Death Valley
Historic Resource Study
A History of Mining
NPS Logo


B. Emigrant Wash and Wildrose Canyon (continued)

2. Wild Rose Mining District (continued)

i) Sites (continued)

(16) Tiny and Sunset Mines

(a) History

A Sunset silver mine was mentioned in the Panamint District as early as 1873, in the vicinity of a Blue Belle Mine; it is fairly certain, however, that this refers to a location near Panamint City. [192] The only other early citation to a mine of that name found by this writer is a location notice for a Sunset Silver Mine in the Rose Spring Mining District 3 miles northeast from Rose Spring Garden and about 1-1/2 mile north of the Virgin Mine. [193] According to the LCS crew who visited the mill ruin site miles south of Skidoo in 1975, that area had been referred to in the past as the Sunset Mine. No data was found conclusively supporting this designation, although an article in the Mining Journal does mention a gentleman from Barstow, California, who "has been carrying on gold production on a small scale at his Sunset mine in the Panamint district of California for the past six years. His equipment includes a five-ton Straub ball mill, Economy concentrator and amalgamation plates. [194] The monument mining office had no information on this mine, or on who had worked it, although activity evidently took place here as, late as the 1940s--a claim marker for a "Tiny Mine" was found by this writer on the site, dated 11 October 1945.

A bona-fide Sunset Mine is located on the south side of the gravel Skidoo Road about three miles east of the Wildrose-Emigrant Canyon Road. Last worked about 1940, its four claims produced about 100 tons of ore averaging $20 worth of gold per ton for custom mills. Small amounts of silver were also recovered. [195]

(b) Present Status

Approximately 1-1/4 miles east of the Skidoo-Emigrant Canyon road junction a dirt track leads north for about 1-3/4 miles to the Tiny (Sunset?) Mine site. A trail continues north beyond the mine turnoff across the ridge to Skidoo. The area of mining activity covers the south slope of this ridge, facing Harrisburg Flats, and comprises two sites. About 1/4 mile east of the mill site and adjacent to the road continuing on to Skidoo are the remains of a collapsed wooden shack. Of some interest is the road leading from here to the mill site, whose edges and curves have been shorn up and reinforced by a tremendous amount of dry-wall masonry. Basically three levels of mine workings exist, the access road entering on the second level alongside an adit that has been closed off with a tin door. On the lower level below this adit are the ruins of a milling operation, with cement machinery pilings, dry-wall masonry foundations, and a portion of a wooden ore bin still extant. Built into the hillside a few yards northwest of the mill is a cistern with a cement floor and plastered masonry walls on three sides, the hillside forming the north end. A pipe leads from this reservoir to the mill, probably once supplying the power to run it. The upper level of workings above the access road consists mainly of caved-in stopes, some containing rotted timbers. Ruins of a small tool shed or blacksmith shop are also found on this upper level. A series of stone walls advancing down the hillside suggest that some type of chute arrangement once descended toward the mill. Below the mill ruins is a dry-stone silt dam.

Illustration 165. Mill ruin at Tiny Mine, one mile south of Skidoo. Photo courtesy of William Tweed, 1978.

The Sunset Mine about 2-1/2 miles southeast of this site consists only of a timbered vertical shaft with drifts run on three levels. Downhill (northwest) from the mine and across the Skidoo road is a house possibly associated with the mining operation that appears to be of 1930s or 1940s vintage.

(c) Evaluation and Recommendations

Insufficient data exists on the Tiny Mine site either to provide associative significance or to properly place it in the context of Death Valley mining history. During the LCS survey of the site, purple glass was found on a dump in the area along with hand-finished bottle necks, suggesting an occupancy period from the 1880s up to approximately 1920. The site's proximity to Skidoo and location adjacent to the Skidoo-Harrisburg road suggest that the site might have been prospected in the early 1900s during Skidoo's heyday. At least one set of claims during that period--the Rag Time Group--was reported as lying about two miles south of Skidoo. [196]

Illustration 166. Masonry-walled reservoir northwest of mill ruins, Tiny Mine. Photo by Linda W. Greene, 1978.

Illustration 167. Building site along road to Tiny Mine. Photo by Linda W. Greene, 1978.

Illustration 168. Sunset Mine headframe on road to Skidoo. Photo by Linda W. Greene, 1978.

In the spring of 1909 it was announced that the Skidoo Mines Company planned erection of an additional mill on its property to treat ore from the Wilkinson lease, situated on the north side of Skidoo hill. This lease location was too far from the Skidoo mill to afford hauling of ore from that point, so the company was considering locating a new plant about a mile from the present mill (in which direction was not stated). Water used in the present plant would be conserved and used again at the new structure. The Wilkinson lease, however, was a near neighbor of the Granite Contact property, which was located north of town, so it is doubtful that the new mill would have been built even further south. [197]

The other possibility is that the mill is of a later construction date and associated with the 1930s era of mining activity in the monument. The present southern boundary of the Skidoo Historic District passes through the middle of this site. Since these mill ruins have interpretive value, it is recommended that the site be left in a state of benign neglect and that the southern boundary of the Skidoo Historic District be expanded slightly to include the ruins and the impressive stonework retaining walls.

<<< Previous <<< Contents >>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 22-Dec-2003