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Catalog number 1997.2.1603
Object Name Clipping, Newspaper
Date 1945
Description TITLE: Background On Santa Rita Shaft
The destruction of The Santa Rita headframe .at New Almaden quicksilver mine, an old landmark, by stormy weather was noted in this column recently.
I'm indebted to Jimmie Schneider of the New. Almaden Historical Society for sending in the following information about the old tower:
"The Santa Rita Shaft was originally sunk in 1886 to prospect the ground in Mine Hill over the very rich Santa Rita labore (stope). It was hoped that other bodies of cinnabar would be found but little besides serpentine was encountered. The shaft extended from about 75 feet below the crest of Mine Hill to the 900-foot level, and was thus a little over 800 feet deep.
"When the New Almaden Corporation in the last war operated the mines they re-opened the shaft in the hope of obtaining stope fill in the old mine. The head frame was set up in 1942-43 and the shaft was connected to the Day tunnel for an outlet. In the process of doing the work one of the employees, Albert McFarland, had a close call. When he was standing on a ladder some 600 feet below the collar, a section of 2-inch pipe 20 feet long got loose and went down straight as an arrow. It just touched McFafland's hard hat as it passed him, and we understand he was very mad, but he was quite lucky.
Some years ago the bunker to the frame caught fire and threatened the landmark structure, but the New Almaden Volunteer Fire Department extinguished it only to have the shaft cave in and one of the legs fall in our last storm."
This report would seem to correct the earlier statement that the headframe dated back to the 1870's.
People Schneider, Jimmy
MacFarland, Al (Albert)
Cataloged by Boudreault, Art