2013 Nevada-Mojave Trip


Part Two: Log Cabins and Amazing Mines!

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Click on any of the photos or links in the article to see more photos of each site...

Mono Dome Cabin, CA

On the first night of my 2013 trip, I arrived in the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains well past midnight. I was interested in a place called the Log Cabin Mine, but camping is not permitted at the mine. So I would camp somewhere in the area and check out the mine in the morning.

I explored some of the trails in the area looking for a nice clearing, and to my surprise I ended up at an ancient log cabin that wasn’t on any of my maps. I don’t know the name of the cabin or its history, but it’s in the vicinity of Mono Dome peak so I’m calling it the Mono Dome Cabin.

In the morning I spent some time photographing the cabin and then headed over to the Log Cabin Mine.

Left: The first thing I came to on the way to the mine is this corrugated metal, garage-like structure, a short distance from the gate.

Below: A sign next to the gate that blocks the road to the mine. Entry on foot is permitted.

Log Cabin Mine, CA

I’d been told that this site was a “must see”, and it certainly lived up to the hype!  The chief feature is a sprawling mine/mill complex, with a huge wooden headframe; towering steel bins; a large, complicated building of corrugated metal; enclosed conveyors; and trestles.

The hoist house was of special interest, containing virtually all of the original equipment, looking much the way it did when last used decades ago. Even the hoist operator’s chair is still in place.

There is also a large bunkhouse, a shower building, and mine office. All three are connected with passageways so that one can move from building to building without going outdoors in adverse weather.

Nearby is another large building that appears to be the cookhouse and mess hall. Behind that is a log cabin, from which the mine gets its name.

Besides all this, there are several minor buildings, and antique mining and milling equipment scattered throughout the site.

The Log Cabin Mine was active from the 1910 (possibly earlier) until World War II. For a while it was the largest producer of gold in California. An attempt was made to reopen the mine during the 1950s, but this was not successful.

In 1971 the mine was turned over to the government for preservation as a historical site.

Below: The hoist house.

Right: The hoist and controls. Other equipment in the hoist house includes a large two-cylinder air compressor.

Below: One of the many pieces of antique machinery at the site.

Left: The bunkhouse. Below it, in the background, is the mine office. The shower building is in between these structures.

Right: The log cabin at the mine.

Right: The door of a shack, one of several small structures at the mine.

Below: Close up of another piece of old milling machinery.

Right: Anti-avalanche device. A series of these were mounted all along the edge of a steep slope above Lee Vining, CA. I think they are gas cannons that knock loose the snow and ice before it builds up to dangerous levels.

Bridgeport, CA

My next stop was the town of Bridgeport. It’s not a ghost town but it has several interesting and historic old buildings.

Success Mine, CA

Nothing is left of this mine north of Bridgeport, except a few timbers and some very colorful tailings..

Chemung Mine, CA

This mine was started in 1909 and was worked until 1938. It was the last operating mine in the Masonic mining district. In the 1950s and 1960s a lone prospector worked the mine, just getting out enough good ore to get by. His presence at the site probably helped prevent it from being destroyed sooner.

Sadly, the buildings here have been heavily damaged by shooters. Everything is riddled with bullet holes. In fact when I arrived some guys were getting set up to use the mill for target practice. At least they were courteous enough to hold off a while so I could photograph the site.

Above: The large mill.

Right: The smaller mill, with its unusual barn-like roof.

Left: Interior of one section of the large mill.

Below: A boiler in the lower end of the large mill.

When I was ready to leave the Chemung Mine, the mystery engine trouble struck again. The engine would turn over but no spark. After about 20 minutes it was suddenly ok again. This would happen at least one more time during the trip.

I continued on to the nearby ghost town of Masonic, CA.  Go to page 3 to read more about my 2013 Nevada trip:

Nevada Trip 2013 Part Three

Masonic, Ninemile Ranch, and more!

Skip to:   Part One   Part Two   Part Three   Part Four   Part Five   Part Six


Note to modelers:

Many of the structures I’ve photographed would make great subjects for dioramas, or for your model railroad. It is my hope that these photos can be a useful reference resource. If you need larger, higher resolution images, just let me know. Also, in some cases I have additional detail photos that have not been posted online.

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