Take it easy

38° 39' 02"N, 119° 05' 33"W - PINE GROVE SPRING quad

VISITED May 3, 2003

From Fallon, west on Highway 50 27 miles to Silver Springs; South on US 95A 33 miles to Yerington; SOUth on SR 208 for 31.5 miles; SE on East Walker River Rd (aka Pine Grove Road or Highway 3C) for 10.2 miles; West on National Forest Road for 1 mile, left on National Forest Road for 4.5 miles.


What with all the good stuff taken in the Pine Grove area, is was only a matter of time before prospectors started scratching around Rockland, six miles away. Paher and a few other sources mention a ten-stamp mill in "nearby Bridgeport Canyon" but I couldn't find any such canyon with that name anywhere in the vicinity described. Evidently a ticked-off miner burned down this original mill, but in the early 1900's three more were constructed. Active during World War One, things finally ground to a halt in the 1930's.

An overview from a 1950's newspaper article:

In 1869 Keane discovered a silver mine 3 1.2 miles southeast of Pine Grove, which he named the Rockland Mine. He built a quarts mill 2 1/2 miles north of his mine in Bridgeport Canyon. Rockland was quite a lovely little town of about 150 people, with a hotel, but the town did not last long. Men in the mine did not get their pay, so when Keane was away trying to raise money, Rhodes, one of the miners burned the mill. He was convicted and sent to state prison. Keane got in debt and lost the mill, but ex-Gov. Blasdell took over Keane's interests and later C. D. Lane's milling and mining claims in Cambridge, Pine Grove, and others around there, but did not work them much, and was not very successful in that locality.
-Reno Evening Gazette, July 17, 1954

A somewhat more detailed description from a contemporary report:

The history of the Rockland mine is somewhat incomplete, but from what information is available, it was reportedly discovered in 1869, and a ten stamp mill was erected in 1870. This mill was destroyed by fire shortly afterwards. A five stamp mill was erected in 1902 with a 15 ton/day cyanide Plant. This mill proved unsuccessful, and in 1912 the mine was taken over by the Pittsburg-Dolores Co. The mill was redesigned, and apparantly worked successfully until 1918 when operations were suspended. With the increase in the price of gold in 1932, the property was taken over by the Interstate Mining and Development Company. Production was reported in 1933 and 1934, and it is said that the mine worked until 1941 when all gold mines were closed by government order. Production figures are vague and incomplete, as much of the gold produced during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was never reported, but for the period 1870-1879, 2747 tons of ore is reported with a gross value of $74,503. At $20/oz. this would represent a grade of 1.36 oz/ton gold equivalent. In the period 1915-1917, the company reported a production of 42,597 tons with a gross value of $263,071. Using the same price for gold, this production would have represented a grade of 0.31 oz/ton gold equivalent. The production for 1933-1934 is given as 443 tons with a gross value of $43,037. At $35.00/oz. for gold at this time, this would indicate a grade of 2.78 oz/ton gold equivalent.
-Evaluation Report on the Rockland Mine, Lyon County,Nevada, J.P. Elwell Engineering Ltd., July 26th, 1981

The burning of the mill ticked off quite a few people:

