Okanogan County Washington Gold Production

Posted July 16, 2009 in Gold Mining


Click here for the Principle Gold Producing Districts of the United States Index

Okanogan County, one of the largest counties in the State, has several gold-producing districts - Cascade, Oroville-Nighthawk, Myers Creek, and Methow.

Mining in the county began in 1859 in the gravels along the Similkameen River. In 1871, lode deposits were discovered near Conconully (Patty, 1921, p. 20). Production data on gold before 1903 are not available, but from that date through 1959 the county produced 34,000 ounces of lode gold and 1,775 ounces of placer gold. Total gold production for the county from 1859 through 1959 was probably between 85,000 and 90,000 ounces.

Metamorphic rocks and local patches of sedimentary rocks compose the bedrock of the county. These have been extensively intruded by granite and other igneous rocks.

The Cascade (Wauconda) district, near the east boundary of Okanogan County, is about 20 miles south of the Canadian boundary and 12 miles northwest of Republic, at the headwaters of Granite Creek.

Production data for the district are available only for 1935 to 1957, when 7,886 ounces of lode gold was produced, primarily from the Bodie mine. Although the discovery date of gold for the district is not known, activity was reported as early as 1901 (Landes and others, 1902, p. 25). It can be assumed that in the ensuing 34 years at least a few thousand ounces of gold was produced and that an estimated total production of 10,000 to 15,000 ounces is reasonable. The principal properties are the Wauconda (Landes and others, 1902, p. 25-26) and the Bodie (Huntting, 1955, p. 69).

The bedrock of the district consists of gneiss, schist, and metasedimentary rocks that have been intruded by masses of granite (Landes and others, 1902, p. 24). These rocks are cut by porphyritic andesite intrusives and are covered by basaltic lavas. The ore bodies are in fissure veins in the metamorphic rocks. The vein material is largely quartz and calcite, and finely divided native gold is the ore mineral.

The Methow (Squaw Creek) district is along Squaw Creek - a tributary of the Methow River - and is 9 miles above the mouth of the Methow River, 53 miles north of Mansfield, and 73 miles north-northeast of Wenatchee.

Lode deposits were discovered in 1887; the Red Shirt mine was the first producer (Hodges, 1897, p. 85). The major properties are the Hidden Treasure, Friday, Bolinger, and Highland Light. Production data before 1932 are incomplete, but from 1932 through 1959 output of 16,473 ounces of lode gold and 9 ounces of placer gold is recorded.

The deposits are in east-trending fissure veins in gneiss and granite. Quartz and calcite compose the bulk of the veinfilling, and gold and silver are the valuable components (Landes and others, 1902, p. 37).

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Did You Know.......

A mine is a hole in the ground, owned by a liar.
-Mark Twain


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