O.K. Mine (Dale Mining District)

 

The available history of the O.K. Mine is relatively sparse, I will share with you what little I have been able to dig up.

The O.K. Mine was discovered in 1890 by John Burt. Burt and his partner F.J. Botsford worked the mine until 1899. In 1899 the mine was sold to the Seal of Gold Mining Company.  The new ownership was able to sink larger dollars into the operation, and in turn was able to make the O.K. Mine one of the largest producing mines in the Dale Mining District. The production between the O.K. Mine and the nearby Supply Mine was so great that it prompted the entire town of Dale to pick up and move eight miles closer. They dubbed the new townsite New Dale.

The O.K. Mine had two 800 foot incline shafts, and featured a ten stamp mill.

One of the more interesting stories to come out of the O.K. Mine is about a mine worker named Charlie Thomas. Thomas was aware of the bi-weekly transportation between Dale and Amboy of roughly $18,000 in gold bullion. Thomas began plotting to perform a stick-up and make off with the bullion. He tried to enlist the help of some of his fellow miners, but none was interested.

 

O.K. Mine - A powder / dynamite storage room built into the mountain side. The brightly painted outside would have been to alarm people of this explosives storage area.

O.K. Mine – A powder / dynamite storage room built into the mountain side. The brightly painted outside would have been to alarm people of this explosives storage area.

 

On June 25, 1903, Thomas managed to collect three of the four guns that had been in town. The fourth gun belonged to Joe Wagner, a miner and town constable, his gun was kept under lock and key at the Dale Post Office. Wagner was out-of-town at the time, and when he returned he found roughly twenty men lined up along the outside of the post office, Thomas preparing to execute every one of them. Thomas ordered Wagner into line along with the other twenty men. The first opportunity Wagner had, he jumped through the post office door, knocking it down, and retrieved his gun. Wagner shot Thomas dead on the spot.  Thomas was buried in an unmarked grave.

Mining at the O.K. Mine has been on and off since its early days. The last larger scale operation that took place was in the 1980s. Total production is unknown.

There is a  treasure tale about the O.K. Mine. The story is that Miklos Kovacs,  a Hungarian prospect found a rich gold vein near the mines portal. Like most treasure tales, he was never able to relocate it.  Treasure hunters today are still trying to find Kovacs rich gold vein.

 

O.K. Mine - Late era mill and mine office. These buildings have been destroyed in recent years by vandals and metal scrap thieves.

O.K. Mine – Late era mill and mine office. These buildings have been destroyed in recent years by vandals and metal scrap thieves.

 

A majority of the ruins of the O.K. Mine are from the late era mining that took place in the 1980s. A large headframe, with a deep vertical shaft is located roughly a quarter of a mile west of the main tunnels. Above the tunnels is a late era mill site, just in the last couple of years it has managed to be destroyed by vandals and likely metal thieves. An explosives bunker that was built into the mountain is located on the outskirts of the mine. The bunker is painted red, and features two foot thick concrete around the door.

Overall the O.K. Mine is an A-O.K. site to visit. Despite the vandalism the mine has more to see than a lot of the sites in Dale Mining District. A lot of what is left isn’t very old, but it’s a good glimpse of what a medium scale operation looked like in the 1980s.

 

 

 

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