Editor Register: Last Sunday morning at 3:30 o'clock Mr. Kean's quartz mill, situated near the town of Rockland, in Esmeralda county, Nevada, was entirely destroyed by fire, which was kindled by the hand of a malicious and villainous incendiary. The amount of property destroyed must have cost Mr. Kean not less than fifty thousand dollars, the loss of which does not only injure him, but many of his creditors and others who are directly and indirectly interested in the success of the mining enterprise established by him at Rockland. Mr. Kean had just leased his mill and mine to Henry Williams, of Sweetwater, and ex-Gov. Blasdel of Carson, and Judge Wells, on the part of Blasdell, was here making arrangements to commence operations about the first of June. Everything was progressing finely until last Sunday night, or rather Sunday morning before day, when some man, with arson in his heart, crept stealthily up to the mill and kindled a fire in some shavings in the engine room, and in less than an hour the entire mill was reduced to old iron, cinders, and ashes. Suspicion rested on one James Rhodes and his accomplices, and search was instituted by Mr. Kean during the day after the burning to ascertain if the suspicions of the people were well founded and from tracks which were discovered leading to and from the mill-- tracks corresponding in every particular with those made by boots worn by James Rhodes-- a warranty was issued from the Justice court at Pine Grove for the arrest of Rhodes. He was brought before Judge Murphy at 4 o'clock yesterday for examination. The principal witness being absent the examination was continued until today. This morning two other men, John Billings and O. Layure, were arrested as accomplices to the wicked deed. The prosecution is being conducted by Judge Wells and the defense by Billings and Rhodes themselves. Many witnesses have been examined, but I think the examination will not be concluded before tomorrow. There is already a continuous and unbroken chain of circumstantial evidence before the Court which points to Rhodes in particular as the guilty party, and it is hoped that Layure will turn State's evidence. This is the same James Rhodes that was sent to the Penitentiary from Lander county some time ago for assault to commit murder, and who was pardoned by Gov. Blasdell and the old Board of Pardons about a year ago. They are also understood to be the same individuals who received their "walking papers" some time ago from the Ku Klux Klan of Virginia City. Vigilance committees may be necessary, but it is decidedly wrong for them to force known wicked men from one community to another. If men are found guilty let them be punished where they commit the crime, but do not be so generous as to send all the bad men away unpunished to burn mills and otherwise prey on the life and property of other and law-abiding communities. I will send you the result of the examination that is no progressing at some other time. - Manning, Pine Grove, Nev., May 30, 1871
-The Daily State Register, May 31, 1871

After Kean got burned out, activity resumed with new owners.

The little town of Rockland, about twenty-five miles from Greenfield, Mason Valley, is looking up considerably lately and the mines owned by the company of which ex-Governor Blasdell is the Superintendent. Considerable freight is now being hauled to Rockland and last week B.H. Reymers, of Mason Valley, hauled some 15,000 pounds of freight from Wabuska. El. Blasdell, the son of the Governor, is secretary of the Mining Company, and John Logan is foreman of the mines. Report says there is an exceedingly bright outlook for the camp this Summer. (Dayton Times)
-Reese River Reveille, May 14, 1887

It is reported that ex-Governor Blasdell will dispose of a portion of his mine at Rockland to San Francisco parties on consideration that they build a mill on the site of the one recently burned.
-Reese River Reveille, September 24, 1887

Not that everything was peaches and cream after that, though...

All the men employed in the Nevada-Rockland struck for higher wages last Friday, and the demand not being granted, the men quit work, say the Lyon County Times. The wages being paid at the Nevada-
Rockland, we are informed, conform to the scale being paid in the district-- $3.59 for miners on drift work, $4 for sinking, and $4.50 for work in wet ground. The men who struck, some twenty in all, demanded and increase al round of 50 cents per day.
-Reno Evening Gazette, August 21, 1907

But they continued to dig...

The two 220 horse-power Diesel engines which will furnish power for mining and milling at the Rockland mine of the Interstate Mining and Development Company, which will cost about $40,000 to buy and install, are now functioning, C. J. Carpenter reports. The property lies twenty-six miles south of Yerington. The mine is opened by a tunnel which develops the vein down to the nine-hundred foot level and an inside shaft has been sunk down from there to the eleven hundred foot level. A seventy-five horsepower hoist has been provided for this shaft,a nd drifts are being extended north and south on an eight-foot body of milling ore that runs high in gold. The work of repairing the seventy-five ton cyanide mill is under way and it is expected that it will be in operation within sixty days. There are twenty men working underground and eight on top. The Rockland is one of the old gold producers of Lyon county, which made a heavy output, but has been tied up by litigation and for other causes for a number of years.
-Reno Evening Gazette, July 14, 1931



January 1871- June 1909

NEWSPAPER Pine Grove & Rockland Star

It wasn't a stretch to come up with the name "Rockland" for any town situated here- rocks are indeed plentiful. There are some assorted mine workings left scattered around, along with a building and pieces of some structures. The road here from Pine Grover is definitely a 4WD road- you have to climb a small waterfall in one spot, and the road is rutted, wet, and rocky. I surmise the situation will be the same in summer, only drier. Rockland is in a more narrow canyon than Pine Grove and roughly 750 feet higher in elevation. There is some evidence of more recent mining attempts here.

Photographs | Return to Previous Document | HOME