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Location DB > United States > California > Mojave National Preserve > Bonanza King Mine
Bonanza King Mine
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 Database Info
created by robk700 on 12/29/2009 11:07 PM
last modified by robk700 on 12/29/2009 11:28 PM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled by its creator as Public, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
What a place! The road was rough and I took my 2x4 SUV to a new limit getting there. 4x4 highly recommended. It didn't look like much at first. But my previous trip out to the Mojave taught me what to look for when seeking out underground tunnels. There had to be something big there. My suspicions proved correct. Upon investigation the whole mountain appeared to be hollow. Tunnels everywhere. And large ones. A van could even fit through one. I discovered at least a dozen openings by looking for retaining walls. I'm sure there were much more. Just how deep and long these tunnels were I don't know for sure. My light was dim and Bonanza was a side stop on the way to another adventure. I'll be back again for sure.
 Basic Information
Type: Outdoors
Status: Abandoned
Accessibility: Easy
Recommendation: worth the trip
 Physical Information

Mojave National Preserve, California
United States
  • See a map of this location
  •  Hazards
  • rust
  • unsafe flooring
  • air quality
  • 300 ft. pit + general other mine hazards
  •  Interesting Features
    Dozens of mine shafts and abandoned structures.
     Security Measures
     Historical Dates
    Built: 1880
    Closed: 0
     Required Equipment
  • flashlight
  • rope
  • harness
  • breathing mask
  • binoculars
  • gloves
  • head protection
  • long pants / sleeves
  • high clearance vehicle
  •  Recommended Equipment
    4x4 vehicle

    Providence California is a historic mining town located in the Mojave Desert on the east slope of the Providence Mountains and is within the Mohave National Preserve. The founding of this historic town dates back to the spring of 1880, when silver was discovered at what would soon be known as the Bonanza King Mine. While the area was even "remote" back then, the mine was very prolific. Newspapers of that time write that the mine produced it's $1 millionth dollar of silver after 18 month and ten days of operations.

    Boom Times: 1882-1885

    In 1882, the mine's founders sold the Bonanza King claims to the Bonanza King Consolidated Mining & Milling Company of New York, whom expanded the operation to include a mill and then, in 1884, listed their shares on the New York Stock exchange. Back then, the milling operation took place at the company's newly constructed 10-stamp mill located at a spring on Juan Domingo’s ranch, a mile and a half east of Providence. This milling camp was known as "Crow Town"

    Meanwhile, Providence thrived. A post office was established in June of 1882, and in October 1882, the county supervisors created an election precinct. By early 1883, "the camp" had 300 residents. The business district contained the post office, several mining-company offices, two general stores, two hotels (with livery stables), a saloon, a contractor, a blacksmith and wagon maker, a deputy sheriff, and a United States mineral surveyor.

    Tough Times - 1885-1894

    Meanwhile, the price of silver continued to slip. After paying dividends through early 1885, the Bonanza King suspended work in March. When the company reopened the mine a week later, it hired 15 men—at $3 a day—and hired others as fast as they could apply: 40 men in the mine and 35 in the mill when it started up several months later.
    But in late July 1885, the mill burned. The company discharged most of its workers. Although it cleared away the debris, the Bonanza King never rebuilt its mill.
    Price were super low but the company did reopened the mine in early 1886 and keep at least 20 men at work, but it seems that they shut the operation down about then. At the nearby Kerr and Patton property (Perseverance Mine??), however, Godfrey Bahten, a widely traveled mining man, built a five-stamp mill, which started up in January of 1887. The Kerr and Patton claim was worked until at least 1890; it reportedly paid good dividends. However, the price of silver continued to decline. The post office was discontinued in May of 1892, although a store or saloon remained in business at least into 1893.
    Anyway the “Panic of 1893”, the resulting US “depression”, and the collapse of the silver markets took its toll on the town and mine.
    Many of the miner left to exploit the more profitable “gold deposits” found to the providence mountains to the south west. In February 1894, gold was discovered 9 miles south of Providence at Hidden Hill. Gold was hot, silver was not!
    Silver's Decline & Fate

