The National mine of the Old Diggings mining district
Miners struck the lucrative quartz vein of the National mine in 1869, at Rich Gulch, and the vein became a heavy producer of gold in the Old Diggings mining district. This caused additional probing and exploratory operations which led to miners sinking winze’s and driving tunnels, drifts and raises on the property which were also dug out by miners using picks and shovels. They also blasted through the rock using dynamite towards the face of the mine. Among the holdings of the National mine were the Forbes and Veteran mining claims located on the same property.
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At first, a ten-pound stamp mill was erected on the property to crush the rock they extracted from the mine. Then in 1906, the National mine was owned and operated by a group of people consisting of eastern capital who named themselves after the gulch which the National mine was located in. They employed Redding resident H.P. Walker as their general manager of operations.
Above: the main haulage tunnel of the historic National mine. Photo taken by Jeremy Tuggle on August 13, 2020.
In March of that year, the Rich Gulch Mining Company completed the installation of their brand-new 25-ton cyanide plant, which allowed them to treat the tailing’s of the National mine and the nearby Lyons Consolidated mine which they also owned and operated. The company also constructed a 1,500 foot tramway from the Lyons Consolidated mine to the National mine with a gravity system of 460 feet to ship the ore from the Lyons Consolidated mine to the National mine’s stamp mill.
The Rich Gulch Mining Company also re-timbered the National mine and brand-new ore cart tracks and rail were laid in the main haulage tunnel and drifts.
Eventually, new owners came in to purchase the National mine and it passed into the hands of Joseph Gretz, who in December of 1908, made arrangements for this ten-pound stamp mill to be dismantled and shipped to Schaffer, near Goldfield, in Nye County, Nevada.
It would be rebuilt to resume operations for its new mining company in Nye County, Nevada. After this, the ore from the National mine was shipped to the nearest smelter to be crushed and treated.
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The National mine operated until 1910, and then it laid idled until it was reopened in 1932, and it stayed an active producer of gold until 1934. It has been idled since that time period. The National mine produced a total output of $200,000 in gold.
Above: a portion of a 1901 topography map of Shasta County marking the historic site of the National mine.
The National mine is located off Shasta Dam Boulevard. I have been informed that there is another caved-in adit on the property which is located at N 40° 41.568 W 122° 25.360 on a very steep and difficult terrain level which is covered in brush, manzanita and tons of poison oak. It would be to difficult for me to get to, which is why I only filmed this portion of the National mine as shown below in the YouTube video:
Above: this video was filmed on location at the historic National mine by Jeremy Tuggle on August 13, 2020.
To see other articles written by Jeremy M. Tuggle, make sure to visit his blog, Exploring Shasta History.
New Cyanide Plant In Rich Gulch – Mineral Wealth Magazine – March 15, 1906 edition, page 3.
The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, December 4, 1908
Mines and Mineral Resources of Shasta County, California – County Report 6 – by Philip A. Lydon and J.C. O’ Brien ©1974 by California Division of Mines and Geology
Meet the writer: Jeremy M. Tuggle
Education and Community Engagement Manager – Shasta Historical Society
Jeremy M. Tuggle, born in Redding, is a descendant of 11 pioneer families who settled Shasta County between 1849-1889. Jeremy attended Shasta College and is the author of two published books, Rooted in Shasta County (2003), and A Journey Through Time: Ono and the Bald Hills (2008), as well as various articles on local history.
In 2017 Mr. Tuggle was awarded a Community Service Award, a prestigious national award for community service in historic preservation, by the Major Pierson B. Reading Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Jeremy is a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of California, and an Eagle Scout.
Tuggle has been employed at the Shasta Historical Society since November of 2009. In his present role as Education & Community Engagement Manager, Jeremy conducts research for the historical society’s programs and events, contributes to the Society’s social media presence, and ensures the highest quality guest and patron experience at our programs and community events.
Mr. Tuggle enjoys sharing his knowledge of local history and events, and is available to community organizations to present programs about Shasta County history.
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Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 16 grandchildren.