The Empire Mine
Sierra Nevada Mountains
Grass Valley, California
The Empire Mine is protected and maintained by California State Parks since 1975.
It is regarded as one of the oldest, largest, deepest, longest, and richest gold mines of California. From its ultimate size consisting of 367 miles of underground passages, 5.8 million ounces of gold was extracted between 1850 and 1956 when it closed. The original owner who discovered gold at the location was George McKnight. Successive owners operated the mine until the surface property was purchased by California State Parks in 1974. Over the years, the Bourn family were the most prominent owners.
During January, 2016 Tom and Carol of SCOPE NJ had the opportunity to visit the mine when few tourists were in attendance. Below are some photos and EVPs they collected during their visit. While listening to the EVPs below, one must remember that this was the "old west" and some of the miners had short tempers, loose morals, and little patience. Life was very hard, and just to survive day to day took a lot of luck and great effort.
During its many years of operation, the mine operated 24/7. The photo above shows miners arriving for their shift.
Mules were essential for pulling the ore cars.
"I'll kill you!"
(We never expected to
capture this EVP!)
A main shaft in the Emperor mine. Tom thought he was alone when he captured the sound of mules, hammers, and even some voices chanting a work song.
Hammers and Voices
A Mansion in Ruins
The visitor center and old workshops.
Many of the trees go back to when the mine first opened.
The building on the top left of this picture housed the mine's main entrance.
"I know you!"
A workshop in the building next to the mine entrance where we recorded this EVP.
Pelton Wheel: An Improved Water Wheel
Patented in 1880 by Lester Pelton, it provided the main power for the mine from 1886 to 1891.
Entrance to another shaft on the mine property.
A large container used in refining the gold.
Photos by Tom Petuskey except for Bourn Cottage and
B & W Antique Photos courtesy of
California State Parks
Building that housed the mine entrance.
Bourn Cottage--built from stone found on the property.
Want to learn more about the Empire Mine?
Click on the miner below!
Some of the equipment that was used to process the gold.
"A clean place is a safe place!"
(We really don't know where this comment came from. We don't remember encountering any other tourists while we were at the mine.
However, its quality makes us doubt that it's an EVP!