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Plumas County


  • Plumas County Limestone and Marble (historical times through circa 1906) (Excerpt from The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    “Limestone of a good lime-producing quality occurs in a great ledge extending half a mile north from the Last Chance mine, in Sec. 35, T. 23 N., R. 9 E., and south from the same point into Sec. 5, T. 22 N., R. 9 E., crossing Onion Valley Creek. Along this course the ledge varies in width from 100 to 300 feet. It extends also farther south through Secs. 17 and 20, but is not of equal body.”

    “There are large bodies of marble in the southwestern part of Plumas County. Marble Cone is a great mountain of marble situated in Sec. 8, T. 22 N., R. 8 E., on the south side of Middle Feather River. Marble ledges also occur on the north side of the river, in Sections 5, 6 and 7. This ground is unsurveyed. Locations were made some twelve years ago by Judge C. E. McLaughlin of Quincy, James Jones of La Porte, and others, and samples of the marble were polished, presenting a handsome face and evidence of fine quality; but the locations were abandoned, owing to failure of the extension westward of the Beckwith Pass Railway.”

  • Plumas, County, California, Mineral Resources & Introduction to the Plumas County Area of California (circa 1915) - Excerpt from Sacramento Valley and Foothill Counties of California: An Illustrated Description of all the Counties Embraced in this Richly productive Geographical Subdivision of the Golden State, compiled and edited by Emmett Phillips and John H. Miller, Published under the direction of The Sacramento Valley Exposition, J. A. Filcher, Director-in Chief, January, 1915.

    Plumas County

    "Plumas is a mountain county, and is noted for its mines, forests, productive valleys and scenic beauties. Its entire area lies on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, its lowest elevation being about 1,800 feet and its highest peaks reaching an altitude of 10,000 feet. Drained and irrigated by the waters of many rivers, the valleys which lie between the mountain ridges are wide sweeps of fertile land, where soil and climatic conditions are the best for dairying, stock raising and culture of hardy fruits. Nearly all of the land of these valleys is under cultivation. Uncleared land sells for from $25 to $40 per acre and cleared land from $40 to $75, the price varying according to location, water rights and quality of the soil.

    "The most important of these valleys are Indian, Sierra, Mohawk, American, Big Meadows, Genesee, Humbug, Meadow, Butt, Warner, Grizzly, Lone Rock, Red Clover, Buck's, Spring Garden and Last Chance. The total valley area of the county is 191,240 acres. All of these fertile nooks produce immense crops of grain and hay and hardy fruits and vegetables.

    "A big factor in the development of Plumas County is its mineral wealth. Running through many of its mountain ridges are ancient river channels whose gravel beds hold vast stores of gold. Millions of dollars have already been taken from the Plumas Mines, and those who have studied the mineral production of the county say that the extraction of the previous metal will continue for many years to come. There has been much surface mining done in Plumas in times past and there still remains opportunities for this kind of gold hunting.

    "The Plumas-Eureka and Jamison mines are rich quartz properties and are noted as the best gold producers in the vicinity. The Jamison has been worked for about seventeen years and the Plumas-Eureka, one of the oldest mines in the county, which was allowed to remain idle for many years, we (sic) reopened several years ago and operated by modern methods. Other noted producers are the Dunn Mine, near Seneca, the Stauffer at Long Valley, the McGill and Stannart, the New York, the Indian Valley, the McClellan, the Southern Eureka, the Cherokee, the Arcadia, and the Wolf Creek quartz mines near Greenville; the Green Mountain and the Crescent quartz mines at Crescent Mills; the Gruss Mine at Genesee; the Gopher Hill and the Bean Hill, near Spanish Ranch, and the Bellevue near La Porte.

    "Plumas County has all of the necessities required for successful mining. It has quantities of timber and an unlimited supply of water for power and other purposes. The Western Pacific, transcontinental, which crosses the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Plumas County, affords excellent transportation facilities.

