Image 1 of 2
The entry to the old Frazier Mountain gold mine is now blasted shut, but it was a producing gold mine from the 1870s to the 1980s.
Image 2 of 2
Warren Frazier, founder of the Frazier brothers’ gold mine
By Bonnie Kane, RRCM Historian
This year marks the 140th anniversary of the Frazier brothers’ first sighting of gold on the mountain that would soon be named after them. That discovery was made on our mountain in 1870.
Brothers Warren, William and Edgar Frazier came to California while working with the crews that brought the railroad across the country. They settled in Bakersfield and often came up into the mountains as “market hunters”—providing meat to a market in the valley.
One day, while tracking down a deer they had shot, they happened upon some gold nuggets. They returned to Bakersfield, put their supplies together for an extended camp-out, and returned to stake a claim to the area where they had seen the gold.
For Fiesta Days, the Ridge Route Communities Museum has a special exhibit about this and other exciting tales just a short stroll from Frazier Mountain Park at 3515 Park Drive. Here are more details of the gold mine story.
Warren Frazier was the brother who spent the most time developing the mine. He continued to cover expenses by hunting.
One of his first partners, Bob Maddux, wrote of Warren Frazier: “He took me not far from his camp to the croppings of a quartz vein and I broke some off and could see gold in it. He asked if I had experience in mining and if I had this, what would I do? I suggested he build an arrasta (ore crusher), which he knew nothing about, so I helped him build it. We could, with the help of one of the mules, grind about 300 pounds of rock a day, which ran about $100 [of gold] to the ton.”
Maddux also recorded that Warren Frazier had the bad habit of spending the gold on booze. Once, while on a binge, he was approached by some investors from San Francisco and he lost the mine.
The new company installed a ten-stamp mill to increase production. The mine was worked as late as the 1980s before being blasted shut.
Don’t miss the special display about the Frazier Mountain Gold Mine on exhibit at the Ridge Route Communities Museum through the end of this year. The museum files also have detailed information on this mine, and others in the area. The museum is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 12 noon–4 p.m.
We’ll also have a booth at Fiesta Days. Pick up a newsletter to learn about becoming a member, and see www.rrchs.org.
Upcoming Museum Events
- September 18:
The opening celebration of the new Chumash Indian exhibits, indoors and outdoors.
- September 25:
The museum tour of the San Andreas Fault from the “Y” to Quail Lake. Call 661-245-7747 for more information on these events.
This is part of the August 06, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
Have an opinion on this matter? We'd like to hear from you.