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Desert Fever - San Bernardino County Mining History
Southeastern San Bernardino County

Copper Basin

Mining in Copper Basin is what sparked interest in the Whipple Mountains during this century. As was mentioned above, Pete McGuire is credited with some of the first locations here. However, about 1899, Joseph L. Curtis relocated the Copper Basin Mine. During the years he owned it, he expended thousands of dollars in development work. In November or December of 1904, the Copper Basin Mining Company was organized with $200,000 in stock to raise more capital for development, with Curtis as one of the principal stockholders. T. M. Drennan also was a principal stockholder. The company held the Copper Basin and the Black Metal mines. The Copper Bain Mining Company in October, 1906, had a 65 foot shaft on its property, and was reportedly opening the Black Metal Mine. 50


At least two other companies were working nearby during 1904: the Mount Whipple Gold Mining Company, adjoining the Copper Basin Mine, and the Colorado River Gold and Copper Company. These three companies, along with the White Eagle Mining Company, consolidated their interests and formed a company to build a seventy-five-ton smelter on the Colorado. It is not known if this smelter was in fact constructed, but a 1927 map shows a structure labeled the California Gold and Copper Mining Company on he river just south of Copper Basin. 51

One stimulus for mining in Copper Basin was the anticipated arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad, then working its way across Arizona. But the Santa Fe did not show up in 1904. In fact, it was nearly 6 years later that it reached Parker. This delay took much momentum out of mining activity in the Copper Basin area, but with the arrival of the railroad, things picked up nicely. 52

In March, 1911, a new road was nearly complete into the Basin. The road was put in by Harvey Hon to connect to the mine he and A. W. Martin owned. A month, earlier, the Bowman brothers were erecting an ore bin and were preparing to make shipments dependent on the completion of the road. On March 8, the road was complete, but nearly a year later, in December, 1912, the Bowman brothers were “taking out an initial shipment of ore.” Mr. Hon, with the Hon Mining Company of Los Angeles, was ambitiously spending money with the hope of a return. He left Parker in May for his mine with a load of lumber and supplies, planning to continue work all summer sinking the 100-foot shaft another 200 feet. 53

In June the Grand Central Mine, which as already mentioned was located in the early 1880s, shipped eight tons of high grade gold ore to the Humboldt smelter via the Iola . 54

Although some small scale mining continued throughout 1912, the highlight of that year was in December when Wesley Martin, a retired cattleman from Mohave County, Arizona, jumped the claims of the Copper Basin Mining Company. Apparently things were cleared up, for a little more than a year later about 22 tons of ore were shipped from the mine. 55

Just west of Monument Peak, in the Copper Basin area there was considerable mining activity of another kind during World War I. The Hidden Treasure and Hidden Cross mines, and adjoining them to the southeast, the Red Cloud, were developed for manganese. These 3 mines produced a total of 160 tons of ore. With the renewed demands of World War II, they were again active. On the Red Cross, renamed the Moulton, a tramway was installed and 5 men were employed in the early 1940s. 56

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