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Latrobe Through Shingle Springs

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  • Latrobe (1 miles to the northeast of), El Dorado County, California – the Bryant Soapstone Mine (Soapstone) (From “Mines of El Dorado County,” by Doug Noble, El Dorado County Library web site. You can view this document in PDF format on the El Dorado County Library web site, or you can download the PDF document to your computer. See the “El Dorado County History” section for instructions to download the document.)

    This Soapstone Quarry was located “One and one-half miles to the northeast of Latrobe was the Bryant Ranch Mine.”

  • Latrobe (northeast of), El Dorado County, California – the Pacific Minerals (Swift) Mine (Soapstone) (From "Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California," California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 52, No. 4, October 1956, California Division of Mines. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "Pacific Minerals (Swift) Mine. Location: sec. 35, T. 9 N., R. 9 E., M. D., 3 miles northeast of Latrobe. Ownership: Rufus Swift, Shingle Springs; leased by Pacific Minerals Company, Ltd., 337 10th Street, Richmond, California; George McKenzie, mine foreman.

    "This property was worked originally prior to 1920 (Logan, 1920, p. 433). It was active again during the early 1920's. In these early operations, soapstone was mined in underground workings by hand labor, using augers and drills. The soapstone was shipped to San Francisco where it was used for coating in prepared roofing. The workings caved around 1924, and the mine was shut down (Logan, 1926, p. 451). In 1928, the property was reopened by the present operator and has been worked continuously since that date (George McKenzie, personal communication, 1955).

    "Until recently, the operation was seasonal, generally running from March through September, but now it is a year-around operation. The crude soapstone is shipped by rail to grinding mills in the San Francisco Bay area where it is prepared for use in insecticides.

    "The soapstone forms in a lensoid body that is as much as 100 feet wide. It strikes north-northwest and dips moderately to steeply northeast. The soapstone is greenish-blue in color, although much is stained with iron oxide. Country rock is slaty greenstone and metasedimentary rocks.

    "From 1928 to the late 1930's the mine was worked by underground methods. During that time the main entry was a 220-foot west-trending crosscut adit. About 60 feet in from the portal the main drifts were driven 120 feet north and 200 feet south. Two other drifts, one east and the other west of the main drifts and each 200 feet long, were driven from the main drifts.

    "In the latter 1930's, the central portion of the mine caved (George McKenzie, personal communication, 1955). Since then soapstone has been mined from an open pit. The main pit is 175 feet long, 35 to 70 feet wide, and has a 75-foot face at the north end. There are two smaller pits at the north end of the deposit.

    "A jackhammer powered by a 210-cubic foot compressor is used for drilling. The ore is blasted and loaded into a 5-ton dump truck by a D-4 Caterpillar tractor-loader. The soapstone is trucked about 800 feet and deposited into loading bins by the tracks of the Southern Pacific Railroad. A concrete stockpiling ramp, which can accommodate 2000 tons of ore, was completed in 1955. Three men work at the mine."

  • Latrobe (3 miles northeast of), El Dorado County, California - the Pacific Minerals (Swift) Mine (Soapstone) (From "Mines of El Dorado County," by Doug Noble, El Dorado County Library web site. You can view this document in PDF format on the El Dorado County Library web site, or you can download the PDF document to your computer. See the “El Dorado County History” section for instructions to download the document.)

    “The property was originally worked prior to 1920 and again active during the early 1920’s. Soapstone was originally mined underground by hand labor, using augurs and drills.By 1955, the main pit was 175 feet long, 35 to 70 feet wide and 75 feet deep at the face. There were also two other smaller pits at the north end of the deposit.”

  • Le Grande, El Dorado County, California – Van Ness Brothers (Slate) (Excerpts from "California Mineral Commodities in 1951," California State Division of Mines, California Journal of Mines and Geology, pp. Vol. 50, No. 1, January 1954, pp. 59-147. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    (Operator) Van Ness Brothers; (Address) La Grande; (Location) La Grande.

  • Newcastle, El Dorado County, California – California Rock & Gravel Co. (Limestone) (Excerpts from "California Mineral Commodities in 1951," California State Division of Mines, California Journal of Mines and Geology, pp. Vol. 50, No. 1, January 1954, pp. 59-147. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    (Operator) California Rock & Gravel Co. (industrial limestone); (Address) 1800 Hobart Blvd., San Francisco; (Location) Newcastle.

  • Newcastle, El Dorado County, California – Hughes-Vertin Lime Co. (Lime & Limestone) (Excerpts from "California Mineral Commodities in 1951," California State Division of Mines, California Journal of Mines and Geology, pp. Vol. 50, No. 1, January 1954, pp. 59-147. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    (Operator) Hughes-Vertin Lime Co. (producer of burnt lime, industrial limestone, agricultural lime, and lime materials used in rough construction); (Address) Box 231, Auburn; (Location) Newcastle.

