GRANTS PASS DISTRICT
The Grants Pass district is in east-central Josephine County between lat 42°24' and 42°35' N. and long 123°15' and 123°35' W. Included within this district are the Jumpoff Joe Creek, Rogue River, Winona, and Merlin camps.
The earliest mining was along Picket and Jump-off Joe Creeks several years after the discoveries along Josephine Creek in 1852. Although records are scanty, apparently this district was not important until lode quartz mining began in the 1890's (Winchell, 1914b, p. 215). The major lode mine was the Daisy or Hammersley. Some of the important placer mines were along Jumpoff Joe Creek, the Rogue River, and the Dry Digging at the town of Grants Pass. The district was sporadically active through the 1930's, but only a few mines were in operation in 1942 (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, 1942, p. 66). From 1951 through 1959 only a few ounces was reported from the district. Estimates of early lode production credit the Granite Hill mine with $65,000 in gold (Diller and Kay, 1909, p. 58), the Daisy with $200,000, and the Baby with $20,000 (Winchell, 1914b, p. 225, 228). Incomplete production data for the district from 1904 to 1932 total 5,218 ounces. From 1932 through 1957 the district produced 540 ounces of lode gold and 6,087 ounces of placer gold.
Total production through 1959, including the estimates of early production, was about 22,000 ounces. The predominant country rock in the Grants Pass district consists of northeast-trending bands of serpentine, greenstone, and Galice sedimentary rocks, all of Jurassic age (Diller and Kay, 1924, p. 2-7). A dioritic intrusive of Late Jurassic or Early Cretaceous age transects the other rocks. The lode deposits are in small quartz veinlets and stringers in greenstone and in the diorite intrusive. The veinfilling is mainly quartz with small amounts of pyrite, arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, galena, and local pyrrhotite. Most of the gold occurs in the free state with quartz, but some of the sulfides carry varying amounts of gold.
The Greenback district, which includes Graves, Wolf, and Coyote Creeks, is in the northeast corner of Josephine County, between lat 42°37' and 42°43' N. and long 123°16' and 123°28' W.
The date of gold discovery in this district is unknown, but placers along Graves and Wolf Creeks probably were discovered in 1860 (Winchell, 1914b, p. 182) and were productive through the 1940's. In the late 1890's and early 1900's, lode mines such as the Greenback, Dorothea, and Livingston were discovered, and they exceeded the placers in production. For some time in the early 1900's the Greenback mine was regarded as the largest producer in southwest Oregon (Diller, 1914b, p. 31). After the 1930's, however, production from placers was much greater than that from the lode mines. From World War II through 1959 the Greenback district produced only 100 to 200 ounces of gold annually.
Records of early production in the Greenback district do not exist and estimates are fragmentary. The Dorothea mine produced $50,000 in gold, and the Livingston, $20,000 (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, 1942, p. 101, 110). Winchell (1914b, p. 184) reported early production of $400,000 from placers along Graves Creek. Total recorded production for the district from 1904 through 1959 was 37,062 ounces - 2,001 ounces from lode mines, 28,853 ounces from placers, and 6,208 ounces undifferentiated. Total gold production through 1959, including Winchell's estimate of early placer production from Grave Creek, must have been at least 55,000 ounces.
The geology of the Greenback district is very similar to that of the Grants Pass district. Alternating bands of greenstone, serpentine, and sediments of the Galice Formation cross the district in a northeasterly direction (Diller and Kay, 1924). Most of the lode mines are in greenstone near the contact with serpentine bodies. The deposits are in small veins and stringers. Veinfilling is mainly quartz and small amounts of pyrite, arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, galena, and local pyrrhotite. Gold occurs chiefly in the free state; some is associated with the sulfides.
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