Meek Mine & Arrastra (Dale Mining District)

The Pinto Mountains, and the mining districts made up within are the home to over a hundred abandoned mines. For the most part many of the smaller operations have long been forgotten, their stories untold and lost to time. The Meek Mine, located a little over a mile to the east of the Gold Crown Mine perfectly fits this scenario.

Jack Meek owned and operated the gold producing Meek Mine, probably in the 1930’s and/or 1940’s. The mine only ever reaching a depth of 80 feet.

For all intensive purposes the Meek Mine itself is far from interesting, nothing more than a hole in the ground with a shabby fence surrounding it. But what is interesting is the large arrastra that sits below the mine.

 

Tailing from the Meek Mine.

Tailing from the Meek Mine.

 

The 80 feet deep, Meek Mine shaft.

The 80 feet deep, Meek Mine shaft.

 

An arrastra is an early form of mill, they were first introduced by the Spanish to the New World, in the 1500s. The earliest design consisted of a circular pit, that was lined by flat stone on the bottom and sides. A drag-stone, or sometimes several were dragged along the ore that was placed in the pit, crushing it. A mule, burro, or horse would usually drag the stone(s), in some late era arrastras an engine was used.

For Jack Meek and his small operation, an arrastra was probably the most economic option, allowing him the ability to mill his own ore without spending a large amount of capital on a large-scale ball or cyanide mill.

 

Full view of the Meek Mine arrastra.

Full view of the Meek Mine arrastra.

 

The smooth floor of the arrastra, ground down by the drag stone.

The smooth floor of the arrastra, ground down by the drag stone.

 

 

Secret Places in the Mojave Desert Vol. 7

 

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.