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 Post subject: MINERS MIKE, MARK & BOND
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:17 pm 
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Does anybody know who Miners Mike, Mark and Bond are as shown in this slideshow?:

http://www.ironminers.com/mines/mercuria-mine/

I would really like to correspond with them. I used to live in Arizona ans was familiar with this area.

Regards,
Fred M. Cain


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 Post subject: Re: MINERS MIKE, MARK & BOND
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:28 pm
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Location: Winnemucca, NV
Hi Fred,

I am Miner Mike and I am good friends with Marc and Bond who occasionally pop on the forum. We haven't visited Mercuria Mine since 2007, when these photos were taken. As you may or may not be aware, a major fire wiped out the area and destroyed the nearby Sunflower and Pine Mountain mines last year. An earlier fire took place at the Mercuria Mine wiping out a miner's cabin. When did you last visit the area?

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 Post subject: Re: MINERS MIKE, MARK & BOND
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:07 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:21 am
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Miner Mike wrote:
Hi Fred,

I am Miner Mike and I am good friends with Marc and Bond who occasionally pop on the forum. We haven't visited Mercuria Mine since 2007, when these photos were taken. As you may or may not be aware, a major fire wiped out the area and destroyed the nearby Sunflower and Pine Mountain mines last year. An earlier fire took place at the Mercuria Mine wiping out a miner's cabin. When did you last visit the area?


Mike,

Thanks for your interesting response. I lived in Scottsdale, Arizona in the 1960’s and 70’s and was half-cracked over mines back then, too. I visited the mercury mines around Mount Ord with my dad around 1970 or so.

I was wondering if you by chance found the "Ord Mine". In the early 70's although the portal had some very minor blockages, the mine was still easily accessible, dry and fully tracked. I felt a cold, dank breeze blowing out of the mine suggesting that it was a large working with multiple openings. My dad was very cautious and wouldn’t let me go in the mine. (I wish to high heaven I'd known some guy like you back then!)

Yes, I did hear about the fire but doubt very seriously that it affected the mines at all. Unfortunately, any historic, antique wooden equipment that was outside the mines might have been destroyed. Realize that this is scrub brush country so that a fire wouldn’t burn as hot as it would in a forest. Further up on the northeast side of Mount Ord, there might actually be some tall timber up there of ponderosa pines but I never made it up there to find out. I feel that the greatest threats to these mines is the fact that the State of Arizona and the U.S. Forest Service is hell-bent on sealing them permanently. Too bad. A lot of history will be tragically destroyed (if, that is, they haven’t done that already!).

This picture below, if it goes through, shows the location of the Ord Mine. I also typed in the former ghost town of "Mercuria" or "Goswick Camp" (depending on which history you read of the area):

Image

Proceeding immediately to the west-southwest from the previous screen shot, a primitive road can be seen running along the base of the hillside just north and parallel to Arizona 87. My dad and I also found an adit portal along this road, also fully tracked, which for some strange reason doesn't appear on the map. It could be, however, that the USGS got the exact location of the Rattlesnake Mine in the wrong place as I never found a mine on the south side of the highway, but neither did we look very hard.

Image

Did you find either of these mines?

Lastly, if you object to having these screen shots on the forum in order to protect the location of these mines, just go ahead and remove them again.

Regards,
Fred M. Cain


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 Post subject: Re: MINERS MIKE, MARK & BOND
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:28 pm
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Hi Fred,

We didn't have enough time to visit the Ord and Rattlesnake mines. We did locate the Cornucopia Mine and its two adits. Unfortunately the main adit was eroded shut by 2007. The second adit was wide open but its length was a rather unimpressive 10 feet.

The Sunflower fire took out the tipple and processing center at Sunflower Mine and the government is reportedly filling the openings and remediating the site to prevent mercury and asbestos contamination from being washed down hill. The fire also reached as far as the Pine Mountain Mine destroying that facility as well.

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"If you thought old, abandoned mines were only in the west, then you haven't been to IronMiners.com!"


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 Post subject: Re: MINERS MIKE, MARK & BOND
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:21 am
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Did the fire reach the Ord and Rattlesnake mines? Since those are on the other side of the highway, I'm hoping not but I don't know where the fire started.

I hope if you ever go back to Arizona, you check out the Ord. Minedat states that there were several levels that went down 300 feet and over 1,200 meters of drifts, if I understood that right.

