Golden Bee Mine

Most people who visit the Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree don't know that there is an old mine with an interesting bit of history just a few miles away gazing down on them.

There are a few minor prospects scattered along this side of the Hexie Mountains, but two gold veins were discovered here that probably led to the Golden Bee; the Dickey Boy (or Dicky) and the Mabel. But who discovered them and when is lost to time.

By 1934, Eloge "Frenchy" Auclair and Daniel Leahy began developing the mine that would become the Golden Bee. Within the next few years, they followed the veins into the mountain with a 180-foot incline shaft, adits, crosscuts, drifts, and stopes across three different levels.

Frenchy Mine(?) Nov 30 1937

A small camp of five buildings and a headframe sprang up around the mine portal. Mine equipment consisted of a twelve-horsepower gas-driven hoist, an Ingersoll-Rand compressor, and a few air drills. The mine never had its own mill. Instead, ore was hauled over to the Wall Street Mill for processing. By 1941 and the start of WWII, the mine fell idle. Total production was about $40,000. The building at the end of the mine dump was a garage/workshop. It had the best view.

The Golden Bee Mine in 1941. Photo Courtesy of the NPS.
Garage with a view

At some point while mining, honeybees built a hive in a water tank at the mine. They became so bothersome and aggressive that they almost forced Leahy and Auclair off the mine. The problem was so significant that the miners decided to poison the water with cyanide! That certainly did the trick and killed off all of the bees. I’m assuming they drained off the water and cleaned the tank before they re-used it. After that, the mine became known as the Golden Bee.

Apparently, a good place for bees

My photos are from 2013.