    To understand the decline of the "Silver Markets" one must understand the then US monetary policy. At this time in history in the USA, silver coins were minted at $1 per once while Gold coins mined at $20 per once. Anyone who had "raw gold", could go to the US mint and essentially "exchange raw gold" for gold coins. However, silver did not work that way. Hence, this policy and the price of Silver, Gold and "monetary policy" was a hot political issue. Also, because large amounts of silver were being discovered and mined (in the west), the US "money supply" began to expand and "inflation" was high. Eastern interests, trading with an increasingly gold standard–based world, wanted gold money. Western interests, and particularly mining interests, wanted silver money. In 1890, the US government passed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act which required the US government to purchase silver, but the plan backfired and resulted in a sharp decrease in US gold reserves as silver was exchanged for currency then currency was exchanged for gold. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act was repealed in 1893 but not before it caused the "Panic of 1893" with
    Runs on the banks and bank failures (500 banks failed, many in the west).
    Over 15,000 companies went bankrupt, including many of the RRs - Northern Pacific Railway, the Union Pacific Railroad, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, as well as the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, all failed!
    Unemployement - about 17%-19% of the workforce was unemployed at the Panic's peak
    With the huge spike in unemployment, combined with the loss of life savings by failed banks, meant that a once secure middle class could not meet their mortgage obligations. As a result, many walked away from recently built homes.
    Against this backdrop, in this hotly contested 1896 US presidential election, the "pro silver" presidential candidate lost to the "pro gold" candidate William McKinley. After that silver was "doomed". Conceptually, there was an entire industry developed to extract a metal for which there were no real markets.

    1906 -1908 The Trojan Mining Company & the Return of Thomas Ewing
    In 1906 there was a serious, yet failed attempt to reactivate the Bonanza King Mine. A ten stamp mill was erected.
    The Trojan Mining Company built a gasoline-powered, 10-stamp mill and worked the Bonanza King Mine from 1906 through September of 1907, but the stock market crashed a few weeks later. Meanwhile, Thomas Ewing (formally of the defunked Bonanza Mining Company) had returned, from Arizona, and set up a small camp, where a short-lived voting precinct was established in May of 1908.

    WWI "Revival" & the late 1910's

    However, in 1912, "the Barstow Printer" reported the the mine was being worked by a 12 working the mine and the mill was starting up in a week. June of 1914, a global war started in Europe and silver price increased. In 1915, the Hall-Rawister & Company, of Massachusetts, rebuilt the mill, reopened the mine, and hired 30 men; work went on round the clock. The presence of five families gave the place “a more charming appearance.” The company installed an electric-light plant, a water line, gasoline engines, and the most modern hoisting and milling equipment. Two trucks made daily trips to Fenner. During the next few years, the company reopened several shafts, as far as 800 feet, and was taking out very rich ore. But when World War I ended, the price of silver again declined, to $1.01. The company suspended work in July of 1920.

    1923 -1924 Attempt

    In 1923, the property was leased to the Bonanza King Consolidated Mines Company, and 6 men were employed, working on the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth levels. One carload of ore was shipped in May, 1924. 103

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    Tue, Jan 5th, 2010
    posted by robk700
    10 pictures

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    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Opheliaism on 1/6/2010 4:55 AM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Jan 6 10 at 4:55, Opheliaism validated this location
  • on Jan 5 10 at 21:02, robk700 added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Jan 5 10 at 20:58, robk700 created a new gallery
  • on Dec 30 09 at 2:55, Steed conditionally validated this location
  • on Dec 29 09 at 23:28, robk700 made this location available
  • on Dec 29 09 at 23:28, robk700 updated the main picture
  • on Dec 29 09 at 23:27, robk700 changed the following: Notes for Mods, Type, City, Province / State (please use full name), Country, Latitude, Longitude, Co-ordinate Accuracy, Prefer Satellite, Publically Viewable, History, Year Built, Status, Accessibility, Hazards, Interesting Features, Recommendation, Required Equipment, Recommended Equipment, Media Coverage, Future Plans, Description, Web Links
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