    "The country is practically one entire sweep of forest from one end to the other. While the greater part of this is now embraced in a National Forest Reserve, yet large quantities of the timber on it had been patented prior to the establishment of the Reserve, and many sawmills throughout the mountains turn out millions of feet of sugar pine, yellow pine, spruce and cedar lumber annually. The lumber is of excellent quality and is shipped to all parts of the United States. It has even been exported to the Orient and to England for ornamental purposes. An estimate of the amount of timber cut in the county per year is fifty million feet (circa 1915).

    "The magnitude of the power contained in the water supply of Plumas County can hardly be estimated. The county is crossed by the North and Middle Forks of the beautiful feather River and their numerous branches and hundreds of other mountain streams that are fed the entire year around by the perennial snows on the mountain peaks. There are throughout the county numerous mountain lakes, which are natural storage reservoirs, which await capital and science to develop great irrigation and power projects. There are already several great power plants in Plumas, but they are insignificant in comparison with the great potential energy that the county's streams will some day produce.

    "The climate of Plumas County is delightful. In Summer the temperature rarely goes over 95 degrees and the warm days are followed by cool evenings. While snow falls in the higher altitudes in December, January, February and March, the lower valleys have little or no snow. Frosts appear in the early Spring and late Fall. The climate is invigorating and healthful.

    "Quincy is the county seat of Plumas County. It is a beautiful little town in the American Valley, surrounded by snowclad mountain peaks. It is connected with the Western Pacific Railroad, a transcontinental line, by a branch railway, known as the Quincy Western, built by the citizens of Quincy. The city is electric lighted and has a good water and sewer system.

    Keddie is eight miles northeast of Quincy on the Western Pacific Railroad. It is the shipping point for Indian Valley, one of the leading grain producing sections of the county.

    "Beckwith, near the lower end of Sierra Valley, is on the Boca & Loyalton, Sierra Valley, and Western Pacific Railroads. It is the supply and shipping point for a large timber, mining and farming country.

    "Portola, Greenville, Taylorsville and Crescent Mills are other towns of importance in Plumas County.

    "Plumas County is noted for its beautiful scenery. The Feather River Canyon, through which the Western Pacific Railroad passes, is famed for its scenic grandeur. Summer resorts are numerous at different points along the canyon and are alive with activity during the months of June, July, August and September. Campers from the valley counties find all parts of Plumas County a delight in Summer. Trout and white fish are plentiful in all the streams and lakes, and deer, bear, grouse and mountain quail lure the sportsman to the thicket.

    "Mountain springs providing healthful mineral waters are numerous throughout Plumas, the most noted being at Longville, in Humbug Valley, at Chipp's Creek, Twain, Soda Bar and Arlington. There are warm springs near Greenville and warm and cold sulphur springs at the Sulphur Spring Ranch.

    "There are numerous mountain resorts in the county where hundreds of valley residents enjoy delightful outings during the Summer months."

  • Plumas County Mineral Industry (circa 1919) - Excerpt from California Mineral Production for 1919, Bulletin No. 88, by Walter W. Bradley, California State Mining Bureau, 1920, pp. 158.

    Area: 2,594 square miles.
    Population: 5,681 (1920 census)
    Location: Northeastern border of state, south of Lassen County.

    "A considerable portion of the area of Plumas County lies in the high mountains, and deposits of the metals, especially gold and copper, are found there. Lack of transportation and other facilities have retarded its growth, but its future is decidedly promising. Mineral production for 1919 was valued at $2,183,750, as compared with the 1918 output, worth $3,092,694, the decrease being due mainly to copper, which dropped the county from twelfth to fifteenth place in rank. In 1919 Plumas passed Shasta in the copper lead, owing to the Shasta smelters being closed down.

    "Among its mineral resources are: Chromite, copper, gold, granite, iron, lead, limestone, manganese, molybdenum, platinum, silver, and zinc.

    "Commercial production for 1919 was as follows:

    (Headings for the information below are: Substance, Amount, and Value.)

    Copper, 10,193,951 lbs., $1,896,075
    Gold, ---, $130,000 (estimated)
    Silver, ---, $155,000 (estimated)
    Stone, miscellaneous, ---, $850
    Other minerals,* ---, $1,825
    (Total value) $2,183,750

    (* Includes limestone and manganese.)

