This is a little bit of History I found on the internet about the Holcomb Valley area and the discovery of gold in the area, and that you might find interesting when going on the Gold Mt. outing and are exploring the area.
It all began when William F. Holcomb and his partner, Jack Martin, leftIndianaand made the difficult overland trip in search of their fortune in the booming mining camps ofNorthern California. Discouraged by years of hard luck, they gradually made their way southward. Arriving inLos Angeles, the partners heard of gold being mined at a place calledBearValleyin theSan Bernardino Mountains.
Riding into the valley through heavy snow in the winter of 1859, Holcomb and Martin joined the Coldwell party, who were placer mining at Starvation Flat. (This is the area around the intersection of Stanfield Cut-off andBig Bear Boulevard.) After more discouraging results, the partners were on the verge of returning toLos Angeleswhen a modest strike revived their hopes. They kept on working their claim, each making about five dollars a day.
Late in April,BillHolcomb was bear hunting on the north ridge when he saw the beautiful little valley that would forever carry his name. On May 5, 1860 - just ten years to the day since leaving hisIndianahome -Billand his friend, Ben Chouteau, began prospecting the new valley and found much gold. The Coldwell party then immediately moved into "Holcomb's Valley" and began to busily mine.
News of this important strike traveled swiftly, and by July the valley was swarming with people. Soon the little communities ofBelleville, Union Flat andClapboardTownhad been built, and Jed Van Duzen was paid $1500 to construct a wagon road down to the desert. It is estimated that between 1500 and 2000 people were inHolcombValleyduring the peak of the boom in the 1860's when the county seat was lost toSan Bernardinoby only two votes.
TheHolcombValleygold rush of 1860 brought hundreds of miners into the area the initial mining was for placer gold and was primarily done by small groups or individuals with claims along the stream beds.
Soon afterward quartz mining began, and major mines were the Mammoth, Olio, Pine Tree, Metzgar, and further west, the Greenlead. This hard rock mining required stamp mills to crush the rock, and several mills were built at different sites.
The largest placer operation was by the Valley Gold Company, Ltd., following 1890. They eventually brought in a huge railroad steam shovel that could dig 1000 yards of gravel a day and the long windrows still visible were made by this shovel.
The Gold Mountain Mine northwest ofBaldwinLakewas the most visible and best known in the area. It had two huge, 40-stamp mills at different times. The first was built in 1875 and the second in 1900. The massive foundation for the stamps of a later mill is very prominent today. The town ofDoblewas on a flat below the mine.
Other prominent mines are those inBlackhawkCanyonon the desert side, and many inLoneValleyand further east. There are the ruins of the Moronga Silver Mine, the Christy, Morongo King, and the very rich Rose Mine. At the crest of the mountain north of the Rose Mine are several tunnels of the Tip-Top Silver Mine.
Today no structures remain at any of these historic mines, and only caved in tunnels, collapsing shafts, and piles of colorful tailings are evidence that they once existed!