Model A Folk Are Becoming Gold Mining Experts

Ah… September 11, Patriots Day – a day to reflect and to remember, so here are a couple of flag images from Placerville, CA:

The one on the left shows a flag one of our cars was flying, reflected in another car’s window.

The one on the right shows the Gold Bug Mine, which was the morning stop for the tour group. The tour included the mine, the stamp mill, the blacksmith shop, and – of course – the gift shop.

Images from the mine with some quotes from participants:

“Searching for gold with Docent Rob at the Gold Bug Mine. They don’t know how they got it’s name but I think it’s from someone getting the “bug” for gold.”⛏

“In we go…”

“We went about approximately 100 feet… had to wear hard hats.”

Of course, dynamite was an important part of this type of mining…  Below is a photo of “Judy with Docent Rob packing dynamite into a drilled hole.”  “Ready to yell out ‘fire in the hole’. “

“The dynamite has been set. You can see the fuse lines hanging out of the stone. The fuse lines are set for a specific length therefore a specific amount of time. Time to get out.”

Whew! Back safely above ground, the blacksmith was a big hit!

So, September 11th was Jay’s and my anniversary — first time in at least 51 years that we’ve been apart on that date.  Jay had told the group about our anniversary, and the blacksmith made a ring for him to give me.  I haven’t seen the ring yet, but I suspect it might be what someone described as a “prairie diamond” made by the blacksmith from a nail.

Next, a remarkable machine from the Stamping Mill:X_7056 small

Tim explains, “The stamping machines would crush the quartz (which contains the gold). The result is a sand-like mixture, which would be mixed with water and washed over copper plates coated with mercury. The gold ore would stick to the mercury. It was then scraped off and cooked in a forge to vaporize the mercury. What was left was processed through more steps to make the gold as pure as possible.”

And, finally, time for shopping.

Then, back to Old Town Placerville…

The shots above include some of our Model A Fords driving by the tower in Placerville, a restaurant, the historic Cary House Hotel, and a bathroom in The Bookery (a used book store), papered with book marks left in the books brought in to them!  

So, why is Placerville called “Hangtown”?  That was it’s original name as it was established on the banks of Hangtown Creek.  Of course, we’ve seen the apples “hanging” nearby and above is a photo of the historic spot “Hangman’s Tree”…  Your guess is a good as mine!

And, what are the guys below doing?6_0015 small

I’d say they’re either checking the GPS for their next destination — or they’re figuring out how to follow this blog!

And to finish of this very full day, former Model A tourists from Cape Cod (Bill & Pie Smith) surprised Jay in Placerville!

Thank you to all the Model A tourists who reminded Jay to send me flowers at home!  They’re beautiful.

Photo credits:  Bennett, Burbank, Hohman, Hulstrom, Krill, Matty, Murdoch, Shawl, Sisson, and Smith.

PS — Editor’s note:  When this tour began, I expected to receive 10 to 15 photos per day from just a couple of photographers.  Now, I’m getting as many as 80 photos per day from a dozen photographers!  It takes a village…



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