    Plumas County, 1916 Map, from California Mineral Production for 1919 (with County Maps), Bulletin No. 88, by Walter W. Bradley, California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco: California State Printing Office, 1920, pp. 184. Plumas County , 1916 Map
  • Plumas County Limestone Industry and Deposits (through 1947) - Excerpts from "Limestone in California," by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, pp. 175-357. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "Although there are many limestone deposits in Plumas County, the local population is small and the possibility of marketing the stone nearby is therefore limited. The principal outlet is over the Western Pacific Railroad and the deposits that offer the best possibilities of future utilization are those near the rail line. Freight rates would of course have to be placed low enough to permit competition with producers in other counties.

    "The railroad follows the course of the canyon of the North Fork of Feather River, and from Big Bar in Butte County to the vicinity of Belden, the canyon is carved entirely in granite with no limestone deposits. From there eastward there are several bodies of limestone of very good grade, either on or near the railroad. South of Granite Basin and near Hartman Bar on the Middle Fork of Feather River, in a rough and remote region, are numerous bodies of limestone and marble.

    "The limestones of the region occur in a number of different geologic formations, ranging from the Silurian Montgomery formation to the lower or middle Jurassic Thompson limestone. By far the larger part, much of it in remote and relatively inaccessible parts of the county, is in the Carboniferous Mississippian meta-sediments, which have been mapped as the Calaveras formation because of stratigraphic similarities and lack of fossil evidence. These beds have undergone so much compression and folding that the limestone members have been crystallized and in many places changed to marble, and are generally the remaining portions of lens-shaped deposits that have been tilted to a nearly vertical position and more or less eroded.

    "In composition they range from high-calcium to highly magnesian limestone, with as much as 20 percent MgO. The latter weather to a dirty light-gray color and the U. S. Geological Survey was unable to find any fossils in a large number of samples. (Turner, H. W. 96, p. 629).* The limestones containing fossils which led to their classification as Calaveras weather a dark bluish-gray, and this color is characteristic of them throughout the western foothill section of the Sierra Nevada.

    (* Henry Ward Turner, "Further Contributions to the Geology of the Sierra Nevada," U.S. Geological Survey 17th Annual Report, pt. 1, pp. 521-762, pls. 17-47, 1896.)

    "Farther north in the central part of the county, J. S. Diller (08)* studied the geology and described limestones of various ages. The most interesting of these is the Hosselkus limestone, taking its name from the Hosselkus Ranch in Genesee Valley. The largest body of this limestone extends from the SW sec. 3, T. 25 N., R. 11 E., M.D., (a mile northeast of Genesee) through secs. 28, 33, and 34, T. 26 N., R. 11 E., with a continuous exposure 2 miles long. This is upper Triassic, dark blue when fresh and weathering a light gray. According to Diller, its greatest thickness in this region is 140 feet. It lies at 4500 feet elevation and is about 15 miles from the railroad, with a road extending almost to the deposit from the railroad 1 miles north of Crescent Mills. No analyses are available for the Hosselkus limestone in this locality, but under Shasta County, in which the Triassic limestone is much more abundant, several analyses are given in this report.

    (* J. S. Diller, Geology of the Taylorsville Region, California, U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 353, 128 pp., 5 pls., 1908.)

    "The Montgomery (Silurian) limestone outcrops in small bodies at intervals along the western border of the Grizzly formation, beginning 1 mile south of Taylorsville. None of these have been worked and several are in rough, inaccessible parts of the Grizzly Mountains.

    "In the Shoofly (Carboniferous, Calaveras) formation Diller mapped a lens of limestone half a mile long in sec. 14, T. 25 N., R. 9 E., and three smaller outcrops nearby. These are said to be much as 50 feet thick in places. They are all less than a mile from the railroad and county road. In the Downieville quadrangle, south of the area mapped by Diller, such deposits are mapped as Carboniferous, Calaveras and all are shown as Mississippian on the state geologic map. The Shoofly limestone has not been developed and no analysis is available.

    "The Thompson (Jurassic) formation contains some narrow bodies of limestone, principally in secs. 23, 24, 25, 26, and 35, T. 26 N., R. 10 E. Some lime is said to have been made near the north end, probably for limited local use. Some years ago, claims were located on some of these outcrops, which were said to offer promise, but there is no record of production in recent years. The thickness of the beds ranges from 10 to 40 feet according to Diller."


