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Catalog number 1997.2.1627
Object Name Clipping, Newspaper
Date 1940
Description TITLE: Indian Hunters Credited with Rich Mine Find SUBTITLE: Over Million Flasks Of Quicksilver Produced At Almaden. PUBLISHER: San Jose Mercury March 27, `940.
A new chapter in the epic of California mining appears opening today with the prospective leasing by a $500,000 Philadelphia syndicate of this golden state's oldest mine - New Almaden in the hills southwest of San Jose.
Discovered in 1826, when a party of Spanish bear hunters tracked their quarry into a cave near the top of Mine hill, where Indians of the Pacific coast had from prehistoric times quarried the red cinnabar for their war and ceremonial paint, the quick-silver mines have formed a glittering streak through California's historical pageant.
From its 147 forgotten miles of tunnels, drifts, shafts and winzes, winding level below level in the bowels if the Capitancillos range, came the quicksilver that enabled the placer miners of the Mother Lode and the enterprisers of the Comstock Lode to extract gold and silver, without which the west's history would have been less romantic and prosperous.
Its heavy red cinnabar, roasted in the furnaces Almaden engineers developed to make technical mining history, produced from 1851 to 1925 a total of 1,074,-809 flasks of gleaming, liquid quicksilver, which at present prices in a war-torn world that needs the product for explosives, would represent an income of $200,000,000.
In several of its huge ore chambers under the green placid hills west of this city one could drop the Bank of America and First National bank buildings and still have room to spare.
Its checkered history has had international repercussions. From 1846 to 1858 it was operated by an English firm, Barron, Forbes & Co., when American interests, by -involved proceedings, claimed title to the rich property. The titanic suit for possession - largest civil suit ever fought in the courts of California decided by the U. S supreme court in 1864 in favor of the American claimants.
Its major operations continued until the nineties, after which output dwindled until World war demands caused an upsurge of mining there until 1925. There never has been a year to the present that some quicksilver has not been taken out of the mine, making it not only the oldest but the longest producing mine in a western America whose most romantic history has centered about its mines.
Cataloged by Boudreault, Art