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mine

Mines & Tokens

Bishop - 8


 All Bishop photocards and Tokens courtesy of Rich McCutchan
unless otherwise noted


See USE NOTICE on Home Page.



spark plug mine
Champion Sparkplug Mine
sparkplug mine
Champion Sparkplug Mine

sparkplug mine
Champion Sparkplug Mine

sparkplug mine
Champion Sparkplug Mine

sparkplug mine
Champion Sparkplug Mine

sparkplug mine
Champion Sparkplug Mine

sparkplug mine
Champion Sparkplug Mine
 

On August 26, 2017, at a showing in Bishop of an old movie showing the Champion Sparkplug Mine work back in the 20s up until it closed in 1946, Eighty-eight year old George Clarkson, who worked at the mine, told several stories about how a mule could carry a 600 pound cast iron block for a compressor up that steep trail. They had rigged a tripod with a chain fall to raise the load off the mule to let her rest from having that 600 pounds on her back on the steep trail. But while they were moving the tripod to the next spot, she started off uphill with that load, and never stopped until she got to the camp above.

George was employed to get electrical power generated at the ranch below (Hydro), and get it up the hill to the mine to run the compressors for jackhammers. The power poles were 43 feet long, and were carried up the switchbacks by two mules that had a turntable on their saddles. He described how they would have to alternate going forward and backward to get the pole around the switchbacks. Think about it.

The operation closed down in 1945 and the Champion Mine reverted to public domain in 1982.

(Text taken from Mountain Mouse Land website)



Champion Sparkplug Mine

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Champion Sparkplug Mine Geology
by J. F. Cooper

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us vanadium
U.S. Vanadium Tungsten Mine - 1940
us vanadium
U.S. Vanadium Tungsten Mine - 1940

pine creek mine
Pack train headed up to the U.S. Vanadium Tungsten Mine at Pine Creek

pine creek mine
Packers headed up to the U.S. Vanadium Tungsten Mine at Pine Creek

pine creek mine
Pack train headed up to the U.S. Vanadium Tungsten Mine at Pine Creek

tungsten mine

Caterpillar diesel D8 tractor equipped with No. 8A bulldozer is removing snow from the road leading to the tungsten mine, northwest of Bishop. - March 21, 1955
United States Vanadium Company, Bishop, CA
(Photo courtesy of ebay)

sheelite
Sheelite, CA
Sue Norton Short writes: My dad worked for Union Carbide for years. He was a tram mechanic. My family lived in Sheelite, Rovana, and Red Housing - all company minine towns. Here is a photo of Sheelite when I lived there.
(Photo courtesy of ebay)

new 12/21
pine creek
Pine Creek tungsten mine.
(Photo courtesy of Rafael Rodriguez)

new 12/21
pine creek
Pine Creek tungsten mine.
(Photo courtesy of Rafael Rodriguez)

new 12/21
pine creek
Pine Creek tungsten mine.
(Photo courtesy of Rafael Rodriguez)

Rafael Rodriguez writes:

My father told me this story, of a time where he was once working as the Head Chef at Mammoth Mountain, when one of his co-workers came and asked him if he could give him a ride after work so that he could apply for a job that was listed on a newspaper ad. The job. MINERS NEEDED the pine creek mine was hiring and my father drove him all the way up to pine creek where snow started falling, it was a nice and sunny day when they left Mammoth. My father waited for his coworker to pick up an application but while he was waiting, he pulled out his disposable camera and shot these 3 images.