  • Newcastle (east of), El Dorado County, California - Alabaster Cave (Limestone) (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    "Alabaster Cave, W. T. Holmes Lime Company, 24 Sacramento street, San Francisco, owner, is about 7 miles east of Newcastle, on the east side of the American River, and about three-fourths of a mile above the suspension bridge. It occurs in a crystalline, granular, white, and clouded white and blue limestone, which lies in a stratum about 50 feet thick, inclosed by mica-schists. The limestone layers are standing vertical and have a north and south strike parallel with the cleavage of the schist. It forms a bold outcrop on each side of a small cañon that cuts through it. The Alabaster cave from which the place is named is on the roadside on the north side of the cañon. A lime quarry was opened on the hill immediately above it, and a stone kiln in which the lime was burned is on the roadside, but they have not been used for several years.

    "On the south side of the cañon and a few hundred feet from the cave is a large stack kiln, in which is burned the lime from the stone quarried just above it. This quarry has been worked to a depth of 50 feet, about 300 feet long, and to the full width of the limestone. The lime rock is brought on tram-cars to the top of the kiln, which stands on the hillside below the level of the quarry.

    "The stone at the above quarry is a compact, heavy, medium-coarse, crystalline limestone, free from impurities, except a few parallel bands of schist which are inclosed in it. Some of these schist bands are disintegrated to the depth of the quarry opening, and the rotten schist is easily separated from the limestone; but some of the schist is not disintegrated and is not so easily separated from the limestone, and hence causes some waste in the quarrying.

    "The stone is burned with wood in the kiln at the quarry and hauled in rawhide sacks by wagon 7 miles to Newcastle, on the Southern Pacific Railroad. It is mostly shipped to Sacramento and handled by the Sacramento Lime Company."

  • Newtown (south of), El Dorado County, California - Sierra Placerite Quarry and Kilns (From "Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California," California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 52, No. 4, October 1956, California Division of Mines. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "Sierra Placerite. Location: sec. 29, T. 10 N., R. 12 E., M. D., 1 mile south of Newtown just northwest of the junction of the Newtown and Pleasant Valley roads. Ownership: Sierra Placerite, Route 2, Box 252, Placerville, A. E. Nicolazzi, president and Warren Wilson, manager.

    "Ornamental building stone that is marketed under the trade name of Sierra Placerite is produced. The finished stone is used in fireplaces, patios, outdoor barbecue pits, stone facing, and garden walls. Rhyolite tuff is obtained from a nearby quarry and sawed and split into slabs and blocks. Some of it is fired in kilns. The operation was started in 1947 by R. C. Young and purchased by the present operator in 1954 (Warren Wilson, personal communication, 1955.)

    "Extensive beds of vitric crystal rhyolite tuff of Miocene age occur in the region. In some places in this area the beds are several hundred feet thick. The tuff is fine-grained, light buff to white in color, and contains small plates of black biotite. There are numerous limonite-stained layers in the tuff, commonly in circular or concentric patterns. The quarry, which is quarter of a mile northeast of the plant, is 100 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 5 to 20 feet deep. An auger drill and power loader are used in quarrying. Large blocks of stone are trucked to the plant, while small fragments are sold directly from the quarry as rough stone. An old quarry just north of the plant was worked until 1954.

    "At the plant the pieces are sawed into slabs of desired thickness with circular stone saws that have carborundum or tungsten carbide teeth. The most common thicknesses are 2, 3, or 5 inches. The slabs are broken into desired widths, usually about 4 inches, with a hydraulic breaker or splitter. They then are trimmed to any desired length with hand axes. About two thirds of the shaped stone is marketed with natural colors. The remaining third is heated in a brick oven to drive off all contained moisture. The dried stone is then fired in an oil- and gas-fired continuous kiln. The small amount of iron present is oxidized so that the stone is colored to pleasing shades of orange, red, and pink. The lighter colors are obtained by firing at about 1600 F.; a brick-red color is obtained by firing at 2000 F. There is also a small electric kiln on the property for firing special hand-finished pieces. A ceramic glaze is put on novelty items such as desk sets and lamp bases.

    "Most of the finished product of the past few years has been used in fireplaces and building fronts in the numerous housing developments in the San Francisco Bay Area. The rate of production is as high as 100 tons of finished stone per month (Warren Wilson, personal communication, 1955). Seven men work at the quarry and plant."

