Keeler Talc Mine (aka: White Horse Mine) (Death Valley National Park)

Timbered vertical shaft at the Keeler Mine aka. White Horse Talc #1 claim.

 

Keeler Talc Mine aka. The White Horse Mine, is one of those obscure locations that nobody seems to really know anything about. Located only one mile south of the extensively mined Ubehebe Talc Mine, in the Cottonwood Mountain – the Ubehebe operation far overshadowed that of its neighbor, despite not having been discovered until two years after Keeler.

The cluster of claims known as White Horse Talc #1, White Horse #2, and White Horse Talc #3-#4 unpatented lode claims, were discovered in 1943 by Alexander “Shorty” Borden, Bev Hunter, Roy Hunter, and Hellen Kraft.

“Death Valley – Historic Resource Study – A History of Mining,” provides the only available details of the mine workings, “The most extensive development has occurred on the #1 Claim and consists of a timbered vertical shaft surmounted by a small headframe, a timbered inclined shaft, and two or three small adits, one of which intersects the inclined shaft.”  It goes on to say, “The 65-foot-deep vertical shaft on the property was dug in 1967 by Grantham Mines Company employees, who soon ceased work because of the unavailability of milling-grade ore.

A small headframe above the vertical shaft.

A small headframe above the vertical shaft.

 

The inclined shaft

The inclined shaft

 

This lack of detail, and overall obscurity leads me to believe that the Keeler Talc Mine, was more than likely bunk.

While I wouldn’t go out of my way to pay Keeler a visit, it is still worthy, if you find yourself already in the vicinity.

Located off of a short spur from Hidden Valley Road, there is very little trouble in finding the place. Depending on your vehicle’s clearance you may have to walk part of the way, the road has some deep ruts from washouts.

Approaching the mines, be very careful, they are unsealed vertical and inclined shafts – looking down these shafts reveals the timber and ladders still in place. A small wood headframe remains partially intact. There are also several historic artifacts to be found around the property.

A can of Hunt's peaches, found amongst the tailings. The can dates to the design of the 1950s.

A can of Hunt’s peaches, found amongst the tailings. The can dates to the design of the 1950s.

 

A few random artifacts - including a rise clamp, which would have been used to lower pipes into the mine shaft.

A few random artifacts – including a rise clamp, which would have been used to lower pipes into the mine shaft.

 

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.

  • LAEVE

    Love the Hunt’s Peach can!

  • pat

    The ladders look tempting, but not for me!
    It’s great to see artifacts lying still laying around.