Mining has been getting a bad rap lately. Terrorists with diamonds, nasty chemicals used, the greed of it all.
Sandy and I have been to the Reward Mine, directly east of Manzanar, south of Independence, CA, twice recently. It was originally called the Eclipse Mine, and later included the Brown Monster mine just one canyon over to the north. I learned online that it was so productive that a town called Reward with a post office (1900-1906) existed from 1860 to 1936 and served as a trading center for other mining operations in the Owens Valley.
So, I’ve been mulling over whether to write about mining for a while, not wanting to open up a can of worms relating to our business. But when I learned that all of the buildings at Reward have been pilfered, piece by piece, over time, it dawned on me that this part of American history is slowly vanishing. Yes, maybe the men who went after gold here were greedy and they used chemicals like cyanide to process the ore, BUT, until you’ve driven the dirt roads and have seen the incredibly inhospitable conditions these guys worked in – well, I guess it’s easy to dismiss as another set of bad human actions.
I think you’ll get a sense of what I’m talking about if you take a look at some of our Flickr pics of the mine here.