Friday, December 28, 2007

The Afterthought Mine at Ingot

Take Highway 299 east to Ingot, about 16 miles east of Redding. When you get to the Ingot road sign, start looking for mine remains on the right side of the highway (when traveling east from Redding).

The remains of the Afterthought Mine: the stamp mill, collapsing houses, dilapidated mine outbuildings, sections of old railroad grade and remains of the smelter are visible from the highway and there are many places to safely pull off the road to take photos. Remember that all the remaining structures are on private property, meaning you cannot trespass. Also remember the dangers around old mines -- rattlesnakes, rusty nails, mercury and open mine shafts that you can fall into.

In 1873 Marcus Peck purchased the Copper Hill Mine group for $6,000. In 1876, Peck discovered copper ore in an adjoining ledge and patented it as the Afterthought, a mining term that means an adjoining claim located after the establishment of a major claim.

During its early years, it was mined for silver, gold, copper, lead and zinc, but eventually became one of the largest copper mines in Shasta County. It suffered many setbacks over the years.

To process ore, a small smelter was built in 1875, but it failed because of excess zinc in the ore. Another smelter was built to process the ore, and a small railroad system was established to haul the ore from the mine to the smelter. The railroad consisted of a small steam locomotive that pulled 20 five-ton ore cars. Portions of the railroad grade are still visible.

The smelter was shut down by legal action because of the damages caused from the poisonous toxic fumes released into the air from its chimney. An 8½-mile-long aerial tram was built to haul ore north to the smelter at Bully Hill. The tram was capable of carrying 140 2-ton buckets placed approximately 300 yards apart. A dramatic portion of the tramway spanned the Pit River.

In 1927, operations ended because of a steady decline in copper and zinc prices. The mine operated intermittently over the years; the last active owner was Coronado Copper & Zinc Co. which operated it until 1952. The mine contains nearly 20,000 feet of tunnels and shafts.

Today it is officially known as California Historic Landmark No. 9. However, there is no historic monument or plaque to let the many people who wonder what this interesting place was all about.


HG said...

Thanks for the info! I have driven past this amazing place many times, and always wondered about the story behind it. I would love to go exploring, but know that is not a option. So, I always stop for a good look instead!

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Unknown said...

Thanks for the history. When I was a kid at a nearby summer camp, in 1960, a group of us went exploring at the Ingot mine. We explored the buildings (not the tunnels) and found many trays filled with sample cores from the mine. It was a very cool place. Saw an old rail track and lots of leftover equipment.

Nick Calland said...

Hi Stone Roads!
Great blog!
We were visiting Redding recently from the UK and drove past the mine, unfortunately unable to stop to take photos.
Could I have permission to use one of your photos for a future blog I'm writing about our road trip round that area?
Many thanks,

Mr. D said...

sure Nick, have fun on your trip