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Original Sixteen to One Mine

The Alleghany Mining District

In 1850 a group of Hawaiian sailors referred to as Kanakas discovered gold nuggets in what is now known as Kanaka Creek.


The Gold King Mine on Kanaka Creek

Gold production from the Alleghany Mining District in the early years was from placer mining.


The source of the placer gold was traced to the rich gravels of the ancestral Yuba River which crosses the ridges of the district. Numerous drift mines were begun along the ridges exploring the gravels for gold. Forest City was the hub of the District with its large placer deposits from the 1870’s to mid 1890’s.


Chip’s Flat and Smith’s Flat (late 1870’s) were the only two hydraulic mines in the District; they were relatively small.


The first lode quartz mining in the District was in the mid 1850’s at the German Bar and Irelan mines. A number of veins on Kanaka Creek like the Twenty One, El Dorado and Oriental were located and prospected in the 1860’s. The Tightner mine was located in 1891 while the Sixteen to One on the same vein was located in 1896. Production from the lode mines in the District began to surpass that of the drift mines in the late 1890’s. This coincided with the decline of Forest City. Alleghany became the hub of the District with its large lode deposits. Lode mining in the District peaked in the mid 1920’s but continues to this day primarily from the Sixteen to One Mine.


A compilation by Sidney Norman published during October of 1932, lists a total gold production of 1.77 million ounces from all the mines of the Alleghany district as follows:


Unidentified men at a mine in Alleghany ca. late 1800's
photo courtesy of Les Foster

Sixteen to One - 750,000 ounces

Plumbago - 200,000 ounces

Tightner - 150,000 ounces

Rainbow - 110,000 ounces

Oriental - 100,000 ounces

Ruby - 50,000 ounces

Monte Christo - 50,000 ounces

Gold Bluff - 50,000 ounces

Brush Creek - 50,000 ounces

Gold Canyon - 37,500 ounces

Black Bear - 25,000 ounces

Excelsior - 25,000 ounces

South Fork - 25,000 ounces

North Fork - 25,000 ounces

Eldorado - 16,250 ounces

Irelan - 15,000 ounces

Kate Hardy - 15,000 ounces

Triple Pocket - 12,500 ounces

Gold King - 12,500 ounces

White Bear - 11,500 ounces

German Bar - 10,000 ounces

Docile - 5,000 ounces

Osceola - 5,000 ounces

Morning Glory - 5,000 ounces

Red Star - 4,000 ounces

Mariposa - 3,750 ounces

Dreadnaught - 3,750 ounces

Rising Sun - 3,000 ounces


Special thanks to Geologist Raymond Wittkopp and Historian Willard Fuller for assistance with this article.

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