The Empire Mine State Historic Park is the site of the oldest, richest, gold mine in California. It is also one of the biggest mines in California. Empire Mine is 853.12 acres. The location is st 10791 E Empire Street, in Grass Valley. George Roberts, a lumberman, who discovered gold in quartz, also discovered Empire Mine in 1850. The mine lasted for more than 100 years and produced 5.8 million ounces of gold before its ending in 1956. Today, geologists found out that only 20% of the gold has been removed from the Empire Mine.

       - Ivey

What and how did the Empire Mine mine?

In 1850, George Roberts found gold in the quartz outcropping at Empire Mine. Empire Mine mined 5.8 million ounces of gold in between 1850-1956. In 1956, Empire Star Mine’s vertical depth was 11,007 feet. The Cornish miners designed an individual method to stop the underground water from flooding the Empire Mine. They did this because when the people tried to find gold, the water might fill up the tunnels and the people will drown. These days the Empire Mine still keeps the gold they mine.


Empire Mine Ending

Empire Mine was very successful but the United States government shut the Empire down in 1942 because gold mines were a distraction to the war effort since World War II was happening. But the Empire Mine was reopened in 1945. The miners were kicked out in 1951, and the last pump was shut down in 1956. Then in 1974, Empire Mine became a state park. The Empire Mine’s new name was Empire Mine State Historic Park located in Grass Valley, California.


Empire Mine Owners

William Bourn Jr. received the Empire Mine from his father in 1877. Bourn’s cousin, George Starr, had a really good mine strategy that helped increase gold productivity. Fred Searls, from Nevada City, bought Empire Mine from Bourn in 1929. He also bought North Star Mines as well. The Bourn Family has an enjoyable life. By 1956, the depth was more than 2 miles, and may sound too deep, but Empire Mine was famous for not getting any injures from a more than 2 miles deep mine. Empire Mine worked really well until the force shut down by the war in 1956.
- Ivey

Being a Mule in Empire Mine

There were 44 mules working for the Empire Mine. Being a mule in the Empire Mine was hard and exhausting. Once the mule was underground, it would not see the sunlight in tens of years. It lived in underground stalls. The mules liked to eat carrots and apples. They lived to about 35 years old only because they had good curative care. Some of the people who worked in the Empire Mine groomed the mules, checked for harness sores, and scooped out the manure that was in the stall. The vets were thoughtful about the mules getting hernias, which they got by hauling heavy ore carts. A mule would pull 15 tons in one day. It would pull 3 one- ton ore carts each time. When the mule came back, it would be pulling 6-9 empty ore carts. If a miner hit a mule, that very miner would get fired immediately. That’s the life of an Empire Mine mule.


Change can be Either Positive or Negative

Empire Mine’s positive change is when miners found lots of gold. Another positive change the Empire Mine had was it was famous for not getting injuries for digging more than 2 miles deep. Another positive change was that Empire Mine mules lived for a very long life. A positive change is now, Empire Mine is a state park. The negative change was when it was forced to be shut-down by World War II. Another negative change was the miners were kicked out of the Empire Mine 1-2 years before the Empire Mine closed. The last negative change that happened is that the once an Empire Mine mule went into the mine, they couldn’t see the sunlight for its whole entire life. Those are the postitive and negative changes that happened to Empire Mine.

-Ivey and Zach

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