Eldorado Mining District

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Background on Eldorado Mining District: Originally called the Colorado Mining District, it was later referred to as the Eldorado Canyon and Nelson District. The first real discovery in the area was at the Honest Miner, a small deposit about two miles west of Nelson. For a few years, the miners were able to keep their gold find a relative secret due to the remoteness of the area. However, this all changed in 1858 when the first steamboats began to make their way up the Colorado River from Yuma, Arizona. Before long, word spread and miners began to flood the area. The early history of the district saw construction of a mill at Nelson’s Landing where steamboats provided access for supplies and communication with the world. In the early 1900s Nelson’s Landing was one of the largest ports on the Colorado River and became even more important during prohibition in the 1920’s as bootleggers ran their white lightning into Arizona. 
At the time of the Eldorado mining District's organization this area was in New Mexico territory, later to become part of Arizona territory and eventually part of Nevada. It has been estimated that production of the district prior to 1897 may have been over 100,000 ounces, most of which came from the Techatticup Mine, just a few miles south of Nelson, where ore grades were several ounces of gold per ton. At today's prices that would equate to nearly $5,000,000 dollars. The principal mine producers have been the Techatticup, Duncan, Wall Street, Rand and Carnation mines. Other smaller producers included the Magnolia, Poppy, Jubilee and Crown mines. Vanderburg reported that production from El Dorado from 1907 to 1935 was $1.6 million, nearly all from lode gold and silver mines. Bullion shipments from El Dorado were not well recorded. As might be expected, shipments were not made by the normal express company system that was typical of the Mother Lode and Comstock regions. They were made privately, hence a distinct lack of reporting. At least two early shipments were recorded. In June, 1864, it was reported that 101 pounds of bullion went to Los Angeles, and in December, 1865, it was reported that $20,000 in bullion had arrived in San Francisco creating quite a stir. At today’s prices that one shipment would have been more than $270,000. In recent years there has been steady production from the Mocking Bird mine and significant "heap leach" production from the Wall Street mine from 1974-1984 by Consolidated Eldorado Mining Company and Intermountain Exploration Company. 

Eldorado Canyon is located 39 miles southeast of Las Vegas.  According to local lore, the Spanish explorers from Mexico and their Indian guides discovered gold in Eldorado Canyon as early as 1775.  It was not until the news of a discovery of gold by Johnny Moss, a trapper who discovered ore in the Opal Mountains during the spring of 1861, that a rush of prospectors from California were attracted to Eldorado Canyon. Within a year, the Southwest Mining Company and El Dorado Mining Company had established working mines in the valley.  The Techatticup Mine, which was the principal mine of Eldorado Canyon, opened in 1863.  By this time four different townsites had been laid out, but the canyon was isolated, supplies difficult to bring in, and the camps had reputations for violence and lawlessness. In 1865 a post office was established, and in 1867 an Army Military Post was established to protect the steamboat traffic from hostile Indians. The Techatticup Mine was the most productive in the district, and by 1883 the company constructed its own fifteen-stamp mill to avoid the expense of freighting the ore for processing.  With the coming of the railroad in 1905, mining revived in the district, and a fifty-ton smelter was developed seven miles west of Eldorado Canyon.  A new townsite was laid out closer to the smelter and mines, and the older settlement moved to the new town of Nelson where a new cyanide mill was constructed to process the gold.  Over half of the total production for the area was mined from the Techatticup mine.