Monday, November 12, 2018

Exploring the Chemung Mine and Mill

Abandoned but not forgotten, and maybe even haunted!  

My first impression when I drove up to the Chemung Mill and Mine, was I at the right place or was this a huge barn?  There were no markers or information posts.  Checking the GPS and it did indicate that I had arrived at Chemung.  
Chemung Mine and Mill, California

The Chemung Mine was established around 1909 by Steve Kavanaugh when he was hired to dig for a gold vein.  It was named after his hometown in Illinois. 
South entrance to Chemung Mine and Mill

Weathered structures of buildings with interesting shapes stood tall against the rugged terrain.  
Buildings with interesting shapes at Chemung Mine and Mill

Following a trail back toward the south entrance, a panoramic view of most of the buildings came into sight.  
Walking a path to the front of Chemung Mine

The Chemung Mine was torn down and rebuilt 3 times.  
Buildings weathering the elements at Chemung Mine

Today, most of the buildings are the state of ill repair, due either to the harsh desert elements or acts of vandalism. 
Buildings at Chemung Mine in various shapes of disrepair

A large drum next to the road was showing the weathering from a harsh life in the high desert.  
Large drum and tin clad shack, Chemung Mine

My caution of the dangers in abandoned buildings was overcome by my curiosity to see what lies within. An electrical wire still dangles from the side of a structure; I’ve got to get a closer view. 
Front view Chemung Mine and Mill

At the opening and overhead, I see massive beams supporting huge metal wheels.  To the right is a cement tank and a white powdery substance covers most of the floor.  
Inside view of Chemung Mill

Hoping there are no earthquakes in the area, I continue walking further inside.
Exploring inside the Chemung Mill, Bonnie Rannald Photography

I have since learned that the white powder could be a form of lime used for altering pH during gold extraction.  However, I did keep a safe distance since I know that cyanide was also used in the mining of gold. 

The afternoon breeze caused the  tin siding on an adjacent building to rattle; I was getting an eerie feeling.  Time to get back in the open!   
Looking inside the Chemung Mill

The Chemung Mine had at one time been a good producer of gold, however, the operation was constantly plagued by legal issues.  
Overhead Drums and Pulleys, Chemung Mine

As I stood at the back entrance to the mill with an open mine shaft to the right, I was thinking of going inside for a closer look.  However, for some reason, I turned and walked back down the rocky trail.  Now I wonder if the mine is haunted and did my instinct keep me from danger?  There is a rumor that Kavanaugh, the mine’s founder was thrown into a mine shaft for cheating his employees.  
Photographer Bonnie Rannald at Chemung Mine

The day was growing long and it was time to make my departure.  I do hope to return again for more photo-exploring and maybe get a winter view of the Chemung Mine and Mill. 
North View, Chemung Mine and Mill

What an exciting and interesting photo-adventure this day has been.  I love it when I am drawn to an area and not knowing what to expect I get treated to new experiences. 

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