The Friday-Lowden Mine

In 1894, while prospecting in the boundaries of the Backbone mining district of Shasta County, Walter Friday, a native of Switzerland, and a resident of Flat Creek, located the lucrative quartz vein of the Friday lode mine.

After that, Friday drove an adit into the hillside. Then, he began operating this mine as a hard rock mine. Later, an abundance of copper was discovered solidifying its place on the Shasta County copper belt. Between December 31, 1897 to January 1, 1899, records for this mining property indicate that Friday extended the tunnels inside the adit he was working. 

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Over $600 of labor and improvements were made to this mining property at that time. Eventually, Friday brought on John R. Lowdon, a native of Pennsylvania, and a Redding resident, who once held public office as a Shasta County Recorder to become a partner and owner of this mine. The name of the mine eventually evolved into the Friday-Lowden mine, and it’s name is also recorded as the Friday-Louden mine. However, Lowdon is the correct spelling of John’s surname.

Above: the Friday-Lowden mine as it appeared in 1900 with an unidentified man standing inside the wooden portico of the adit of the main haulage tunnel. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

Then, Friday and Lowdon brought on Lowdon’s brother-in-law, local lumberman Thomas H. Benton, a resident of Shingletown, as a co-owner of this lucrative mining property. Up to 1906, $25,000 worth of labor and improvements were done by these men, and several lucrative ore bodies were exposed by them on this mining site. Then, on July 1, 1906, the Mammoth Copper Company, of Kennett, bonded the Friday-Lowden mine for eighteen months for the sum of $200,000. The ore from this mine was smelted at the Mammoth Copper Company’s smelter in Kennett.

The Mammoth Copper Company took control of this mineral land and placed a small mining crew at work that month to do exploratory, development, and surface work. Diamond drilling and taking core samples were a major part of the exploration on this mining site at that time. This mining property consisted of the following mining claims: the Badger, the Canyon, the Cleveland, the Comstock, the Last Chance, the Friday-Lowden, the McKinley Quartz mine, the Primrose, the Quartz Hill, the Scott Lode, the South Front, the Stanto Lode, the Washo, the White Lodge, and the Wild Bear Lode, which were on the north side of Squaw Creek. Through-out it’s existence the Friday-Lowden mine has been plagued by critical closures of mining operations due to smelter closures and low grade ore assessments.

This video was filmed on location by Jeremy Tuggle on April 21, 2021.

Over time, the Mammoth Copper Company continued leasing the mine from its owner’s. Eventually, the Mammoth Copper Company purchased the mine from it’s owners. On December 15, 1915, the Sacramento Union newspaper, of Sacramento, heralded the following article regarding the Friday-Lowden mine:

Mammoth Company Will Bore Tunnel

Work Will Cost About $100,000 And Take Eighteen Months To Complete

(Special To The Union.)

Kennett (Shasta Co.) Dec., 17. – The Mammoth Copper Company has started a crew of thirty-five men under the superintendency of John Mackey, to run a 5,000 foot tunnel in the Friday-Lowden copper mine. This tunnel will start 400 feet below the old workings and will run through immense bodies of copper  ore, which will eventually connect with workings of the Mammoth mine by upraises and a few crosscuts. It is estimated that this project will cost $100,000 and take a year and a half to complete.” (SIC)

Over the next eighteen months the Mammoth Copper Company hustled to get the above work completed. In July of 1917, a lucrative copper strike was made inside the Friday-Lowden mine while the Mammoth Copper Company’s mining activities pressed-on until the following month when an alarming strike occurred at Kennett on the smelter site of the Mammoth Copper Company over a dollar raise of employee wages which the mining company was not willing to increase. Miners began protesting and riots occurred consisting of several fist fights. This made people feel unsafe and some went home to get their guns for their personal protection. Eventually, a Sheriff’s posse was called in from Redding to control the crowd at Kennett and they stayed through most of the strike.

This strike caused the Friday-Lowden mine to be closed again as the miners from this mine went to Kennett to protest with their colleagues. Many mines were closed down in the area because of this strike. Then, on August 30th, in the chambers of Judge, Harry Donnelly, Justice of the Peace, at Kennett, the Mammoth Copper Company met with the representatives of their strikers and refused to raise the wages from $4 to $5.