Plumas County List of Quarries, Etc.*

(* Please note this list does not include sand or gravel quarries.)

  • Chilcoot (near), (Plumas County, California - Chilcoot Granite Company Granite Quarry (Granite) (Excerpts from "Mines and Mineral Resources of Plumas County," by Erroll Mac Boyle, Chapters of State Mineralogist's Report Biennial Period 1917-1918, December, 1918, California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1920, pp. 181. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "The Chilcoot Granite Company. R. B. Myers, manager, 204 Bacon Block, Oakland, owns a granite quarry near Chilcoot on the Western Pacific Railroad, but it has not been operated recently."

  • Chilcoot, (Plumas County, California - Paul Sonognini - Granite Quarry (Granite) (Excerpts from "Mines and Mineral Resources of Plumas County," by Erroll Mac Boyle, Chapters of State Mineralogist's Report Biennial Period 1917-1918, December, 1918, California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1920, pp. 181. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "Paul Sonognini, at Chilcoot, has a granite quarry which he has operated in a small way for several years past, but it was idle in 1918."

  • Chilcoot (near), (Plumas County, California - the Western Pacific Railroad Granite Quarries (Granite) (Excerpts from "Mines and Mineral Resources of Plumas County," by Erroll Mac Boyle, Chapters of State Mineralogist's Report Biennial Period 1917-1918, December, 1918, California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1920, pp. 181. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "The Western Pacific Railroad, at several places along their right of way in Plumas County, but principally near Chilcoot, utilizes granite for rubble and ballast. A ditcher, Roger's ballast, and flat cars are used."

  • Nelson Bar Bridge, Plumas County, California - Limestone Point Deposit (Limestone) (Excerpt from "Limestone in California," by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, pp. 175-357. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "Limestone Point deposit is a prominent deposit on a hill just north of the Middle Fork of Feather River, 2 miles west of Nelson Bar bridge.

    "It is too remote to be of interest except geologically. It is a magnesian limestone, according to the following analysis by the U. S. Geological Survey (Turner, H. W. 96, p. 630)* of a type differing from the ordinary Carboniferous high-calcium limestones of the Sierra Nevada.

    (* Henry Ward Turner, "Further Contributions to the Geology of the Sierra Nevada," U.S. Geological Survey 17th Annual Report, pt. 1, pp. 521-762, pls. 17-47, 1896.)

    Partial analysis, limestone from Limestone Point

    Silica, 2.29 percent
    Lime, 30.19 percent
    Magnesia, 9.99 percent

  • Plumas County, California - Marble Cone (Marble) (Excerpts from "Limestone in California," by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, pp. 175-357. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "Marble Cone is in secs. 6 and 7, T. 22 N., R. 8 E., on the Middle Fork of Feather River. In an extremely inaccessible region reached only by trail, the deposit was located before 1900 as the possible site of a marble quarry when it was thought a railroad might be built through the river canyon. These are two large bodies of marble, one on the south side of the river and one mostly on the north side. The latter bears the name now."

  • Plumas County, California - Pyramidial Lime Deposit (Limestone) (Excerpts from "Limestone in California," by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, pp. 175-357. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "Pyramidial Lime Deposit. It is in secs. 6, 7, and 8, T. 25 N., R. 8 E., near Virgilia on the Western Pacific Railroad. Of the 960 acres once held, 480 acres has been patented. As originally located, the Pyramidal placer mine extended from Cherry Peak in the southeast corner of T. 26 N., R. 7 E., for nearly 3 miles southeastward across secs. 6, 7, 8, and 17, T. 25 N., R. 8 E., covering a series of lenses of limestone in the Cedar formation (Triassic marine meta-sediments). The outcrops range from 2500 feet to about 4800 feet elevation, going from Virgilia northwestward. The width of limestone on Cherry Hill is reported to be 800 feet, but in places calcareous shale is interbedded with the limestone; however, wide layers free from shale can be found.