November 2021



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token
Bishop - Red Front Pool Room
token
Bishop - Red Front Pool Room
token
L.A. Department of Water and Power
token
L.A. Department of Water and Power
token
Town of Bishop Dog Tax - 1917
token
Bishop Dog Tax
token
Bishop - Owens Valley Bank
dance token
Good For One Dance Token
dance token
Good For One Dance Token
parlor token
Mike's Recreation Parlor
parlor token
Mike's Recreation Parlor
token
Monolithj Pool Hall
token
Monolithj Pool Hall
token
The Red Front - Bishop, CA
token
The Red Front - Bishop, CA

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one dance
Holland's "I'm Good for One Dance" token - Bishop, CA
(Ebay posting)

one dance
Holland's "I'm Good for One Dance" token - Bishop, CA
(Ebay posting)

bishop club

Bishop Club token - Bishop, CA
(Ebay posting)

bishop club

Bishop Club token - Bishop, CA
(Ebay posting)

valley view hotel

Valley View Hotel token - Bishop, CA
(Ebay posting)

valley view hotel

Valley View Hotel token - Bishop, CA
(Ebay posting)

new
10/21
past time club

Pastime Club - Bishop, CA
(Ebay posting)


new10/21
pastime club

Pastime Club - Bishop, CA
(Ebay posting)

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tungsten mine

Mill and houses of Tungsten Mines Co., near Bishop. Inyo County, California. 1918
(Courtesy USGS Denver Library Photographic Collection)

new 12/21
pine creek tungsten mine
Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
(Photo courtesy University of Riverside Digital Collectiions)

new 12/21
casa diablo
Casa Diablo Mine - 1912
(Photo courtesy University of Riverside Digital Collectiions)
 

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new 10/21
Photos courtesy Michael Lueders
Mill and houses of Tungsten Mines Co., near Bishop. Inyo County, California. 1918

tungsten

tungsten
tungsten
300 ton mill in foreground, 200 ton mill in the background.

tungsten

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new 11/21
Mines in the Pine Creek Canyon Area
Adamson Mine  
  Brownstone Mine
  Hanging Valley Mine
  Lakeview Mine
  Lambert Mine
  Pine Creek Mine
  Tungstar Mine
mines

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new 11/21
From the book Mine in the Sky by Joseph M. Kurtak
(Courtesy Rich McCutchan Archives)
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Processing & Beginnings
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mine in the sky
Unfortunately this book has long been out of print and
is very difficult to find.
mine in the sky
treatment
Treatment of Pine Creek Tungsten Ore
wanted

uses of tungsten
Uses of Tungsten Ore

tungsten advertisement

U.S. Vanadium Company Advertisement
pine creek
Arch Beauregard in 1916, the year he and Billie Vaughn made the
Pine Creek tungsten ore discovery

mine

North-South vertical projection of the north orebodies of the Pine Creek Mine.
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Living Accomodations

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morgan lakes
Employee housing built in 1938 near Morgan Lakes - nicknamed Okieville.
okieville
Emily Joyce using snowshoes to get around in Okieville - 1943

The Story of Okieville
joyce residence
The Joyce family residence at Okieville
Brothers Leo and James Joyce were contract miners in the open pits
above A Level - 1943


red houses

Top - Tenthouse living near A Level - circa 1939
The "Red Houses" constructed on lower Pine Creek in 1940
a level camp
A Level camp at 10,900 feet housed up to 250 employees during WWII.
It was abandoned in 1949 when operations were move to the Zero Level tunnel.

rovena

Rovana in the late 1940s

rovana village
Rovana - 1949

sheelite
Scheelite on Pine Creek - 1942

housing
Employee housing just below the junction of Gable and Pine Creeks - 1941

sheelite school
Scheelite school - 1943

bunk houses

A Level camp and bunkhouses - 1943

tungsten camp
Tungsten Products camp ag 10,500 feet near Morgan Lakes - 1937
house
Cabins built by miners in the early 1940s below the Lakeview Mine

camp

The Tungsten Products camp at 10,500 feet near Morgan Lakes.
tools
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Portraits

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shellite school
3rd & 4th grade classes at the Scheelite school - 1947
Front row (L/R): Ronny Lane, Bill Lorimor, Don Cortez, Bob Gribben, Bob Anderson, Bobby Cruz, Mike Webster, Lowell Powell, UNK
Middle row (L/R): Lenny Palmer, UNK, Lainni Palmer, UNK, Linda Joyce, David Keltz, Mitch Vasser, UNK, UNK, Eddie Lane
Back row (L/R): Myrtle Walsh, UNK, Zoe Ball, UNK, UNK, Ethel Peterson, UNK, UNK, UNK, Janet McTaggert

