Saturday, October 17, 2015

Scratch All Mine


One of the stops on our "Silver and Sapphire" field trip in June was the Scratch All mine. This is a Steve Neal pic of some of our group in the mine yard... in front, from left, Brian Antonioli, John Koerth, Dave Harris, Bill Olson, and Mike Miller... and behind, Joan Gabelman, John Gabelman and Larry Hoffman. Dave was one of the last miners to work in the Scratch All.

Below is a Steve Neal pic of the mine as it appeared when it was operating in the 1950s.

"Scratch All" is an apparent misspelling of the term for the tool "Scratch Awl", as it appeared on the original survey. Both names are used in historical accounts of the mine. 

The mine develops several veins, including the Cliff, Scratch All Hanging Wall, and Scratch All Foot Wall. The main shaft interconnects with the Cliff, Salmon, Blackmail, and Sharktown workings. The Cliff vein - originally discovered by Hector Horton in 1866 - is the most important. The Cliff was developed by the Hope Mining Company west of the Scratch All proper, through a series of shafts and tunnels on the Cliff No. 2 claim. 

The Scratch All itself was first developed by Murray and Durfee in the 1870s. They developed the mine by driving the Sharktown Tunnel, the portal of which is located several hundred feet below the vein outcrops. The silver ore was processed in the Northwest Company mill located not far from the portal. The Algonquin Company suspected that the ore in the Sharktown was being mined from the Salmon vein, which they owned, and sent a crew of miners, led by their formidable foreman, Harvey Showers, to seize the portal. The confrontation quickly adjourned to a courtroom, where the Algonquin Co.'s suspicions were vindicated and damages assessed. 

During the 20th century, the mine was operated by the Silver Prince Co. (especially during the 1920s) and through the 1960s by Contact Mining Co. and their lessees.  

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