Death Valley
Historic Resource Study
A History of Mining
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B. Emigrant Wash and Wildrose Canyon (continued)

2. Wild Rose Mining District (continued)

i) Sites (continued)

(12) North Star Mine

(a) History

The North Star Mine is especially difficult to research because this was a fairly common name for mines of that period. This particular claim was another one of the group of silver mines located by the Nossano brothers toward the end of 1874, and was reportedly located three to five miles south of the Garibaldi. One press report noted

That the valuable mines in the Panamint range are not confined to those located in the Panamint District alone is certain from what I have learned in the last few days, and know from ore received here from the Rose Spring District, twenty-five miles north of Panamint, in the same range of mountains. The ore in good part is of the same character as that of Panamint. Assays made by J. L. Porter of Cerro Gordo . . . give the very good return of $300 to $1,000 per ton in silver. These mines are the Star of the West, the North Star, owned by Mr. J. Morsano [Nossano]. [157]

One can easily be misled by numerous descriptions of activity on a North Star ledge "about 2-1/2 miles in a Northwest direction from the town of Panamint," about which information surfaced with some frequency. [158] Because of certain vagaries in the boundary descriptions this may or may not be the North Star Mine in the Panamint Mining District "On which the Company are running a cut or level from the head of Marvel Canyon." [159] In April 1875 assays were obtained on the Nossano Brothers' newly-discovered silver ledges in the Rose Springs District, the North Star among those sampled. In this particular instance the ore ran $1,363.23 a ton, although the correspondent adds that assays from that mine had occasionally reached as high as $1,700 per ton. [160]

The North Star was one of the properties purchased by agents for the Inyo Mining Company in 1876, [161] and was chosen as the headquarters site for the company's projected extensive operations in the area. In March the company superintendent was

only awaiting the arrival of [Remi] Nadeau's teams, with a full supply of mining tools, stores, etc., to commence active operations on their several mines. Their prospects are indeed flattering, and it is the prediction of all who have seen the property that they have purchased, that theirs will prove the most prosperous of any mining enterprise on this side of the Sierras. They secured seven well defined ledges, showing, probably, the richest average croppings of silver ore ever found outside of Virginia City, and much surprise is often expressed that they could have purchased it at so low a figure. [162]

Two travelers to the Rose Springs District in April were given a tour of the North Star Mine, "which is considered one of the best owned by this company [Inyo Consolidated Silver Mining Co.]." [163] Development consisted of a forty-foot tunnel run in on one vein and a shaft sunk on a second one. High-grade ore was being extracted, some of it assaying over $2,000 and generally expected to mill over $200 per ton. [164] By June a shaft had also been sunk at the mouth of the tunnel and was producing ore assaying $301 in silver per ton. [165]

The North Star was probably abandoned about the same time as the Garibaldi, around 1877, when papers show the Inyo Silver Mining Company was being assessed for 3,000 feet at $2 a foot in the North Star Mine. [166] Six years later the North Star Mine was relocated by Medbury and Hunter as the Mohawk, and its location was given as seven miles southeast of Emigrant Spring and seven airline miles north of Telescope Peak. [167] N. J. Medbury, W. K. Miller, and J. M. Keeler soon became partners in the Mohawk, Blue Bell (aka Garibaldi), and Argonaut (aka Nellie Grant) mines, and in 1884, interested in testing their ore's milling potential, Miller hauled 10-1/2 tons of the material from these mines thirty miles across the Panamint Valley to a mill in Snow Canyon. Four bars of bullion, weighing 3,400 ozs. were produced, [168] proving that the material was of good milling quality.

For several reasons these mines should have had bright and profitable futures: the ledges were being well and continuously developed (the Mohawk supported at least a tunnel and shaft by this time), roads throughout the area were relatively functional, and wood and water could be found within a reasonable distance. What prevented all these small operations from reaching their full potential was the lack of nearby milling facilities enabling the ore to be worked profitably. Compounding the problem over the long run was the fact that although small operators could initially open the mines, turning them into paying propositions required the involvement of practical mining men with sound judgement and backed by solid investment capital. [169] As it turned out, most, of these small mines passed into oblivion, and although the North Star was still mentioned in 1889, the extent of its life beyond that date is uncertain. [170]

Several later miscellaneous references were found that might pertain to this property. In 1896 Charles Anthony of Darwin filed a location notice on a Morning Star Mine in the Panamint Mountains about 1-1/2 miles north of the Consolidated or Consolidation Mine, a property formerly known as the North Star Mine. In 1903 notice of a land transaction involving the North Star and Valley View mines in the Panamint Range was found. There was a Valley View Mine operating in the Wild Rose District around 1884 in the vicinity of the Blue Bell, Argonaut, Mohawk, Blizzard, and Jeanette mines. Its 1883 location notice specifies it as being six miles east of Emigrant Spring on Mineral Hill on the right-hand side of the trail leading from the spring to the Blue Bell Mine. It seems to have been operating during the Skidoo period also. The transaction mentioned might, however, refer to the Valley View Mine discovered about 1896 east of Post Office Spring on the west side of the Panamints, and if so, the North Star property mentioned is probably one of those in the vicinity of Panamint City. [171] This latter seems the most probable since the 1903 article suggests that much development work had been done on the Valley View; the mine by that name located within the monument probably could not boast much progress until after 1907. Open to question is a location notice for the North Star Nos. 1-6, situated one mile east of "Kennedy's Springs Wild Rose Canyon, located in April 1907. [172]

(b) Present Status

The exact location of the North Star Mine was not found by this writer. The property seems to have undergone no intensive mining since its early days, at least not under its original name, and it is entirely possible that no recognizable remains exist. Or, more recent mining operations may have completely obliterated the original workings.

(c) Evaluation and Recommendations

The lack of information found on the property is probably indicative of its lack of historical significance.

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Last Updated: 22-Dec-2003