 feet long, containing disseminated auriferous pyrite. The mine was developed by several drift adits and open cuts. Although a lot is known about the working of this mine, little is known about its production.

The Vandergrift (Vandergreft) mine was a lode gold mine one and one-half (some places three) miles north of Nashville on 40 acres of the Mother Lode. It was active prior to 1914 and developed by a 250-foot inclined shaft and a 100-foot adit. The ore was treated in a ten-stamp mill.

Three people from Ione, named Van Dyke, Modrell and Warner, operated a 3/4 cubic yard, dragline dredge on property in El Dorado County, during the year 1941. The dredge was commonly called the Van Dyke dredge.

The Van Hooker mine was a lode gold mine one-half mile north of Placerville on the Mother Lode. It was part of the Harmon Group, which included this mine along with the Young Harmon, Old Harmon, Gross No.1 and No. 2 and the Eureka patented claims.
In the late 1920s an old adit at the Van Hooker was reopened and extended, having a total length of 1200 feet from portal to the north face and a vertical depth of 200 feet on the vein. A pay shoot 50 feet long had been stoped and raised upon to a height of 80 feet and for an average thickness of 5 feet in the late 1920s.The quartz vein containing the gold, varied in width from two to 12 feet. The ore yielded $7.25 to $27 a ton in gold. The mine had a mill of ten light stamps and a concentrator with a capacity of 24 tons a day. Electricity was used to run the mill and the air compressor for the drills.

The Van Winklin mine was a lode gold mine. It only shows up on the 1932 Wildman map and the location is so badly faded it cannot be read.

The C.H.M. Mining Company, from Sacramento, operated a dragline dredge, known as the Varozza Dredge, during the years 1946-47.

The Veerkamp mine was a chromite mine one and one-half miles southwest of Garden Valley. It was active in 1916 (World War I) when 38 tons of ore containing 41 percent chromic oxide was mined. The deposit, a number of small pods of chromite, was developed by open pits.

Another Veerkamp (Gold Coin) mine was a lode gold mine located one mile west of Garden Valley. Some prospecting on this property was done in the early days of the Gold Rush and, in 1933, some ore was mined from an open cut and treated at the Beebe mill, which was located on the north side of Georgetown. The ore had enough gold to make the mine appear profitable, so soon an adit was driven into the deposit. From 1935 to around 1940, a Canadian concern, Gold Company, Ltd., worked the property. There was further work at the mine in 1950. The deposit of gold-bearing quartz, which assayed at about $12 per ton, consisted of several quartz veins and veinlets containing varying percentages of gold. Some pockets of high-grade or were located and mined in the 1930s. Development at the mine consisted of an 180-foot shaft with levels at 60 and 97 feet. On the 60-foot level are 1200 feet of drifts and on the 97-foot level, about 1000 feet. There are also several adits and open cuts. The ore was treated by various methods, including flotation (a method of separating milled ore by putting it in a liquid that floats away impurities) and cyanidation.

The Ventura (includes the Solari Tunnel) mine was a placer gold, drift mine on the north side ridge between Weber Creek and Pleasant Valley, south of Newton (Newtown). It was active in the 1930s and early 1940s when a 1300-foot adit was driven south, through volcanic ash, in an attempt to reach an ancient river channel believed to contain gold-bearing gravel.

The Victoria mine was a lode gold mine four miles northwest of the town of Rescue, near the Boulder Mine. It was active in 1924-26 when a vein of gold-bearing quartz was developed by a 30-foot shaft and a 50-foot rift. The ore, which yielded $8 per ton, was treated in a two-stamp mill.

The Virginia mine was a lode gold mine on the Mother Lode one mile west of Kelsey.

The Vistula mine was a lode gold mine on approximately 20 acres of the western branch of the Mother Lode, one mile east of Greenwood.

The Volcano mine was a placer gold mine located on 67.36 acres one mile south of Omo Ranch.

The Volcanoville mine was a placer gold mine near the town of Volcanoville. Not much more is know about it other than the claim included the Volcanoville Post Office.

The Volo Mill, at the Shaw mine west of Placerville, was converted from gold to copper processing in the mid-1940s. The ore came from many of the local and not-so-local copper mines.

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