Silver was found at the Bonanza King mine in 1880. By 1882 a large vein was struct valued at $1200 per ton. The mine was sold that year for $200,000 and a twenty stamp mill was shipped while 150 men worked 3 shifts piling 2000 tons of ore in preparation for its assembly. By 1883 the mine was producing 2000 ounces of silver per day. The mine produced 1.7 millions until it burned to the ground in 1885. The mine was purchased, revised, and back in production by 1915 and operations suspended by 1920.

The nearby town of Providence was essentially a Bonanza King company town that consisted of a post office 2 stores and 3 saloons. Today the ruins of Providence consist of multiple foundations and partial stone walls along both side of the road leading o the mine. We stopped for lunch in one of the ruins that had a tin roof.

The mill lays in ruins as a pile of timbers laying over thousands of tons of tailings. The massive hillside above the mill is literally honeycombed beyond anything I have ever seen. It appears that the slightest jostle might send the entire mountain into collapse.

Near the mill there is a large adit that is open and one could tightly drive down. The tunnel curves near the entrance and the descends on a slight decline into the darkness. The crew we were with got spooked and we didn’t descend past the first small collapse. Leave a comment below if you have explored underground here.

 

  • JB Bergmann

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    Rating: 4 / 5

    Providence and the Bonanza King are so old that despite their remoteness there really isn’t much left. It is the history and the size of the mine that makes it a worthy trip. I wish we had spent more time underground as it is rare to find an open portal in Mojave National Preserve.

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