  • Placerville Slate District, California - Geologic Map
    Geologic Map of Placerville Slate District, California, from Slate Deposits and Slate Industry in the United States, Bulletin 275, 1906. Placerville Slate District Map
  • Placerville (near), El Dorado County, California - Slate Quarries (circa 1887) (Slate) (Excerpt from Appendix To The Journals of The Senate and Assembly of The Twenty-Seventh Session of The Legislature of the State of California, Vol. VII, Sacramento: State Office, P. L. Shoaff, Supt. State Printing, 1887, pp. 185.
  • “Among the products of this county are lime, marble, copper, and iron. The lime quarries are the most valuable in the State, and have been successfully and profitably worked since 1853. They are located in what is known as Cave Valley, on the Georgetown Divide, and are of unlimited extent. The building of the narrow gauge road spoken of would make these quarries worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The marble quarries are at Indian Diggings, in the northeastern portion of the county. Marble from these work into beautiful monuments, and finish with a polish and beauty equal to the finest Italian. They, however, are too distant from rail communication at present to be worked with much profit. The slate quarries near Placerville are the finest in the State, and some day will be worked at great profit.”

  • Placerville (near), El Dorado County, California –  Slate Quarries near Placerville circa 1891  (from transcription of Stones for Building and Decoration, by George P. Merrill, Curator for Geology in the United States National Museum, J. Wiley & Sons, 1891, pp. 299.

    “California. – Slate of excellent quality and color is said* to occur in El Dorado County, near Placerville, where it has been quarried to some extent; the color is blue-black.”

  • (*  Footnote:  Eighth Annual Report State Mineralogist of California, 1888, p. 199.)

  • Placerville (south of), El Dorado County, California – the Bind & Company Marble Deposit (Marble) (Excerpts from Report XV of the State Mineralogist, Mines and Mineral Resources of Portions of California, Chapters of State Mineralogist's Report Biennial Period 1915-1916, Part III. The Counties of El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Yuba, California State Mining Bureau, 1919, pp. 271-459. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "Bind & Company, of Placerville, own a deposit of marble 2 miles south of Placerville on Webber Creek. The color is white, mottled and blue gray. Undeveloped."

  • Placerville (3 miles north of), El Dorado County, California - the California Slate Quarry (From "Mines of El Dorado County," by Doug Noble, El Dorado County Library web site. You can view this document in PDF format on the El Dorado County Library web site, or you can download the PDF document to your computer. See the “El Dorado County History” section for instructions to download the document.)

    According to Doug Noble, the California Slate Quarry was located "north of Placerville on the north side of the American River. It was active around 1889, but the slate turned out to be poor quality because of the presence of pyrite."

  • Placerville (northwest of), El Dorado County, California – Chili Bar Slate Quarry (Slate) (Excerpts from Slate Deposits and Slate Industry of the United States, Bulletin No. 275, by T. Nelson Dale with sections by E. C. Eckel, W. F. Hillerbrand, and A. T. Coons, "Slate Deposits and Industry of the United States - California," by Edwin C. Eckel, pp. 56-59, Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1906.)

    "Chili Bar Slate Company quarry. – This quarry is located about 3 miles north of Placerville, in sec. 36, T. 11 N., R. 10 E., on the south side of the South Fork of American River, a few hundred yards east of the Placerville-Kelsey stage road.

    "This is the oldest quarry in the district, having been opened about twenty years ago. It has been shut down since 1897.

    "Several openings were made in a bluff forming the river bank at this point. In the easternmost of these openings, which is about 40 feet high and 30 feet wide, a rather poor slate with irregular joints is shown. The cleavage strikes N. 20 W., and dips 75 E. The westernmost opening is small, with a tunnel which was apparently run in on a band of better slate. The slate piled in the yard has kept its color fairly well.

    "It seems possible that this quarry may be flooded at high water. Both it and the one next mentioned (San Francisco quarry) are badly located, having no large dumping area available near the quarries. Neither quarry has gone deep enough to get really good slate, which might have been found at a greater depth.

    "Transportation and market. - The Eldorado (sic) County slates have practically no competition on or near the Pacific coast, while the Eureka quarry has recently placed large shipments in Hawaii and Guam. Until recently the principal problem has been the transportation of the slates form the quarry to the railroad. This was formerly done by wagon hauling over a 6-mile stretch of very hilly road. During the last season, however, the Eureka Slate Company has installed an aerial tramway system from its quarry to a point near Placerville. This tramway is an engineering feat of no mean order, the crossing of the South Fork of American River being the principal difficulty encountered."

