The number of mines in the western portion of the United State is overwhelming; because of this, the documentation of many of these mines is sparse or non-existent. The Dale Mining District, located 15 miles east of Twentynine Palms has a number of very well documented mines, but for every one that is well documented, there are four that little information can be found for. The Gypsy Mine, falls into the latter; what I have found I will share.
The earliest details come from an August 3rd, 1895 article in the San Francisco Call newspaper.
STRIKE IN GYPSY MINE – An Immense Vein of Paying Gold Ore Has Been Discovered. Drifts Thought to Yield Several Hundred Dollars to the Ton.
SANTA MONICA, Cal, Aug. 2.— A citizen of this city is in possession of a letter from a mining friend who has been on the desert about Mojave prospecting for some time past, but who is now in the Virginia Dale district, about 100 miles southeast of San Bernardino, which gives a very glowing account of a recent gold strike in the Gypsy mine.
The small streak of ore, which had been followed from near the surface, was continued to a depth of sixty feet, when the ore body suddenly changed to about eight inches in thickness and of a rich, free-milling iron quartz. At this depth the ore – body also grew in volume both northeast and southwest, and men were placed at work in both directions, and at the date of the writing of the letter drifts 25 feet both ways had been run, and the vein continued to grow in size and richness.
No assays had been made of the ore up to that time, but it is believed to be worth several hundred dollars to the ton.
The recipient of the letter says there is a large ore belt running through that portion of San Bernardino County which has never been very thoroughly prospected or developed for want of means and water, and that a number of prospectors have lost their lives in looking for it.
On August 20th, the Egypt Mine again received mention in the San Francisco Call:
Rich Strikes in the San Bernardino County Mines. GOLD ORE IN ABUNDANCE Specimens From One Ledge Yield $15,000 to the Ton. MANY NEW CLAIMS OPENED.
In the Virginia Dale district the two principal mines are the White Star and Ivanhoe, both containing large bodies of ore yielding from $15 to $30 to the ton. The French company in the Virginia Dale district has forty or fifty very rich claims, all showing rich classes of ore. In the immediate vicinity is the mine Gypsy, bearing a very high grade of ore. The formation in which the gold is found is mostly granite. These mines are located about 120 miles from San Bernardino to the east.
It isn’t until May 25th, 1896 that any additional mention of the Gypsy Mine is made in the press.
From the May 25th, 1896 edition of the Los Angeles Herald:
Few days pass by now, says the San Bernardino Times-Index, without a report of some new strike in the mines on the desert, but one which came in last week is backed up by evidence in the shape of a gold brick, estimated to be worth $251, being the result of a milling test of two tons of ore from the Star mine in the Virginia Dale district. The Star adjoins the Gypsy, the latter owned by Messrs. Ingersoll, Essler and Lyon. It Is owned by Stewart and Be Berry of Colton, and the ore was worked at the one-stamp mill at the Gypsy mine. The ore would seem, therefore, to be worth $125 per ton, and that it would pay expenses of development from the first.
Four adits were found in the vicinity during my site visit. I found the short adit in the wash to be the most interesting. Stone walls had been built up on both side of the entrance (see top image). It is possible that this tunnel was an explosives bunker, rather than an adit. The other three adits are vertical shafts, the longest being estimated at 75 feet deep.
In terms of mining equipment, there is nothing left behind on the surface. Because I don’t do vertical shaft exploration, I can not confirm nor deny the presence of anything below group. There are several can dumps in the vicinity, but nothing out of the ordinary.