    "A tunnel 275 feet long has been run in the deposit and some lime was made in an old-style kiln, the last recorded producing being 350 barrels in 1927.

    "The following analyses are from a report by Edw. H. Scott.

    Water, 3.4 percent
    Iron oxide Fe2O3, 0.4 percent
    Alumina Al2O3, 1.6 percent
    Magnesia MgO, 0.3 percent
    Silica SiO2, 6.0 percent
    Lime CaO, 49.1 percent
    Carbon dioxide Co2, 39.1 percent

    The following is from a width of 150 feet of limestone free from shale, lying next to the hanging wall:

    Fe2O3, Al2O3, 1.6 percent
    MgO, 0.3 percent
    SiO2, 2.9 percent
    CaO, 53.3 percent
    Co2, 41.9 percent

    "There are shale and slate layers nearby that are claimed to be suitable to mix with the limestone to make Portland cement, and parts of the deposit where the shale and limestone layers are interbedded are said to approximate a 'Belgian natural Portland cement'."

  • Plumas County, California - Western Star Travertine Deposit (Travertine) (Excerpts from "Limestone in California," by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, pp. 175-357. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "Western Star travertine deposit is in secs. 3 and 9, T. 25 N., R. 9 E., on a county road and only a few hundred feet from the railroad. The claims have been held for years by Western Star Gold Mining Company. The travertine covers several acres, and depths ranging from 8 to 20 feet can be observed (Averill, C. V. 37, p. 149).* The travertine is banded and may have some value for ornamental purposes...."

    (* Charles Volney Averill, Redding Field District, "Mineral Resources of Plumas County," California Division Mines Report 33, pp. 79-143, illus., 1937.)

  • Sloat (northeast of), Plumas County, California - Silver White Placer Claim (Limestone) (Excerpts from "Limestone in California," by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, pp. 175-357. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "Silver White placer claim is in S SW SE sec. 1, and NW NE sec. 12, T. 23 N., R. 11 E., M.D., 3 miles northeast of Sloat on the Western Pacific Railroad. More than 20 years ago, Plumas Lime & Rock Company was formed to work the deposit, but did not reach production. The deposit was examined by E. G. Manasse, president, and C. B. Kinney, chief chemist, of The Sawyer Tanning Company. They estimated the body of limestone to be about 750 feet long and 200 feet wide, so that it should contain 1,250,000 tons to a depth of 100 feet if it maintains these dimensions. A spur track from the main line is said to be feasible on a good grade...." (The colors listed in the test results, which are not shown here, are: Gray, light gray, and white.)

  • Twain (northwest of), (Plumas County, California - Pyramidal Placer Mine (Limestone) (Excerpts from "Mines and Mineral Resources of Plumas County," by Erroll Mac Boyle, Chapters of State Mineralogist's Report Biennial Period 1917-1918, December, 1918, California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1920, pp. 178-179. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "Pyramidal Placer Mine. Owners, H. C. Flournoy, Quincy; D. W. Johnson, 742 Market street, San Francisco; C. J. Lee, Quincy.

    "Location: Butte Valley Mining District, Secs. 6, 7, 8, 16, 17, 21 and 28, T. 25 N., R. 8 E., 4 miles northwest of Twain; Virgilia (W. P. Ry.) Bibliography: U. S. Geol. Survey Folio 15, Lassen Peak.

    "Property consists of 940 acres. High ridges with steep slopes to watercourses characterize the surface.

    "The ground was first located in 1896, was relocated by the present owners in 1908. Assessment work only has been done. The deposit is crossed by the Western Pacific Railway at Virgilia, and if it will average CaCO3, as the sample shows, it is undoubtedly of commercial value.

    "A 142' open cut across the deposit is the only work that has been done, and so far this has not encountered the west wall.

    "The following analysis of the rock was made by F. C. Pioda of the Spreckels Sugar Refinery from a sample taken by Mr. Flournoy:"

    SiO2, 4.71 percent
    Fe2O3 and Al2O3, 0.37 percent
    CaCO3, 93.63 percent
    CaSO4, Trace
    MgCO3, .98 percent
    Undetermined, .31 percent
    Total: 100.00 percent

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