Mazuma

At the mouth of Seven Troughs Canyon, the townsite of Mazuma was located by S.B. and Starr Hill in 1906. By the time it was just six weeks old, Mazuma boasted a mercantile house, three restaurants, a lodging house, five saloons and two assay offices (although most of these structures were only temporary). A hotel with a capacity of eighty, as well as a broker's office and real estate office were under construction. By mid 1907, the Bank of Mazuma had been organized by Senator George Nixon and Major Richard Kirman. A post office was also established on August 28, 1907, which would last until November 30, 1912 when mail was shipped to Seven Troughs.

By 1908, Mazuma was the most thriving community in the Seven Troughs District. One of the reasons was an excellent water supply which most towns of the day lacked. The pipeline, completed in January 1908 by the Mazuma Light and Water Co. was fed by four springs known as Toby Springs, located near the head of Burnt Canyon. From here it was pumped through a concrete reservoir, down Burnt Canyon and over Wild Horse Canyon to a large tank above Seven Troughs Canyon and Mazuma.

Between 1907 and 1909, three mills began operation in Mazuma. Closest to the mouth of the canyon was the ten-stamp Darby Mill, erected in December 1908 by Samuel Harris and C. S. Floyd. It had a capacity of 30 tons of ore per day. By 1909, the Darby was also crushing ore from shafts in Seven Troughs, a few miles up the canyon. Sometime later, another ten stamps were added. The Darby ceased operation in 1913.

The next mill continuing up the canyon was the Mazuma Hills Mill, which began operation in June of 1908. When it was constructed, it had only five stamps, with a crushing capacity of 20 tons per day, although later it was expanded to ten stamps. On July 31, 1912, the mill burned down. Efforts to save the mill were hindered by the 1912 Flood, which had damaged the water system less than two weeks before.

The third mill up the canyon was the Preston Mill, constructed by Fred Preston in 1908, and beginning operation in 1909. It was a Huntington mill capable of handling 10 tons of ore per day. It ceased normal operation in 1916, however it did operate again from 1931 until 1940.

Perhaps Mazuma's greatest claim to fame was its greatest disaster. On July 18, 1912, at about 5:00 pm, a cloudburst hit the steep face of Granite Peak, at the head of Seven Troughs Canyon. Ellsworth Bennet, of the Coalition Mining Co. in Seven Troughs, had witnissed the cloudburst and attempted to warn Mazuma by telephoning the clerk at Preston's store in Seven Troughs, who switched him to Mazuma. The only word heard by the Mazuma operator was "water," and by the time he interpreted the message, it was too late. Up in Seven Troughs, the flood waters had reached the Coalition cyanide plant, and town away the tanks, spilling the deadly chemical into the flood waters, before smashing the buildings and equipment. When the water finally reached Mazuma, it was reported to have reached a height of twenty feet! Sweeping through the town, it wisked away homes and businesses, as well as several residents, including the Keheo family (consisting of four children and their mother). Mrs. Keheo later recalls being dug out of the mud in an alluvial fan beneath the canyon. The only buildings that survived the flood were the stores of Fred Preston and Kremer and Baker, as well as the hulking Mazuma Hills Mill.

The losses in property to the flood was estimated at almost $200,000. The losses in life was eight: three Keheo children, Perry Gillespie, Edna Ruddell, Mike Whalen, Mrs. Trenchard, and Margaret O'Hanlon. Today there is a small cemetery commemorating those who lost their lives on July 18, 1912 to the devastating flood that all but destroyed the townsite of Mazuma. The cemetery is located slightly more than a mile from Mazuma, near Tunnel Camp.

I Visited Mazuma
10.26.2007 & 7.5.2008

See Also
Seven TroughsVernonTunnel Camp

Bibliography