Black Forest

The Black Forest mine was located in 1869, shortly after the first discoveries at Spruce Mountain. Evidently, there wasn't much production through the remainder of the century. In 1901, however, Charles Spence organized the Black Forest Mining and Smelting Company, reopened the mine, and started a smelter in nearby Jasper. That smelter closed in July 1904 after producing only 700 silver bars, but was revamped and enlarged to thirty tons by October. In 1906, it was again enlarged, this time to forty-five tons. During this time, the Black Forest Co. was the most profitable in Elko County, producing almost all of its silver and lead. Soon the Company was absorbed by the Spruce Mountain Copper Co., with Spence as manager, and operated until the Financial Panic of 1907 forced its closure the next year; the Copper Co. ultimately folded in 1914.

In 1916, Spence returned to Black Forest. He built a fifty-ton furnace some four miles east and incorporated the Black Forest Mining Company, but for the first few years work was slow. Though Spence died in May 1920, work on the mine continued and began to increase. A camp developed, and in 1926 work was completed on the 7000 foot Bronco Tunnel, which connected the Black Forest to the Monarch Mine. In May 1927 a 6800-foot tramway was finished to connect Black Forest to the Killie mine and a truck loading station lower in the canyon. The following year, both the Monarch and the Black Forest were purchased by the Missouri Monarch Mining Company, and that company built large bunkhouses and a school at the Black Forest camp.

After 1937, the Missouri Monarch Co. was the only company still operating in the Spruce Mountain district, and even after the Black Forest post office closed in 1943, still employed thirty men. Work continued through the mid-1940s, and that Company joined others to form the Nevada Monarch Consolidated Mines Company in July 1947. Unfortunately, little production occurred and the new company went under in 1952, bringing mining at Black Forest to a close.

I Visited Black Forest
5.9.2020

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