Location and History
This district is in western Sierra County, 10 miles northwest of Downieville and five miles south of La Porte. The Port Wine district is to the northeast, and the Brandy City district is to the south-southwest. Poverty Hill district includes the Scales and Mount Pleasant areas. The area was mined by hydraulicking and drifting during and after the gold rush. Mining here again during the 1930s and early 1940s included an attempt to work the Poverty Hill pit with a bucket-line dredge.
The main channel of the Tertiary North Fork of the Yuba River, or La Porte channel, enters this district from the north and continues south and southwest to the Brandy City and Indian Hill districts. The Port Wine channel, a branch of the La Porte channel, enters the area from the northeast at Scales. This smaller branch channel parallels the main channel for some miles. At the Poverty Hill pit, the channel is up to 1500 feet wide and 150 feet deep. The lower "blue" gravels are quartz-rich and cemented in places. There are a number of large boulders. At Scales the channel is similar. Bedrock consists of slate, quartzite, amphibolite and serpentine. Lindgren estimated in 1911 that, at Poverty Hill, 2.25 million yards had been removed and 5 million yards were ultimately available, while at Scales and Mt. Pleasant, 4.05 million yards had been excavated and 60 million yards were ultimately available.
Averill, C.V., 1942, Sierra County, Poverty Hill properties: California Div. Mines Rept. 38, pp. 35-37.
Lindgren, Waldemar, 1911, Tertiary gravels of the Sierra Nevada: U.S. Geol. Survey Prof. Paper 73, pp. 104-108.
MacBoyle, Errol, 1920, Sierra County, Poverty Hill mining district: California Min. Bur. Rept. 16, pp. 23-26.
Turner, H. W., 1897, Downieville folio. California: U.S. Geol. Survey Geol. Atlas of the U.S., folio 37, 8 pp.