Here’s the Standard mill, which processed ore from the Standard Mine. (The mine was originally named the Bunker Hill mine when it was first registered in 1861.) Most of the inner workings are still in tact. During the summer months Park Aides conduct a history talk and guided tour (for a fee) where you can see some of the interior of the mill. There is a limit on the number of people per tour, and they only do a few tours a day, so make sure the Museum is your first stop when you get in town to get your tickets, as they do sell out. You can also book private group tours if you contact the Park.
In its heyday, the mill processed more than $14 million worth of gold and silver over 25 years. On October 6, 1898 the original mill burned down, as it was built of mostly wood. In the dead of winter, at nearly 9,000 feet elevation and likely with 20 feet of snow, they immediately began rebuilding the mill. On February 1, 1899 – just a few months later, the Standard Mill re-opened. The new mill is also wood framed, but mostly covered with sheets of corrugated steel.
In the enlarged 2001 picture of the mill (above,) you can barely see a pole at the top of the hill. It is from that point on the hill that Andrew Hallidie (inventor of the San Francisco cable railway,) designed and built an ingenious gondola system that was used to carry ore from the mine directly to the mill. This saved dozens of horses and men literally hours of work for each load of ore that was to be delivered for processing. Gondolas would be loaded at the top of the hill, and run down a “never ending cable” to the mill, where the bottom would automatically open to drop the ore into a bin.
Also to note, according to State experts, the Standard Mill is the “most in tact” mill in California!
- Map section 7
- Electrification of the mill
- Discovery of the Standard Mine
- Rare post-1899 photo
- Jigsaw puzzles: LOC Standard Mill Stamps
- Hard Rock Mining
- Galleries by Subject : Standard Mill