King Solomon Mine Produces 1 Million Tons of Gold Ore

Date: 

Monday, Feb. 13, 2017

Author: 

Gail Fiorini-Jenner

Episode: 

3 124

Discovered in the 1890's by Harvey Bowerman of Maine, the King Solomon Mine, located at the head of Matthews Creek on the South Salmon River, became one of Northern California’s major producers.

Bowerman took on several partners after finding the gold ore in an area of silicified limestone.  Together they hauled in equipment, including three two-stamp batteries, a mill, boiler, a small steam engine, and a trolley car to carry ore to the mill.

Around 1900, two wealthy young men purchased the mine for $75,000.  They hired an engineer and invested $250,000 in the mine, even building a power plant on the Salmon River.  They sold the mine after it failed to produce anticipated results.

The mine began yielding ore in the 1930's after passing through several owners.  It ended up in the hands of Henry Carter and Harry M. Thompson, who introduced open-cut mining that resembles open-pit coal mining, and extracted 1 million tons of ore.

An entire community sprung up on Matthews Creek, and many well-known people visited the mine, including former President Herbert Hoover.  It closed down for good during World War II.

Source: Thompson, Harry M. “King Solomon Mine.” Siskiyou Pioneer. Two ed. Vol. 10. , Yreka, Siskiyou County Historical Society, 1957, pp. 14-17.

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