I hope they haven't sealed it yet.


I don't know if anyone on here like to read (I suspect that Banks doesn't) but just in case, here is an article I wrote about my self and my Arizona memories and sent to Payson Roundup Online, an online newsletter, to see if they would use it; they didn't. So, I am going to try and post it again here:

Mysterious, Little-Known Arizona Ghost Town and Mercury

By the time I entered high school in Arizona, we had moved from Tucson to Scottsdale in the Phoenix area. One fine Saturday or Sunday about 1968 or 69, we took a family trip up to Payson, Arizona to try and “beat the heat”. “Payson in the pines”, they called it.

Driving up Arizona 87 to Payson, a curious sight caught my eye along the highway. I spotted what looked like a very primitive, ancient-looking, single-wire telephone or telegraph line (i.e. a “ground return”) line along the highway on short, square poles with a single insulator at the top. Sections of it had evidently fallen down as it would seem to disappear at times and then later I’d spot it again.

Then the highway, which had been going pretty well due north went through a curve and mountain pass just north of the tiny community of Sunflower heading more toward the east or northeast in the vicinity of Mount Ord. Shortly after we went through the small pass I spotted a most fascinating and intriguing sight off the left (north) side of the highway. I saw what looked to me like a small ghost town with little houses on grid-like “city” streets. The way I remember this, the highway was sort of up on the hillside and the little town was down below which offered me a good view. Unfortunately, the speed limit was rather high through there and by the time I shouted “Hey, look at that!” the curious little town had already been left behind. The funny little telephone or telegraph line I’d been watching also appeared to come to an end there as well suggesting this had been its destination.

There were also fascinating pieces of equipment dotting the area. Off the right-hand side (south or southeast side) of the highway I spotted what looked like a huge wooden trestle up on the side of the hill. Then a little further up the highway on the west side I spotted what looked like some old, industrial buildings with large, round tanks and a massive structure with huge, squiggly, convoluted tubes resembling giant intestines. What in the world was this stuff and what was it for?

I remember looking for the little town again on the way home and got another view of it although it wasn’t as good since it was beginning to grow dark. I asked my dad to take it easy and slow down a little bit and his reaction was, “Oh yeah? Why?” By the time I explained “why” the little town was already behind us again. It was like you had to look fast or you’d miss it.

I cannot recall if I saw this little ghost town again on later trips to Payson or not. However, around the time I graduated from high school, I began to get really, really interested in mines. I bought U.S. Geological Survey topographical maps of the outlying vicinity around the Phoenix area. One of the maps I got was from the Mount Ord area near Sunflower referred to as “Reno Pass” by the U.S. Geological Survey. I was amazed when I gazed over the map. Why, there were adit portals (tunnel openings) shown all over the place accompanied by names like the “Sunflower Mine”, the “Ord Mine”, “Mercuria Mine” and “Rattlesnake Mine”.

I began working on my father trying to get him interested enough to take me up there. Finally one Saturday my efforts bore fruit and we drove up to what I call the “Ord Group” of mines.

After we arrived up there, we turned left off the highway and followed what can only be described as a “primitive” road. It wound its way along the north/northwest side of the canyon while the highway was more on the southeast side. We rounded a sharp bend when I spotted what looked to me like an unsigned or unprotected railroad crossing ahead. I was astounded because I was unaware of any railroads in this area. We crossed the track at an oblique angle and it ran alongside the road a short distance then off onto a dead-end wooden trestle at the edge of a chasm or drop off. We got out of the car and followed the track back across the road. Sure enough, it emerged from a rather clean adit portal in the side of the mountain! We started in but my father wouldn’t go more than a few feet. “This is way, way too dangerous” he insisted. So we took some pictures, got back in the car and returned to the highway.

We proceeded on east/northeast on the highway and I saw to my dismay that the curious little ghost town was completely gone. They had widened the highway through there and I guess the ghost town got in the way of the much larger fill they needed to build. What a shame! But I once again spotted the huge “trestle” on the other side of the highway up on the hillside. Dad tried to drive up to it and upon closer inspection we saw that it wasn’t a bridge at all but some kind of a huge, wooden hammer mill or something. We walked around a little bit and it didn’t take me very long to find another adit portal. This one also had tracks in it. We stood at the opening which was partly caved in but still very accessible. I could feel a cold, damp breeze coming out of the mine suggesting that this must be a large working with multiple openings. No way Dad was going in there, though!