After the Scheelite school burned, Myrtle Walsh began teaching at the Round Valley School until retiring in 1975

horse
George Brown packing a load of timbers for the mine workings
at Morgan Lakes - 1937

cook
Cooks at the Morgan Lakes camp cookhouse
L/R: UNK, Cook Art Pomeroy

george brown
Cook, Art Pomeroy and packer George Cherst at the Morgan Lakes camp.
George is preparing to haul a power pole with two mules using swivel pack saddles - 1937

miners
The Mining Crew at Zero Level - 1957

Front row (L/R): Red York, Ed Norton, Shorty Dobb, S. Smith, Van Meter, Russ Jones, Burngette, Joe Eastwood, Duncan, Whitney, Carter, Gene Edwards, Jack Hancock,
Red White, Foss, Stokes
Middle row (L/R): Anderson, Rich Fleming, Bill Moon, Ed Sturdevant, "Wagon Wheel" Bob Melton, Schumacher, Skeeter, Hazolting, Roy Fleming, Rusty Perrow, Al Dutton, Chuck Horner, Tom Claybourne, Mendenhall, Slim Basset, Tony Grovena, UNK, Hose Nose, Sid Belgard, Goldilocks Leach, Doc Edwards
Back row (L/R): Bill Patton, Pete Snyder, Wilson, Larry Willis, Red Olsen, Miner Mike, Don Reid, Bill Lee, Smily Salcido, Airdale Heath, Shorty Orr, Okie Robbins

ray
Ray Kurtak in his garden at his home in Rovana - 1996
superintendent
L/R: Clarence Hall, Merel "Doc" Shaw - 1938

crew
Engineering - Geologic staff and Surface Crew at Zero Level - 1957
Front Row (L/R): Ev Birch, Lawson Wright, Don Markl, Don Wyman, Tom Pollett, Bill Beam, UNK, UNK, Art Shaw, Mitch Vasser, Don Henley
Back Row (L/R): Rudy Kilgore, Harold Race, George Hall, UNK, Tom Crocker, Milt Funk, Roy Campbell, Herb Hardy, Jim Benner, Gerry Preston, Dave Traylor, Ernie Piersall, Ray Gray, Jake Crocker, UNK, Clair Kunkel, Jim Sweeney, Jerry Shelhammer, John Corwin, Dutch De Graffenreid, Merrill Curtis

ray kurtak

Ray Kurtak analysizing samples with an atomic absorption machine
at the Pine Creek metallurgical lab in 1960

royal jackman
Mitzie the mascot relaxes with mill shift boss Royal Jackman at the
A Level bunkhouses. The deer was the pet f camp cook Art Pomeroy. - 1939

bicycle
Mary Lou McKinley at the Pine Creek Millsite housing in late 1940.
These homes were damage by a massive avalanche the came down Morgan Creek canyon in 1952

george brown

The George Brown family heading out on a packtrip up Pine Creek circa 1942.
The Browns started the Pine Creek Pack Station in the mid-1930s.
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Operations

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operations
Tungstar Mine buildings at 12,000 feet on the side of Mount Tom - circa 1941
tungsten mine and mill
Tungsten Mines Company mill and camp in Deep Canyon near Bishop - 1918

tungstar mill
Original Tungstar mill constructed in 1939 near the junction
of Gable and Pine Creeks
zero level
U.S. Vanadium Pine Creek Mine Zero Level surface facilities in the mid 1950s.

u.s vanadium
U.S. Vanadium Pine Creek Mine A Level operations

mine
The Pine Creek Mill soon after start-up in 1941

housing
Level A in the winter and spring of 1948 - 1949

mine
View down Morgan Creek from the mine workings at nearly 13,000 feet
on Wheeler Ridge - 1995

mine
Looking north at the Pine Creek Mill and tailings ponds. - 1990
The mine road switchbacks up the right side of Morgan Creek .


