Black Eagle Mine

Black Eagle Mine - The site of the mill, and a large pile of tailings.

Black Eagle Mine – The site of the mill, and a large pile of tailings.

 

The Eagle Mountains in Riverside County have long been know for its mining heritage, thanks to the behemoth of an iron mine operated by Kaiser Steel Corporation.  Long before Kaiser Steel started blasting away at the mountain tops, mining was well on it’s way in the district. In 1865, the first iron was discovered in the range, but it wasn’t until 1892, with the Coyote Mine that any progress began to be made. Around this same time, the Iron Chief Mine went into production, it would later go on to become one of Kaiser’s properties in 1944.

The Black Eagle Mine went into production in 1923. Between 1923 – 1928, the Black Eagle produced about 1,050 of ore (with a value of $30,000 at the time), the ore was made up of 23% lead, 6% copper, 16 ounces of silver and 15 Ounces of gold per ton. The mine employed six men at the time, they lived at a small camp that was built for the workers. The camp consisted of three tents with wooden floorboards. There was no natural water source in the immediate vicinity, so water was brought in from Cottonwood Springs, some fifteen miles away.

 

Black Eagle Mine - Large tailing piles at the site of the removed mill.

Black Eagle Mine – Large tailing piles at the site of the removed mill.

 

A mill was constructed sometime in the late 1920s, but for reasons unknown the mill didn’t work out as planned. This caused mining to come to a halt. It wasn’t until 1935 that the Black Eagle became active again. Between 1935 – 1940, it is estimated that the mine produced $200,000 worth of ore, and employed twenty men.  In 1939, the operation was expanded to include a 100 ton concentration and flotation plant. In six short months the concentration plant produced an additional $53,706 in concentrated materials.

In December of 1940, the Black Eagle would go into hiatus yet again. All mining equipment, and the mill were removed from the site.

The Black Eagle had one last resurgence in 1951, W. E. Covey of Indio leased the mine. Covey mined 800 tons of ore, and called it a day. The Black Eagle has been silent since.

Despite no machinery or building structures remaining at the site, it is still impressive. The hill that the mill once stood still contains stone walls, an ore bin, and massive tailing piles. A walk around the site will turn up plenty of rusty gold in the form of cans, bolts, and other assortments from a bygone era.

 

Black Eagle Mine - A stone with a series of numbers and letters carved into it.

Black Eagle Mine – A stone with a series of numbers and letters carved into it.

 

 

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.

  • Bill Walkup

    Nice writeup on this as always, Jim.

  • Robert Marcos

    Thanks Jim for your excellent photos and good writing. I appreciate learning the history behind these remote mines. Amazing that it was the Spanish who were led by the local indians, to many of the gold mines here in the southwest.