Article Index
History of Big Bear
Discovery And Naming of Big Bear Valley
Gold Rush Days
Logging And The Sawmills
Mountain Cattle Ranchers
The Big Bear Valley Dams
Early Big Bear Valley Resorts
Fox Farming
Winter Sports
The San Bernardino Mountains
All Pages


(there was gold in them thar hills!)

The Holcomb Valley gold rush of 1860 brought hundreds of miners into the area The initial mining was for placer gold and was primarily done by small groups or individuals with claims along the stream beds.

Soon afterward quartz mining began, and major mines were the Mammoth, Olio, Pine Tree, Metzgar, and further west, the Greenlead. This hard rock mining required stamp mills to crush the rock, and several mills were built at different sites.

The largest placer operation was by the Valley Gold Company, Ltd., following 1890. They eventually brought in a huge railroad steam shovel that could dig 1000 yards of gravel a day, and the long windrows still visible were made by this shovel.

The Gold Mountain Mine northwest of Baldwin Lake was the most visible and best known in the area. It had two huge, 40-stamp mills at different times. The first was built in 1875 and the second in 1900. The massive foundation for the stamps of a later mill is very prominent today. The town of Doble was on a flat below the mine.

Other prominent mines are those in Blackhawk Canyon on the desert side, and many in Lone Valley and further east. There are the ruins of the Moronga Silver Mine, the Christy, Morongo King, and the very rich Rose Mine. At the crest of the mountain north of the Rose Mine are several tunnels of the Tip-Top Silver Mine.

Today no structures remain at any of these historic mines, and only caved in tunnels, collapsing shafts, and piles of colorful tailings are evidence that they once existed!