    • American River (south side of), El Dorado County, California – the Chili Bar Slate Quarry (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

      "Chili Bar Slate Quarry, in Sec. 36, T. 11 N., R. 10 E., M. D. M.; J. G. Mothersole, Placerville, owner. On the south side of the American River. It is said to be the oldest quarry in the district, but has been idle since 1897."

    • Placerville, El Dorado County, California – Chili Bar Slate Quarry (Excerpts from Slate in the United States, Bulletin 586, by T. Nelson Dale and Others, United States Geological Survey, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1914.)

      "Chili Bar Slate Co.'s quarry. – This quarry is located about 3 miles north of Placerville, in sec. 36, T. 11 N., R. 10 E., on the south side of the South Fork of American River, a few hundred yards east of the Placerville-Kelsey stage road. It is the oldest quarry in the district, having been opened about 28 years ago. It has been shut down since 1897.

      "Several openings were made in a bluff forming the river bank at this point. In the easternmost of these openings, which is about 40 feet high and 30 feet wide, a rather poor slate with irregular joints is shown. the cleavage strikes N. 20 W. and dips 75 E. The westernmost opening is small and consists of a tunnel which was apparently run in on a band of better slate. The slate piled in the yard has kept its color fairly well.

      "It seems possible that this quarry may be flooded at high water. Both it and the one next mentioned (San Francisco quarry) are badly located, having no large dumping areas available near by. Neither quarry has gone deep enough to get really good slate, which might have been found at a greater depth…."

      "Transportation and market. - The slates of Eldorado County have practically no competition on or near the Pacific coast, and the Eureka quarry has recently (circa 1906) placed large shipments in Hawaii and Guam. Until recently the principal problem has been the transportation of the slates from the quarry to the railroad.* This was formerly done by wagon hauling over a 6-mile stretch of very hilly road. In 1905, however, the Eureka Slate Co. installed an aerial tramway system from its quarry to a point near Placerville. This tramway is an engineering feat of no mean order, the crossing of the South Fork of American River being the principal difficulty encountered."

      (* NOTE: As this 1914 report is essentially the same as the 1906 report in Slate Deposits and Slate Industry of the United States, Bulletin No. 275, "Slate Deposits and Industry of the United States - California, by Edwin C. Eckel, pp. 56-59, Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1906.," the shipments to Hawaii and Guam and the problem with the transportation by wagon occurred circa 1906 rather than nearer the published date of this report in 1914.)

    • Placerville (northwest of), El Dorado County, California – Chili Bar Slate Quarry (Excerpt from Report XV of the State Mineralogist, Mines and Mineral Resources of Portions of California, Chapters of State Mineralogist's Report Biennial Period 1915-1916, Part III. The Counties of El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Yuba, California State Mining Bureau, 1919, pp. 271-459. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

      Chili Bar Slate Quarry. See our Bulletin 38. Situated 2 miles northwest of Placerville, in Sec. 36, T. 11 N., R. 10 E. Idle. J. G. Mothersole, of Placerville, owner."

    • Placerville (north of), El Dorado County, California - the Chili Bar Mine (Slate) (From "Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California," California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 52, No. 4, October 1956, California Division of Mines. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

      "Location: sec. 36, T. 11 N., R. 10 E., M. D., on the south side of the South Fork of the American River just east of the Chili Bar bridge, 3 miles north of Placerville. Ownership: Pacific Mineral Company, Ltd., 339 10th Street, Richmond, California; G. H. Bishop, manager; Edward bishop, foreman.

      Figure 29. Pacific Minerals Company slate mine and crushing plant at Chili Bar, by South Fork American River. Camera facing south. (From "Mines and Mineral Resources of El Dorado County, California," California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 52, No. 4, October 1956, California Division of Mines. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.) Pacific Minerals Company slate mine and crushing plant at Chili Bar
      Fig. 23. Adit and buildings of the Pacific Minerals Company slate mine on the South Fork of the American River two miles north of Placerville. (From Geologic Guidebook Along Highway 49 - Sierran Gold Belt: T he Mother Lode Country, Bulletin 141, Olaf P. Jenkins, Chief, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, 1949. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.) Adit and buildings of the Pacific Minerals Company slate mine on the South Fork of the American River
      Fig. 29. Outcrop of Mariposa slate near the Pacific Company slate quarry north of Placerville, El Dorado County. (From Geologic Guidebook Along Highway 49 - Sierran Gold Belt: The Mother Lode Country, Bulletin 141, Olaf P. Jenkins, Chief, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, 1949. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.) Outcrop of Mariposa slate near the Pacific Company slate quarry north of Placerville

      "Originally an open-pit operation, the Chili Bar slate mine first was worked from 1887 to 1897 (Logan, 1926, p. 448). In these early operations, roofing shingles and other forms of dimension slate were produced. The property was idle until 1928, when it was reopened by the present operator. An underground mine was developed and a grinding and sizing plant installed (G. H. Bishop, personal communication, 1954). Since that date, roofing granules and slate-dust filler have been the principal products with the exception of minor amounts of dimension slate.

