The Gold Park Mining District, was part of the earliest inception of Joshua Tree National Park, but was removed and placed back into the hands of the BLM after an uproar from locals that still mined recreationally in the historic district.
Mining began in the Gold Park District in the late 1890’s, but it wasn’t until J.E. Schweng, and his associates formed the Gold Park Consolidated Mining Company in 1905, that any major developments took place.
By 1921 Gold Park Consolidated held 52 claims in the district, while only a handful had been developed.
A 1921 Report by the State Mineralogist for the California State Mining Bureau reported the following:
Gold Park Group No. 2
Elevation 2300 feet. This group consists of ten claims. The ore occurs in lenses of quartz at intervals along fractures in a coarse-grained granite. The general trend of these veins is N. 10° W. Near the surface the dip is steeply to the east, with depth changing slightly westward. The veins are usually narrow, about 8″ to 18″ of quartz, but occasionally widening to 6 feet. The gold is free milling and very finely disseminated. Seldom visible to the naked eye. Copper stains occasionally occur in the quartz, but these disappear usually below 20 foot depth. The workings on this group are mostly superficial, consisting of shallow shafts and trenches. The pay shoots are short, consisting of a maximum length of 60 feet. Said to average $8 to $10 per ton in gold. Developments consist of tunnel 100 feet long, and a number of shafts from 30 to 50 feet deep. Mill, 2 Nissen stamps and Bryan roller mill at Twentynine Palms. At mine there is one stamp test mill driven by 5-h.p. gas engine.
A shaft has been sunk to a vertical depth of 122 feet on the vein, and a few feet north of intersection of the main vein striking due N. and S. and a branch striking about S. 10° W. These veins are in the granite. On the 65-foot level the vein was drifted on to the south connecting with a 100-foot shaft. The vein on this level shows a width of 1£ to 2 feet, and was stopped to the surface. At the bottom of shaft a drift was run due north 200 feet, but no pay shoot encountered. There are at least 1000 feet of crosscuts and drifts on this level. The vein formation is about 4′ wide, showing 8″ of quartz, the remainder consisting of shattered granite and stringers of quartz. Equipment, 7- h.p. gas engine hoist.
On this claim a narrow vein of quartz occurs in the granite, striking N. 10° E. and dipping almost vertical. The workings consist of shaft and three tunnels of different elevations. The shaft is located near foot of hill and to the south of the tunnels, and was sunk to depth of 100 ft. on a narrow vein. About 100 ft. above the collar of this shaft is the lower tunnel. This was driven N. 10° E. for about 250 ft., about 150 feet from portal raise to upper tunnel and surface. Beyond this raise the tunnel is caved, so was not accessible. Practically no ore is exposed in lower tunnel. Fifty feet above tunnel is the Intermediate tunnel, driven on seem in granite, which opens into a narrow lens of quartz. The shoots of ore developed in these workings were short, but repotted to carry high values in gold.
Workings on this claim consist of two shafts, sunk on vein to depth of 50 and 100 feet. Vein varies from 24. to 4 feet. The ore extracted from these workings was treated in one stamp mill and reported to have yielded $12 per ton on the plates. The quartz lies between rhyolite and granite footwall.
Black Warrior Mine
This is the most southern mine of the group, lying about 3£ miles south of camp. The mineralization occurs along a shear zone in altered granite. The hanging is a gneiss with a well denned talc wall. General trend of the ore body is N. 10° W. with a dip to the west. Workings consist of a 200-foot shaft sunk on the vein in the center of claim. The quartz in the vein matter is highly oxidized and contains considerable iron and lime. Its black appearance, due to iron and manganese stains, gives it its name. The vein is different from the others of the district, containing considerable pyrite and some arsenopyrite. The dump is said to contain 2200 tons of ore which will assay $14 per ton. The shaft is vertical to 70-foot level, from this point sunk on an incline of 65 degrees east. On 70-foot level a drift run 100 feet N. 45° W., exposing an ore body 60 feet in width. Mineralized zone made up of quartz and brecciated wall rock. On 150′ level a crosscut was run for 60 feet west, and is said to be entirely in ore. Equipment, 12-h.p. gas engine hoist ; 8″ x 8″ compressor. Two men employed on development work.
Oro Oopio Mine
On this claim the mineralization follows a shear zone, and the granite has been altered to a gneiss. A shaft sunk on vein to depth of 50 feet. Vein strikes N. 10° E. About 150 feet south of this shaft another shaft has been sunk on narrow quartz vein to depth of 100 feet. Vein 2 feet wide, stated average $8 per ton.
Gold Park Consolidated, was the largest holding on the district, they were not the only party to have an interest in the district. Charles Wilson (aka Johnny “Quartz” Wilson, aka “Chuckwalla” Wilson) and Bill McHaney both prospected in the district. McHaney, lived in the Gold Park District for a better part of 30 years, while he searched for the “lost lode”. Even Bill Keys, the most well-known and respected miner in the Joshua Tree area owned a mine in the district, the Goat Mine.
During Gold Park’s heyday, the district was the home of the Gold Park Hotel, the hotel was moved to its current day location at the 29 Palms Inn in Twentynine Palms in the late 1920s.
Today little remains of the Gold Park Mining District. The structures from the mines and communities are long gone. However, evidence of its mining past is still evident in the form of tailings, old rusted and shot up vehicles, foundations, and historic garbage dumps filled with rusty cans and broken bottles.
Many of the mines are still open for exploration, and recreational mining continues to take place. For how long, it is unknown. There has been much consideration to reinstate the district into the National Park, if this does happen the mines will quickly be sealed and recreational mining will be become illegal.