Butte Creek is in north-central Butte County. It is chiefly a dredging district that extends along Butte Creek from about three miles southeast of Chico northeast to Centerville and Helltown, a distance of almost 12 miles. The Magalia district is contiguous on the northeast. The streams were placer-mined during the gold rush, and hydraulic mining and some drift mining of Tertiary gravels followed. The creek was worked with primitive power shovels and washing plants in the early 19005. It was dredged from around 1902 to the early 1920s, again in the 1930s, and from 1945 to 1949.
The deposits consist mainly of stream and bench gravels in and along Butte Creek. They range from a few hundred feet wide at the upper end to nearly a mile at the lower end. The gravels are coarse, well rounded, and consist of andesite with some chert and minor quartz. Also there are Tertiary shore and bench gravels in the Centerville and Helltown areas. Dredging depths ranged from 13 to 35 feet, with an uneven bedrock. The last operations were reported to have yielded as much as 35 cents of gold per yard.
Butte Creek Cons., 1909-16, one bucket-line; Lancha Plana, 1941-49, one bucketline; Pacific Gold Dredging Co., 1902-17?, two bucketline; Piedmont Dredging Co., 1941, one Becker-Hopkins; Thurman and Wright, one dragline; Yuba Cons., 1941, one Becker-Hopkins.
Lindgren. Waldemor, 1911. U. S. Geol. Survey Prof. Paper 73, pp. 84-86.
Waring, C. A., 1919, Butte County, Gold dredging: California Min. Bur. Rept. 15, pp. 187-193, 194, 197.
Winston, W. B., 1910, Gold dredging in California, Butte Creek district: California Min. Bur. Bull. 57, pp. 159-162.