Tag Archives: Golden Treasure Mine
The Ashford Mill ruins are located in Death Valley National Park, 27 miles southwest from Badwater Basin off of Badwater Road. Or from Shoshone take Route 178 for 25 miles, turn right onto Badwater Road, and follow it for 2 miles.
The Ashford brother (Henry, Harold, and Louis) discovered gold in the area in 1907 on land that was owned by the Key Gold Mining Company. The brothers filed a claim for their find, but Key Gold Mining Company refused their claim. The brothers argued that KGMC hadn’t done the required annual assessment work in order to keep the claim. Three years later the brothers won their right to the claim, and began mining the Golden Treasure Mine.
In 1914 the Ashford Brothers leased the mine out to a Hungarian Nobleman by the name of Count Kramer, who in turn leased the mine to Benjamin W. McCausland, a Los Angeles oil man.
In 1915, McCausland would begin developing the mine, and build the Ashford Mill (the sign at the ruins state 1914, however numerous sources state that the mill wasn’t build until 1915). When the supplies arrived to build the mill, McCausland would realize that he was shipped twice the amount of cement than he had ordered. The company that he had ordered the cement from told him to keep the extra, as the cost of returning it would have been to high. McCausland used the extra cement and built the mill walls extra thick.
September of that same year McCausland would abandon the mine and mill after finding that much of the high grade ore had already been removed from the mine. McCausland would default on his payments, and a lawsuit would soon follow which would award the property back to the Ashford Brothers along with all equipment that was left at the sites.
Over the next 25 years the Ashfords would lease the mine to several individuals and companies. Each time pretty much having the same results. 1941 would be the last year of any activity at the mine or mill. The Ashfords never made a profit.
Today nothing but a few walls, and the ruins of a loading bin remain at the mill site. At the time of my visit I wasn’t aware that the camp was accessible via a dirt road located near the mill site, or else I would have made the trip to see it. Apparently a number of buildings remain at the camp, many in tact with the original household appliances, beds, etc.. If you’re planning to visit the Mill site you might want to check that out as the ruins of the mill are not all that fascinating (especially to anyone that has had the opportunity to visit other much more preserved Mill sites). The road to the camp is a five mile trek via a 4 wheel drive recommended dirt road.