Take it easy
  Pilot Mining District (Eddyville)

N38.31909 W117.96483 Eddyville, NV Quad

VISITED September 5, 2015
Our Breakfast: Eggs 'n' such at the Country Sunflower, Yerington
Our Lunch: Too full from breakfast
Our Dinner: Pizza at Round Table in Yerington

Take US 95 south from Fallon for 105 miles; head generally east on local road for 5.7 miles and keep going until you see cool stuff.

From Fallon: 110+ miles


Mining in Nevada wasn't always about gold and silver. The Pilot Mountain District (sometimes referred to as the Sodaville District) resulted from the discovery of cinnabar, tungsten, copper, and gold in the early part of the twentieth century. Many small scale mines and little mills sprang up and the town of Eddyville was formed around a gold mine in the 1930's. Not unlike Aurora, most of the desired mineral was near the surface and it didn't last very long.

Some of the following information has been taken from the best-selling publication, "Quicksilver Deposits in the Southern Pilot Mountains Mineral County Nevada (GSB 973-d)" written in 1951 by Messers. David Phoenix and James Cathcart. So keep in mine the production figures are based on that year.

In 1913 Thomas Pepper and Charles Keough were chasing some stray cows when they came upon an old prospect, and Keough recognized the red rock as cinnabar. To produce mercury, the cinnabar ore is crushed and roasted in a furnace. The mercury evaporates and is condensed and collected in flasks. Since it contains mercury, cinnabar ore is dangerous and unhealthy, and will mess you up if you are over-exposed to it. Naturally, mercury itself is even worse, and will kill you just thinking about it. So stop. Ha, you can't, now, can you? Well don't say we didn't warn you.

You'll often see production figures for mercury in "flasks" instead of pounds or tons. A flask of mercury holds 76 pounds and was usually made of iron or steel. Mercury was, of course, used in refining gold back in the day, before they started using the safer and much more efficient cyanide, as funny as that sounds.

Quicksilver was mostly located on Cinnabar Mountain from 1915 to 1917. In 1916 tungsten deposits were also found on Pilot Mountain.

MINA: What is said to have been a record shipment of quicksilver from Nevada was made recently from the Pilot Mountain District, 12 miles east of Mina. The shipment consisted of 99 flasks, valued at $7400 [$102,076.37 in 2015 dollars - F.N.] The principal producers are the Mina Quicksilver Co. and the Mina Mercury Co., the claims of the latter being operated under lease. The ore occurs in irregular deposits and with the quicksilver contains lead, gold, silver, zinc, and antimony. It is high grade, assaying from $500 to $1000 per ton over 4 to 6 ft. widths in places. Only the quicksilver is extracted.
1919, November 22, Mining & Scientific Press

All the quicksilver produced in this district has come from high-grade cinnabar ore, and most of it from two properties, the Drew Mine and the Booth-Wardwell mine, but some also from the Lost Steers group. Production began in 1915 and reached its maximum between 1917 and 1919.
1927 November 11, Reno Evening Gazette

Cornelius and Mace have received the "D" retort from San Francisco for their cinnabar property [Probaly the "Easter" claims - FN] east of here in the Pilot Range, says the Western Nevada Miner, of Mina. The furnace is nearly completed and it is expected to have the retory installed within the next few days and in full operation before the end of the coming week. Sufficient ore averageing 4 1/2% mercury is piled on the dump to keep the plant operating steadily.
-1924 September 15, Salt Lake Mining Review

The mercury treating plant at the cinnbar property of L.E. Cornellius and Ed. Mace, nine miles east of Mina in the Pilot Range, has been installed and is now in full blast, the furnace having been fired up and the first charge run, says the Western Nevada Miner. Dr. Foshag, of the United States Geological Survey, who visited the property a short time back, said that taking into consideration the amount of development done, it was the largest and one of the most important deposits of cinnabar he had seen in the United States.
-1924 September 30, Salt Lake Mining review

It appears that most mining activity took place in the 1930's and 1940's. Some of the prominent mines and prospects in the area in the 1930's, 1940's, and 1950's were:

Mina Mercury's Lost Steers Group (aka Booth-Wardell Mine) in Cinnabar Canyon. Used a Cottrell oil-fired rotary furnace 30 feet long and 3 feet in diameter, plus a crusher, metal pipe condensing system, and redwood settling tanks, all powered by a 25 horse Fairbanks Mores semi-diesel engine. They produced 41 flasks of mercury in 1941. However, the Reno Evening Gazette reported

Low grade ore is being trucked down the hill from the Lost Steers over a new road to Mina Mercury, where the retort is situated. Work is to be resumed at once in the Mina Mercury ground to develop a supply of ore for treatment at a time when it will be impossible to transport ore down the steep hill.
1941 July 30 - Reno Evening Gazette

The Drew Mine (formerly Red Devil) at the head of Cinnabar Canyon with a 300 foot shaft and mill site. 80% of the mercury from this district came from here and the Mina mine. It's past production is reported to be about 1,000 flasks of mercury.