pine creek
Looking north at the headwaters of Morgan Creek. Mt. Morgan on the left.
The Pine Creek ore bodies are concentrated along the left margin of the pendant (the light & dark metamorphic rocks on the right)
near the contact with the granite slopes of Mt. Morgan extending down 3,400 feet.


mine
The "Mill on the Hill" at A Level operations during the winter about 1939

miners at work
Using stoper drills to place bolts in the ceiling of the mine working - circa 1956
Roof bolts helped secure unstable rock slabs and were an insurance
agains cave-ins.
lift operator
Clarence Hunt operating the single-drum hoist that moves the cage up and down the 1,565 feet. He was responsible for the safe transport of workers between the different mine levels.

elevator
Miners in a two-level cage preparing to ascend the 1,500 feet between Zero
and A Levels in the Pine Creek Mine - Circa 1957
tungstar  tram
Tungstar Mine Tram in operation - 1943

miner
A miner loading ore into one of the underground transport cars

mine
A cable-drum slusher bucket dragging ore out of a stope to an ore pass.
rotary tipple
A rotary tipple at Zero Level dumped ore cars into a jaw crusher, which broke the rock to three-inch size in preparation for the trip to the mill via aerial tramway - 1950

mule power
Using mules to pull ore cars at the Tungsten Products Co. - circa 1927

mule train
Cleo McCracken packing a mule train laden with tramway cable up
the Tungstar Mine trail - 1939
Cleo is packing a string of 15 mules in this train

easy go
Gordon Irvine inspecting a spool of hoist cable used in the raise
between the Easy Go and Zero Levels - 1968

mule haul


George Brown packing a 1,400 foot (3,000 pound load) long continuous strand
of tram cable on a string of 15 mules up the Tungstar Mine trail.

cable
Using a "rope block" pulley system to raise the counterweight at tower no. 11.
Tension was provided by a dozer and the worker, standing on the cables, kept them from getting tangled.



trolley
A trolley locomotive brings cars laden with ten tons of ore out of the Zero Level Tunnel in the mid-1950s.

dozer
Caterpilar Company clearing the mine road of snow during WWII.

riding the cable
Porter Whitson catching a ride on a loaded tram bucket at the Tungstar Mine
in 1940. Many employees used the tramway as transportation to and from the
mine site even though it was prohibited by company rules.

george brown
George Brown (white shirt) and Cleo McCracken using a two mule swivel
packsaddle system to haul mine rails up the Morgan Creek trail to A Level - 1937

mine
Rows of flotation cells inside the Pine Creek Mill. These recovered copper, molybdenum, and scheelite concentrates from the ore.
mine
A bank fo gravity tables saved any scheelite not recovered by the flotation cells.

mine
Pine Creek Mine interior. Marcy ball mills and Akins spiral calssifiers located behind
the workers, ground and sized the ore to sand=sized material. This was then
fed to the Sterns-Rogers flotation cells in the foreground, which produced
copper, molybdenite, and scheelite concentrates. 1943
mine
Pine Creek Mill interior, ready for wartime production.
Remains of the Tungstar tramway on the north side of Mt. Tom - 1996

mine

Zero Level tunnel upgraded for ore haulage. The large pipe on the right
carried in air to ventilate the inner mine workings and the small one
delivered compressed air to run drills and mucking machines.
mine
The completed tram in operation. A loaded bucket approaches tower no. 4
near A Level. The buckets rode on rollers along the fixed upper cable, while
clamped to the lower continuously-moving cable.


mine
Workers competing the Zero Level car-dump and crushing plant - 1949

mine
Plan view of the Pine Creek operations.
mine
Rotating digesters in operation at the Pine Creek Mill. These were key to the successful treatment of the Pine Creek ore.


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This page was last updated on 01 December 2021