Sierra Nevada

Owens Valley Three Stamp Mill

In 2013, I stopped by a forgotten and overlooked three stamp mill in the backcountry of Owens Valley. Seems like even the locals don’t know it exists.

Besides being off the beaten path, the stamp mill is unusual in that it had only three stamps instead of the typical five. Perhaps each stamp was added one at a time as funds became available for this small operation? The mine the mill served was never very big and reportedly was last active in the 1920s.

Another unique feature is the mortar design for the stamp mill. The mortar is the casing where the stamp comes down, pounding the ore to separate the gold from the waste. This one has side outlets to allow the discharge of the gold-bearing sands in any direction. It is quite unusual, and I don’t think I have seen this design before.

Two of the three stamps on the old mill have disappeared over the years along with the rest of the equipment. Still, I had a fun time exploring around this old site to see what I could find.

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About Guy Starbuck

Exploring the American West.
  • Nevada
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