In 1882 a mining company was formed to develop a copper, silver, zinc and lead deposit near a scenic but isolated wash in southern Death Valley. As time passed, this discovery became known by several names. We'll refer to it by the less revealing one, the Arcturus. In 1883 a five stamp dry roasting mill was constructed and several loads of ore were shipped. Spirits were high but then reality sank in. The Arcturus was remote. The cost of shipping the ore proved to be prohibitively expensive. Also, searing summer temperatures made work impossible for months at a time. So, the Arcturus languished and by 1892 it was idle. Several years later, however, the mine was relocated by Frank Barbour and by 1915 it was once again shipping ore and continued to do so sporadically until 1921.
In the years since that initial discovery, other prospectors tried to uncover high grade ore in the vicinity of the Arcturus. In the mid 1930's to 1950's there was even a brief flurry of talc mining in the area. None of these ventures succeeded and this isolated area sank once again into oblivion. The exact location of the original Arcturus remains a mystery due to the extensive later prospecting and the prevalent practice of cannibalization of mine and mill equipment that has erased virtually all clues that might have been helpful to historical archaeologists. As we digested all this information some questions began to form. Would it be possible to locate this old mine? Would any evidence of its past still remain? We were hooked and a trip was born!
So, here we are today, joined by Guy and Alysia Starbuck and Mohave Blake, slowly crawling over what passes for a road that we hope will be our magic carpet to an almost forgotten spot. Will we find any evidence of these past mining ventures? For the answer to that question you'll have to join us by clicking on the photo link below!