The Warlock mine was a small mercury mine

The Mina mine consists of about 5,000 feet of drifts and crosscuts. 1,200 flasks of mercury were produced here during 1940-1941 alone. According to Quicksilver Deposits, this mine was worked for twenty years prior to that as well, with about 1800 flasks recovered from high-grade deposits.

Marked as the Pine Tree Mine, there are several ruins here but we can't find much information under that name. The USGS says it was discovered in 1905 and shipped an insignificant amount of copper in 1917. Centennial Development Co. was sniffing around here as late as 1955. Owner (or past owners) L. E. Cornelius and C. F. Noble, owners of the Dunlap Mine.

Activity in the old Dunlap copper property southeast of Mina is being shown since it was secured by C.E. Noble and L. E. Corneliius who are making plans for the installation of a pilot leaching plant in the recently acquired holdings, the Mineral County Independent says. The Dunlap ground has a heavy past production record, ten thousand tons being taken from one glory hole. At the present price of copper, a tonnage of an approximate value of $300,000 is available. The ore average about five per cent and it is thought copper can be produced at four cents a pound. Sufficient water for all purposes can be developed and outside comments with relation to the proposed operations have been very encouraging.
1937, May 15, Reno Evening Gazette

The Chong Wong Prospect's (also known as the Lakeview) owner was supposedly installing a two pipe retort to work the dumps in 1942, but it is doubtful that any mercury was produced.

Chong Wong, an aged Oriental and a native of San Francisco's Chinatown who preferred the Occidental life of the United States although his family moved to China years ago, was laid to rest Friday afternoon in the Mina cemetery, the funeral services being attended by scores of American friends who had regarded the little Chinaman as one of the community. Wong, who dies Thursday at the county hospital in Hawthorne at an advanced age, was truly among the pioneers of the Mina district.
1939 November 1, Reno Evening Gazette

Production to 1942 at Reward Mine is reported to be 513 flasks of mercury. About 350 feet of drifts and crosscuts.

The Hitt Mine, as of 1941, had produced 46 flasks of quicksilver. Four hundred feet of drifts and crosscuts. Next door is the Allen Mine, with a 50 foot shaft, and 510 feet of drifts and crosscuts. It edged out the Hitt mine with 48 flasks of quicksilver production by the end of 1941.

The Betty Mine, owned by E. Messenger and H. Betty, adjoins the Inman property on the south flank of the Pilot Mountains. Approximately 570 feet of drifts and cross-cuts.

The Inman Mine was originally discovered in 1916 by Carl Reik and Ed Messenger. It consists of 16 claims called the Red Wing group; it formerly included the Betty and Inman properties. Recorded production from the Red Wing group from 1921 to 1941 was 109 flasks.

Frank and John Inman, who are associated with W.C. Boak have discovered float cinnabar six miles north of Summit Springs that is the richest ever seen here. The specimens carry seventy per cent and a boulder measuring eight by four inches weighs fourteen pounds.
1930 November 14, Reno Evening Gazette

In Dunlap Canyon, the Mammoth Quicksilver Mine has several tunnels and used a one D-retort and a three pipe furnace, small air compressor, and an incline gravity tram 600 feet long. There were several camp buildings. Production to 1941 was 50 flasks. They also produced some for the Hitt mine up to 1948.

The Cardinal group is near the Drew property in Cinnabar Canyon. It was discovered in 1931 and used two D-retorts. Since 1930 it produced 133 flasks of mercury. About 1500 feet north of Inman Mines.

Twenty-seven flasks of quicksilver which were sold for $3000 [$42,869.10 in 2015 dollars- F.N.] was the net result of the work of two men during the last half of August and the first twelve days of September on the property owned by J.R. Towner and Henry Ott on Cinnabar mountain, about twelve miles east of Mina. Mr. Towner states that he and his partner took out eight and a half tons of ore which they retorted in a home made retort with a recovery of $3000 for their twenty-seven days work. Mr. Ott is now in San Francisco where he will purchase a new retort, which will be installed on the property as soon as possible. The claims are known as the Three Cardinals and the Three Flourines and lie between the Betty property and the old Drew mine.
1930, September 26, Reno Evening Gazette

The Red Wing between the Hitt and Mammoth mines also produced a small amount of quicksilver, probably less than 40 flasks. The Reward Group in Dunlap Canyon produced about 1,000 flasks of mercury. It was being worked in 1936. They used a two pipe furnace using two 12 inch pipes, 12 fet long, placed vertically in a brick firing chamber, which was fired with fuel oil.

The Gunmetal Group was a tungsten operation active from around 1924 - 1927 and erected a 25 ton mill that used pneumatic concentration. A Lezeart mill was equipped with a small crusher, an Abbe ball mill, and two stebbins dry concentrating tables were used.

The Stormland group at Camp Eddyville was a gold mine discovered in 1932. By 1936 it was inactive. It reported produced at $30,000 in high grade gold ore.

