The Mount Shasta Mine: A gold mine on the Mt. Shasta Mine Loop Trail

Located about 2 1/2 miles from the town of Shasta is the Mount Shasta mine, a once-lucrative producer of gold and one of the larger gold mining operations in the Shasta mining district, after gold was discovered in the area in 1897.

The mine, which is within the boundaries of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area on the Mt. Shasta Mine Loop Trail, can be found after a moderate 1.2 mile hike to the mining property, or you can hike the entire loop distance of 3.1 miles. 

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The mine was first owned and operated by then-Shasta County Sheriff, Charles Behrens, the maternal grandfather of the late Honorable Shasta County Superior Court Judge, Richard B. Eaton.

Behrens operated the mine with his mining partner, Levisay, and they negotiated a contract with the Keswick smelter to have their ore treated. The Mount Shasta mine consisted of the Pittsburgh mining claim and one other mining claim as well.

Above: a miner pushes an ore cart filled with rock at the Mount Shasta mine. Courtesy of the Shasta Historical Society.

Behrens and Levisay, began digging a winze on the property which sunk down to about 80 feet below the surface of the earth, and this was the start of the 463 foot shaft on the property. To jump start the production earnings, Behrens and Levisay’s ore first earned them between $80 to $90 per ton at Keswick. Later that year, Behrens and Levisay sold their mining claim to San Francisco capitalists Hirshly, Vair & Farfst for $10,000.

Early on, in 1898, the new owners organized the Mount Shasta Gold Mine LTD., and they employed fifteen men to operate the mine by February of 1898. During the following year, Hirshly, Vair & Farfst had a stamp mill built for them on the property consisting of eight stamps, which operated by steam to crush their rock so their miners could obtain the ore they were seeking. Each stamp weighed 1,050 pounds, and a building was erected which enclosed the perimeter of the stamp mill as well.

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Other equipment included a wooden head frame with a steam powered hoist, and a cage so miners could toil away in the shaft to extract the ore of the lower levels or to enter a drift they were working. The Mount Shasta Gold Mine LTD., began lowering the winze on the property as well. Eventually, the mine included seven levels with drifts branching off from the main winze.

By 1900, the Mount Shasta mine and its holdings were sold to O.O. Howard and F.E. Ware of Redding. Ware was a former superintendent at this gold mine. Howard and Ware employed W.G. Scott as their superintendent who supervised the work of their miners as the production of this mine continued. While the work progressed on the property, their miners probed and examined the rock on site which also consisted of digging and blasting out an adit, not far from the main shaft of the property.

The Mount Shasta Gold Mine LTD. expanded their holdings in the area after purchasing additional mining claims and bringing in additional shares of investors or capitalists from the Chicago area. Eventually in 1901 this company entered the copper mining industry of Shasta County, with most of the company’s copper claims were in the Pittsburgh mining district near Bully Hill. They focused on those copper claims between 1901 and 1904 due to the shut-down of the Mount Shasta mine which remained idled after that.

Above: A man tends to two horses hitched to a wagon at the Mount Shasta mine. In the background is the building which enclosed the eight stamp steam powered mill. Courtesy of the Shasta Historical Society.

Surprisingly, another transaction occurred in 1912 when the Mount Shasta mine was sold to A.A. Linsdsay & Associates of Portland, Oregon, for an impressive $35,000. They had planned to enter an extensive hiring phase that December to employ one hundred miners, and continue the production of this gold mine.

During May of 1913, after re-timbering the adit and drifts on the property and installing a new ore-shoot, the mine was sold to H.O. Cummins and Associates for about the same price as the previous transaction.

1915 was the final year of production for this gold mine and the total production reached an output of $180,000 in gold, which is the equivalent of $2.5 Million in today’s currency.

Note: the Mount Shasta Gold Mine LTD., can be found as the Mount Shasta Gold Mine Corporation in the written historical records as well.

To see other articles written by Jeremy M. Tuggle, make sure to visit his blog, Exploring Shasta History.

RESOURCES:

  • Mining and Scientific Press, 75 no. 18 (October 1897)
  • The Free Press newspaper of Redding, October 14, 1899
  • The Free Press newspaper of Redding, January 22, 1900
  • Mines and Mineral Resources of Shasta County, Siskiyou County, and Trinity County, by G. Chester Brown, ©1915 published by California State Printing Office.
  • Historic Resource Study Whiskeytown National Recreation Area by Anna Coxe Toogood, May 1978, Denver Service Center, Historic Preservation Team, National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior

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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Want to be featured in a future “Guest Writer Spotlight” article? Contact the editor: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, 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 30 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 18 grandchildren.

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