By September 4, 1917 the strikers increased to twelve hundred miners. On that day, the representatives of these strikers met with the officials of the local mining companies in the chambers of Judge, Donnelly. During this meeting the Mammoth Copper Company offered arbitration for the strikers, but they still held out for $5 a day. As the day progressed it was clear that the strike would continue. However, a deadline of September 13th, was demanded by the Mammoth Copper Company for their miners to resume work, or else they would be terminated. Nine days later on September 13, 1917, the twelve hundred miners returned to mining the copper belt by a threat of being terminated without a raise of their salary. The Mammoth Copper Company won that battle, and mining continued on most of their mining properties.

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Yet, it slowed down the progress of work at the Friday-Lowden mine and after that brief periods of mining occurred here. Of it’s original owners, it was Thomas H. Benton who died first on January 19, 1919, followed by John R. Lowdon on August 22, 1923, and finally, Walter Friday on January 25, 1926.

Years later in 1974 the Friday-Lowden mine was owned and by the U.S. Smelting, Refining, and Mining Company, of Salt Lake City, Utah. Gold was found in the oxide ore, and additional ore bodies of copper, chalcopyrite and barite gangue were discovered according to reports.

A selfie. Jeremy in front of the pad-locked adit of the historic Friday-Lowden mine. This photograph was taken by Jeremy Tuggle on April 21, 2021.

Resources:

  • 1888 California, U.S., Voter Registers for Walter Friday
  • 1900 U.S. Census
  • Affidavit Of Labor Performed and Improvements Made – Proofs Of Labor Book 1, pages 34-35, recorded January 19, 1899.
  • Group Of Copper Mines Bonded For Over $200,000 – The San Francisco Call newspaper of San Francisco, July 10, 1906
  • Copper, Silver and Gold – The Sacramento Daily Union newspaper of Sacramento, July 11, 1906
  • Mammoth Runs Great Tunnel – The Sacramento Daily Union newspaper of Sacramento, April 3, 1916
  • Mammoth Running Tunnel Of 4,000 Feet – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, May 1, 1916
  • An Official Plat of the Map of the Mammoth Copper Mining Company claims known as the Badger, Cleveland, Comstock, Lowden, Primrose, Quartz Hill, South Front, Washo and Wild Bear Lodes, Surveyed November 17, 1916 – June 14, 1917 by Charles T. Dozier, Mineral Survey No.5298
  • Mammoth Makes Big Copper Strike – The Sacramento Union newspaper of Sacramento, July 23, 1917
  • Four Mines Tied Up By Strikes Of Miners; Mass Meeting Tonight – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, August 27, 1917
  • 1,200 Copper Miners Strike; Industry Completely Tied Up – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, August 28, 1917
  • Copper Mines In Shasta Are Closed By Strikes – The Sacramento Daily Union newspaper of Sacramento, August 29, 1917
  • Strike Situation Is Unchanged No Prspect of Settlement Now – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, August 29, 1917
  • Mammoth Denies Men Dollar Raisse; Strikers Meeting – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, August 30, 1917
  • Strike Is Deadlock; Both Sides Stand Firm – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, August 31, 1917
  • Mine Operators Ask Arbitration  – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, September 2, 1917
  • Arbitration Turned Down By Strikers – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, September 4, 1917
  • Strikers Repudiate Representatives; Refuse To Work – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, September 13, 1917
  • Thos. H. Benton’s Busy Life Ended – The Seerchlight newspaper of Redding, January 21, 1919
  • John Lowden Old Timer Is Called Beyond – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding, August 22, 1923
  • John R. Lowden Dies In Berkeley- The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, August 23, 1923
  • Searching Party From Kennett Find Their Man Dead; Hold An Inquest And Bury Him On Spot – The Searchlight newspaper of Redding, January 26, 1926

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.  



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 (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

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.

4 comments

  • Informative piece. Well written. Thank you.

  • Ericka Stratton

    I’ve been following him for a while now. His work ethic is unmatched! I love his YouTube videos he does for Redding Buzz. You guys should run some of them on this website. I’m glad you Tuggle to write for you guys as a featured author. Entertaining.

  • Love this article it’s really well written. The videos he does for Redding Buzz is amazing. The last one he did before this. Tuggle walked an old railroad grade in Keswick which I didn’t know was there. Two thumbs up!

  • Carter Shawnda

    Tuggle certainly provides a better history than most historians in the county, better than Dottie Smith. He actually uses real sources. He gets straight to the point. Good job. Great article, looking forward to the next YouTube video adventure and article.

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