Principal Gold Producing Districts of the United States
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In Michigan the only significant gold output has come from the Ropes mine in Marquette County near Ishpeming.
Montana, which yielded a total of 17,752,000 ounces of gold from 1862 through 1965, is seventh among the gold-producing States. Gold was first discovered in 1852 in placers in Powell County, but the influx of prospectors did not begin until the discovery of rich placers in the Bannack district in 1862. Numerous placers were found in rapid succession, among them those of Alder Gulch, which were to become the most productive placers in the State. Placers, which contributed almost half of Montana's total gold, had their greatest output before 1870; nevertheless, dredging and hydraulic placer mining were conducted on a large scale until World War II. Development of lodes, hindered by lack of railroads in the early days, progressed rapidly in the 1880's and was accelerated greatly with the expansion of operations at Butte in the early 1900's.
Though Nevada is primarily a silver-mining State, it produced a total of about 27,475,000 ounces of gold from 1859 through 1965 and ranks fifth among the gold-producing States. Mining began in the early 1850's and the period 1859-79 was the boom era of the Comstock Lode and Reese River districts. After a period of decline from 1880 to 1900, the discoveries at Tonopah and Goldfield rejuvenated mining in the State until World War I. Lead, zinc, and copper mining, which yield gold as a byproduct, dominated Nevada's mining industry from the end of World War I through 1959, although for short periods large gold operations in the Potosi, Round Mountain, and Bullion districts have been significant. Discovery of the Carlin gold deposit in 1962 has revived interest in the gold potential of the State.
New Mexico produced about 2,267,000 ounces of gold from 1848 through 1965. Though gold lodes were worked on a small scale as early as 1833, prospectors showed little interest in the territory until the 1860's and 1870's. In rapid succession, lode and placer gold and rich silver and silver-lead discoveries were made, and mining flourished. By 1900, however, the oxidized ores were depleted, and interest turned to developing the primary base-metal ores from which gold is produced as a byproduct. This trend continued, in general, through 1959. The major gold districts are Elizabeth-town-Baldy, Mogollon, and Lordsburg.
Oregon, the tenth most important gold-mining State, produced 5,797,000 ounces of gold from 1852 through 1965. Gold placers were worked as early as 1852, but the great rush to Oregon did not take place until 1861, after the placer discovery at Griffin Gulch in Baker County. After an initial period of high placer output, gold lodes were found and developed at a less frenzied rate. By the early 1900's, gold mining began a decline that lasted until 1934 when it was rejuvenated by the increase in the price of gold. A few districts, notably the Sumpter, were then reactivated, and gold mining was revived through the late 1930's and early 1940's until the demands of World War II diverted mining to commodities other than gold. Gold mining in Oregon in the post-World War II period has been in a steady decline.
Most of Pennsylvania's gold has been produced from the Cornwall iron mine in Lebanon County.
South Dakota, third among the gold-producing States, produced a total of about 31,208,000 ounces of gold through 1965, mostly from the Homestake mine. The gold districts are in the Black Hills in the northwestern part of the State. Most gold has been produced from lode deposits, but placers have also been mined.
In the Southeastern States, gold deposits are distributed in an area about 700 miles long and 150 miles wide east of the Appalachian Mountains. North Carolina is the largest producer; other States, in decreasing magnitude of production, are Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama. Gold in Tennessee is a byproduct of the copper ores of the Ducktown district in Polk County; small amounts have been mined from placers on Coker Creek in Monroe County. Both areas are in the southeastern part of the State.
Utah, whose total gold output through 1965 was 17,765,000 ounces, ranks sixth among the gold-producing States. The first major ore discovery in the State was in 1863, when lead ore was found in Bingham Canyon. Gold placers were found nearby the following year. Silver-lead ore discoveries in the Cottonwood, Park City, and Tintic districts in the late 1860's and 1870's generated feverish activity which lasted until 1893 when the financial recession caused a sharp drop in the price of silver. In the early 1900's, large-scale mining of the low-grade copper ores of the Bingham district began. Gold has been an important byproduct of these ores. In 1965, the Bingham district, in addition to being one of the major copper producers of the world, was the second largest gold producer in the United States. The Tintic, Park City, and Camp Floyd districts also have yielded substantial amounts of gold.
Washington, whose total gold output from 1860 through 1965 was about 3,671,000 ounces, is one of the few States in which gold production has increased in recent years, mainly because of the output of the Knob Hill mine in the Republic district and the Gold King mine in the Wenatchee district. Gold was first discovered in the State in 1853 in the Yakima River valley. Placers were worked along most of the major streams of the State through the 1880's, but most of them were depleted by the early 1900's. Lode deposits were found in the 1870's and eventually supplanted placers as the chief source of gold. Of the 15 major gold districts of Washington, the most productive have been Republic, Wenatchee, and Chelan Lake.
Wyoming is a minor gold-producing State; its total output through 1965 was about 82,000 ounces. Only two districts - the Douglas Creek and the Atlantic City-South Pass - have been significant.