Clair Camp & The Ratcliff Mine

Ratcliff Mine - The mill at Ratcliff Mine / Clair Camp

 

Clair Camp is one of the more significant landmarks that still exists in Pleasant Canyon today. Numerous buildings still stand, and the adobe buildings are said to date back to the camps beginnings in 1897. The mill itself is extremely impressive, a good portion of which is still intact despite many years of neglect and vandalism.

The Ratcliff mine which is located 2,400 feet above the camp began production in 1896 under the ownership of Henry Ratcliff. In its first five years of production it is estimated that it produced over a half a million dollars worth of gold. Upwards of 200 men worked at the mine and lived at the camp below. The camp included a Blacksmith shop, an assaying office, and other unknown businesses.

By 1905, the Ratcliff mine stopped operation. In 1930, W.D. Clair would purchase the Ratcliff Mine. Clair worked the tailings that had been left twenty-five years previous, and was able to extract $60,000 in gold ore.

 

Ratcliff Mine - Furnaces at the Ratcliff Mine / Clair Camp Mill

Ratcliff Mine – Furnaces at the Ratcliff Mine / Clair Camp Mill

 

There are reports that in the 1960s and 70s that a caretaker lived on site. On one known occasion the caretaker robbed and murdered two men that had been up to the camp exploring. During his attempt to cover up the crime, another vehicle came up the canyon and caught him in the act. They turned around, head back down the canyon, and report the incident to authorities.

In May of 2012, CMC Metals Ltd. would announce the purchase of the Ratcliff and the nearby Worldbeater Mine, however at the time of this writing there is no new mining taking place at either mines.

 

Clair Camp - One of a number of buildings still standing.

Clair Camp – One of a number of buildings still standing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Leave a Comment