youtubeIn my last article we visited the historic mining camp of Cinnabar, Idaho which is a great destination for RVers with off-road toys and a sense of adventure.

For those northwest RVers that don’t have off-road toys and are a bit less adventurous, but would still like to explore a historic mining camp, the Deadwood Mine about 35 miles southwest of Cinnabar can be reached by most two-wheel drive vehicles.

While the Deadwood mine doesn’t contain nearly as many structures as the Cinnabar mining camp, it does have a very interesting and unique structure unlike anything I have seen in my years of visiting ghost towns and mining camps.

First a little history about the mine:

Placer deposits in Deadwood Basin first attracted miners in the early summer of 1863, followed by a second Deadwood Basin placer gold rush in 1867. By 1868 miners discovered quartz outcrops which would lead to the discovery of the Deadwood lead-zinc deposits. However, many of the miners left the following year for richer ground. Interest waned until 1915 when the Hall Brothers organized The Hall Interstate Mining Company to explore what laid underground. Development of the mine eventually started in 1926 – 1927 when 2,200 feet of tunneling took place, construction commenced on a mill, along with a 250-horsepower hydroelectric power plant and camp buildings, including a large combination office and residence building. By 1929 things were rolling along when the mill treated 2,729 tons of lead-zinc ore, which yielded 415 tons of lead concentrates and zinc concentrates, which together yielded 25 ounces of gold,17,723 ounces of silver, 13,118 pounds of copper, 165,208 pounds of lead, and 324,164 pounds of zinc.

However, by May 1931, worthwhile ore had become scarce and the mine was closed with just a small crew left behind to maintain the property. In June 1932, all the supplies were removed from the property. The mine laid dormant until the second half of 1940 when new management rehabilitated it along with the mill the following year.  In 1942, a total of 7,733 tons of zinc-lead ore were mined, which yielded 240 tons of silver-lead-copper concentrates and 590 tons of zinc concentrates which were in high demand due to World War II. Again, commercial ore in the mine became hard to locate, but with bonuses being paid by the federal government on badly needed metals like copper, lead and zinc for the war effort, the mine continued to operate. Once the war ended and the bonuses ended, the mine struggled and eventually closed for good in 1950. Total production from 1929 to 1950 from the Deadwood mine produced 125,793 tons of ore, which yielded 2,658.46 ounces of gold, 634,277 ounces of silver, 444,343 pounds of copper, 4,978,449 pounds of lead, and 10,176,833 pounds of zinc.


Remains of the Mill

Remains of the deadwood mining camp today include the ruins of; the mill with some machinery, a huge board house, and oddly enough, an old snow crushed travel trailer. The three-story office/residence built in 1926 – 1927 is still fully intact. It contains many lavish features you wouldn’t expect to find in a 1920’s off- grid mining camp located deep in the wilds of Idaho.  The entire building was fully electrified complete with a stout distribution panel. Base boards and trimmed window frames grace the office and living space. Fine grain tongue and grove floors are found in the office and main living areas. You will find double hung windows that utilized window weights throughout most of the structure. The basement contains a wood burning furnace rather than the typical woodstove found in most mining camps. Along the north side of the second floor office you will find an ornate walk in vault.


Vault on the Second Floor

The third floor residence features a full bathroom with a built in porcelain bathtub, built in dressers in the bedrooms, along with a dining area china hutch complete with a pass through to the kitchen. A side room features rows of windows that drop down into the wall cavity when opened which I assumed allow for a cooling cross breeze on warm summer days. Large windows in the third floor living room provide a commanding view of the valley below. If you have an interest in architecture or old buildings in general, you will enjoy touring this nearly 100-year old structure.


Deadwood Combination Office & Residence

Getting there:

From the junction of Hwy 95 and Warm Lake Road near Cascade, Idaho: Head east on Warm Lake Road to the end of the pavement. Once the pavement ends continue approximately 300 yards straight ahead to the junction at N44° 39.147 W115° 32.622 At the junction take a right (heading south) on the somewhat rough  Landmark Stanley Road (aka NF 579) and drive approximately 14 miles to N44° 28.170 W115° 35.100 where you will find the Deadwood mine approximately 200 yards up a side road to the east.

Camping:

To avoid the steep grades and switchbacks of the second pass mentioned in the last entry, you may want camp near Warm Lake at either the South Fork Salmon River Campground or Shoreline Campground and head to the mine in your tow vehicle or dinghy.

Disclaimer: Many hazards exist in abandoned mining areas and along the routes to them. Readers of this blog accept those hazards and travel / visit at their own risk.

Source: History of the Deadwood Mine
Valley County, Idaho

January 2007
Victoria E. Mitchell
Idaho Geological Survey
Morrill Hall, Third Floor
Staff Report 07-2 University of Idaho

Questions? Comments? Please add your thoughts below.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

More share buttons