The Belleville Mine at the head of Telephone Canyon was discovered in 1927 and named after O.J. Belleville when he purchased it from discoverer Charles Woodworth in 1928. In 1932 and 1933 Russell Gold Mining Co. operated the property and produced $27,000 in gold. In 1936 preparations were being made to erect a 25 ton mill. There was a 5 ton Straub mill on the site. The Reno Evening Gazette (April 3, 1931) reported a 15 ton ball mill on the site.

The mill was installed over a year ago. It is equipped with a Campbell-Kelly table. for a short time last year the dumps were worked but lack of water forced the owner to abandon this. The mill like other equipment had to be trucked six miles up a canyon road built by Belleville and then packed for an eighth of a mile over a rough trail. The site of the work is above the camp and this necessitates use of pack animals for the hauling of all supplies, and carrying out ore. Belleville's camp consists of a small bunk house kitchen and storehouses. He has developed springs for domestic water supply.
1931 April 3, Reno Evening Gazette

Although many of the mines had their own buildings for operations, it would appear that only Eddyville acquired the status of a "camp."

Eddyville, near Summit Springs (SPECIAL)
Road crews working through the properties of the new district expect to complete the route to the Contact Group, owned by I J Smith and associates by tomorrow as far as the head of the canyon. A caterpillar and other private road equipment are on the ground to be used in the work. An ore bin is in the course of construction and it is the intention of the owners to ship at once. The ore continues to show high values across the entire width of the five-foot vein and it is expected that by the end of July several carloads will have been shipped.
1932 July 1, Reno Evening Gazette

Another express shipment of high grade ore from the Storm Cloud group of claims at Eddyville near Summit Springs was made from Mina yesterday. The consignment consisted of thirty-seven sacks and weighed 3398 pounds. [The Selby smelter was located at Vallejo Junction, California.]
1932 July 8, Reno Evening Gazette

H.G. McDonald of McDonald and Lachan, operators of the Storm Cloud group of claims at Eddyville, returned today from San Francisco and vicinity, where he has been for several days on business in connection with their interests in the new camp.
1932 July 29 Reno Evening Gazette

The Storm Cloud mine at Summit Springs, or at Eddyville, as it is more commonly known, sent another express shipment of high grade ore to the Selby smelter yesterday. This is the fifth express shipment from this property within five weeks. The camp continues to be lively and it is understood application will be made for an election precinct. The discoverers of the camp, Messers. Eddy and Spainhower, are spending a week in Reno. It has been reported that Charles Kennedy has made a strike in the lower camp, about one half mile east of Eddyville.
1932 August 2, Reno Gazette Journal

The Nevada State Bureau of Mines has issued the following bulletin concerning the new gold discovery at Summit Springs, prepared by Carl Stoddard, bureau engineer. A number of inquiries have been received lately at the Nevada State Bureau of Mines, requesting information about the gold discovery near Summit springs, in Mineral county. "Where is Eddyville?" is often asked. The gold discovery made by Spainhower and Eddy last May is about four miles northwest of Summit Springs, which was once a station on the old wagon road between Sodaville and Tonopah. The settlement which has sprung up near the discovery has been named Eddyville. It is situated among the numerous ravines and gulches that scar the east slope of Pilot Mountain, and has a population of seventy-five.
1932 September 9, Reno Evening Gazette

Not too much is heard from Eddyville after that, and apparently things eventually took a turn for the worst, especially for the founder of the town.

HAWTHORNE-- Funeral services were held in Mina Thursday afternoon for the late John Eddy, well known mining man of the Mina District, who died Monday from what the coroner's jury described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Burial was in the Mina cemetery following graveside services. Eddy's body was discovered about four miles east of Hawthorne at 3:330 Tuesday afternoon following a day-long search by local officers. He had been shot through the head and his .38 caliber pistol was found nearby. A native of Virginia City, Eddy was fifty-one years old. He had engaged in Mining for most of his life and in Mineral county for more than twenty-five years. Coming into this county in 1916, he worked for a time at the Silver Dyke tungsten mine, southwest of Mina, moving to Mina in 1920 where he has since made his home. Ten years ago he and Delbert Spainhower made a rich gold discovery near Summit Springs, located on the old Mina-Tonopah road, and for several months this area, named Eddyville for the discoverer, was a booming district.
1941 August 11, Reno Evening Gazette




This district is littered with mines, ruins, mills, retorts, and whatnot. For our first visit to the area, we explored the some sites off Dunlap and Cinnebar Canyons. Unfortunately, may roads have been ruined by recent rainstorms, although the main road had a blade drug down it fairly recently. You won't have trouble getting down teh main roads but you will want lots of clearance and lots of four wheel drive to visit most of the sites, just to be on teh safe side. There are many mines and cabins and workings remains all over the place. The Mina Mina has, perhaps, the greatest concentration of remains. Definitely have to return on the quads so we can get past the washouts with a minimum of bother. In case you're wondering, Eddyville is on the south flanks of Pilot and we'll be visiting that site at a later date.

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