      "Dark fissile slate of the Mariposa formation occurs in a northwest-trending belt about 2 miles wide. The slaty cleavage strikes N. 10 W. and dips 85 NE. Metasedimentary rocks of the Calaveras group lie east of this belt and fine-grained metadiabase is exposed to the west. The mine is about a quarter of a mile east of the west boundary of the slate. Small quartz stringers mostly less than an inch wide are present here and there in the slate. Several hundred yards east of the mine are several quartz stringers that contain pyrite and some gold.

      "The mine is worked through a southeast-trending drift adit which is the main haulageway. Until 1953, the slate was mined in shrinkage stopes. These were abandoned, and at present the slate is mined by overhand stoping in pillar and chamber workings. A stope is developed by driving a drift for about 150 feet; this is then widened to 40 to 50 feet and heightened to about 18 feet. Broken slate is removed for convenient access, and full-width overhand slices, each about 18 feet high, are removed from the back of the long stope, the miners always standing on the broken slate. The stopes are finally completed leaving large open chambers with pillars between. The slate has been mined for distances of 500 feet east and west of the main haulageway, about 800 feet southeast of the portal. Little or no timber is used in the underground workings. Ingersoll-Rand and Chicago pneumatic long-shell drifters with 4-foot changes in steel and 'carset' bits are used. A round usually consists of about 200 60-foot holes in an 18- by 40-foot face. 'Geladine' ready-split stick powder with a millisecond delay firing system is used in blasting.

      "Broken slate is loaded into ore cars by pneumatic mucking machines and hand-trammed to the raw-feed hopper 100 feet in from the adit portal. The slate is sent through a 2-inch grizzly. At the plant, which is just west of the adit portal, the minus 2-inch material falls into a rotary drier, while plus 2-inch slate goes to two Williams Jumbo Junior hammer mills. The crushed slate is sent through four Tyler Hum-mer (sic) double-deck vibrating screens. Plus 10-mesh material is returned to the circuit for re-crushing. Minus 10- plus 35-mesh material is treated with a special saturating oil and bagged for shipment as roofing granules. Minus 35-mesh material is further ground in a Joshua Hendy ball mill, elevated, and air classified in a Sturdevant air classifier. Two nominal sizes (299-mesh and 325-mesh) are prepared, bagged in paper sacks, and shipped to the market as slate-dust filler. Plant output is about 40 percent granules and 60 percent filler dust (Edward Bishop, personal communication, 1955).

      "Ten are employed at the mine and mill. The mine operates on one shift and the mill on two shifts per day. Bagged material is trucked to Placerville for rail shipment. Much of the finished product is shipped to the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas, and some is shipped to Oregon."

  • Placerville (3 miles north of), El Dorado County, California - the Chili Bar Slate Quarry (From "Mines of El Dorado County," by Doug Noble, El Dorado County Library web site. You can view this document in PDF format on the El Dorado County Library web site, or you can download the PDF document to your computer. See the “El Dorado County History” section for instructions to download the document.)

    According to Doug Noble, the "Chili Bar Slate Quarry is on the south side of the South Fork of the American River, just east of the Chili Bar Bridge, three and one-half miles north of Placerville." Worked from 1887 - 1897 for roofing shingles and other forms of dimension slate by the open-pit method.

  • Placerville (southeast of), El Dorado County, California - the Darlington Mine (Soapstone) (From "Mines of El Dorado County," by Doug Noble, El Dorado County Library web site. You can view this document in PDF format on the El Dorado County Library web site, or you can download the PDF document to your computer. See the “El Dorado County History” section for instructions to download the document.)

    The soapstone mine "was active in the 1880's when sawed slabs of soapstone were produced. The massive lens up to 25-feet wide and 130-feet long was developed by open cuts."

  • Placerville (one and one-half miles north of), El Dorado County, California - the El Dorado Slate Products Company (Chadborne) (From "Mines of El Dorado County," by Doug Noble, El Dorado County Library web site. You can view this document in PDF format on the El Dorado County Library web site, or you can download the PDF document to your computer. See the “El Dorado County History” section for instructions to download the document.)

    This slate mine was located "on the south side of Big Canyon, one and one-half miles north of Placerville." There were several quarries which produced slate "during the 1920's, which was then sent across the canyon via an overhead cable...."

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