Then it was back in the car and further up the highway to the ruins I’d seen before on the west side of the highway. (The east/northeast direction of the highway turned more due north again at this point).
We turned off the highway into what was left of the ruins off the west side of the road. I spotted what looked to me like an adit portal with tracks coming out of it. The track crossed a large, level, gravel “parking lot” like area ending at a tailings dump. Dear ol’ Dad was starting to get both tired and bored and told me “Tell ya what, you go look; I’ll stay in the car, but be careful”. I grabbed my light and headed for the tunnel opening. I headed in walking on the tracks and spotted what looked like an ore car up ahead under a chute. That’s when I realized that this tunnel didn’t even go very far, no more than 20 or 25 feet if it was even that far. I thought out loud to myself, “What the heck; this isn’t a mine. What is it then?” I went up on top of the tunnel and saw what looked like the remains of some cement foundations. Evidently there had been some kind of a furnace there – long since torn down, and hot or molten material was most likely discharged down a chute into awaiting cars below which were then rolled out and dumped. Dad wanted to call it a day, so I got back in the car and we headed for home.

Now fast forward a few years to the mid to late 1970s when I was a music student at Arizona State University. I had a part time job working in the library putting books away. I found a neat book on the mines and ghost towns of Arizona. I long ago forgot the name of the author and exact title of the book but I distinctly recall it had a list of some of Arizona’ s more noteworthy mines including the Ord Group and provided a short history of each mine. I learned that they had been mercury mines and were among some of the most productive in the U.S. at that.

The book also had a little map showing many of Arizona’s ghost town sites and simply identified this one as “Mercuria”. It really didn’t say much more about the town and over the years I have found it almost impossible to find any information about it. It seems to be the ghost town that ghost town historians and enthusiasts have forgotten – over overlooked. Recently I found an online article about the area here:

http://www.paysonroundup.com/news/2000/ ... ury_mines/

Interestingly enough, this article referred to the little community as “Goswick Camp”. So which was it? Mercuria or Goswick? Or was it in fact called both either by different people or in different time frames? Also mentioned was the fact that the last workings closed around 1965 so they hadn’t been abandoned very long when I saw them the first time.

It is also within the realm of possibility that some kind of a narrow gauge rail system may have operated for a time in the vicinity connecting some of the mines to each other and/or to the crusher and condenser. Indeed, one of the online articles in Paysonroundup.com alludes to such. However, it is unclear how extensive the railroad was and the type of motive power used is unknown. If such a railroad ever existed at all, I cannot recall having seen any remaining evidence of its existence by the late 1960s but, then again, it didn’t occur to me at the time to look for that. We do know for a fact, though, that at least three of the mines and possibly more contained ore car tracks and may very well still have them today.

In the late 70s I had a friend who helped me explore the Max Delta Mine along with a few small adits in Phoenix’s South Mountain Park. I tried to get him interested in making a trip to the Ord Group but I just couldn’t do it. At one point I just about had him talked into it but then he balked. Pooooh! So I strongly considered just going up there by myself. But although I was rather foolish, I still had enough reservation and good sense not to explore mines alone so I never went. The sad truth is that I never made it back there again before permanently leaving Arizona in 1980. Perhaps that was a blessing. It should go without saying that people should never enter an abandoned mine for any reason. It is certainly worthwhile, however, to take photographs of the outside of the mine.

The State of Arizona has been highly aggressive in sealing old mines and had the Ord Group in its crosshairs. They want to make sure these are permanently plugged since they are close to a major highway and therefore readily accessible. This is in a way a mixed blessing. On one hand, public safety should be number one but on the other hand, too often when mines are sealed and plugged a lot of history is destroyed in the process. It would be ideal if a balance could somehow be found between safety and historic preservation. I would personally love to see at least one of the Ord mines restored and renovated making it safe enough for public tours like they do in the Queen Mine in Bisbee. This would not be impossible by any means – just expensive. Sadly, in a time of so many budget constraints this is not too likely to ever happen. Nevertheless, it might be good for the local economy if it did happen.

Here are some photographs someone took of one of the Ord mines and posted online:

http://www.pbase.com/geokolb/sunflower_mine

Regards,
Fred M. Cain
Former Arizonan now from Topeka, Indiana


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