The Keystone Mine was a significant contributor to gold production in the Mother Lode producing $24,000,000 in gold to a depth of 2680′ from 1851 until it’s close in 1952. At one point 40 stamps were crushing ore with 100 workers on staff.
By 1870 the mines bonanza was famous and attracted two Hungarians determined to rob the mill. They waited for a cleanup day and watched from the nearby woods as the mercury was boiled from the amalgamation. The superintendent decided to leave the cooling sponge gold valued at 1870’s $50,000 to cool overnight under the nigh watchman’s guard. The thieves drilled a hole in the retort room and introduce chloroform in an attempt to sedate the watchman. After no effect they barged in the retort room and struck him on the head with a hammer killing him. The thieves then could not figure out how to release the cover on the retort and fled the seen without the gold.
Sadly all that remains are the mills foundation only steps from Old Highway 49 and a headframe on top of the hill behind the foundations obscured by trees. All within Amador City limits. We roamed around the un-fenced foundations marked with No Trespassing signs. We could see the headframe on the hill behind a large group of trees but did not travel up the road marked private property for a closer look.