Tunnel Camp

5-Stamp Mill

Following the encounter with water at the Seven Troughs mines, Louis A. Friedman began to buy up most of the district's properties. He concocted an idea to construct a deep tunnel to drain the mines in the district, similar to the famed Sutro Tunnel. In 1919, work actually began on the "Deep Tunnel," progressing at an extremely slow rate as all work was done by hand. By 1926, the tunnel had reached only 506 feet. During this time, Friedman reorganized the claims and joined with Jay P. Graves, of Spokane, Washington and T.F. Cole, of Pasadena, California; this formed the Seven Troughs Gold Mines Company. Following this reorganization, work on the Deep Tunnel began to progress at a faster rate, reaching 5495 feet by April 1928.

The actual Tunnel Camp was established in late 1926, and soon had a bunkhouse, a company store, and a number of houses, most of which were moved from the abandoned Vernon townsite. In September 1927, a power plant was constructed consisting of three 120 h.p. Fairbanks-Morse diesel engines contained within a galvanized steel building. By March 1929, the Deep Tunnel reached 7200 feet and was expected to reach the Coalition vein in just 200 more. In addition to drainage for the mills at Seven Troughs, the Deep Tunnel was also expected to provide ore haulage from the mines to Tunnel Camp, where the massive 100-ton Friedman ball mill and cyanide plant were completed in 1930.

By the time the tunnel finally reached its end at the Tyler shaft, a fatal error was detected. The tunnel was completed at a level 700 feet above the drainage point. This error would later cause a significant lack of ore, which led to the Friedman Mill's demise in December 1934. Tunnel Camp saw only intermittent activity thereafter.

Aside from the Friedman Mill, two other mills operated at Tunnel Camp. One was the still-standing five-stamp mill constructed inside the ball mill room of the Friedman, however who and when it was installed are unknown. The other mill was a three-foot Straub mill installed sometime after 1934 by Jim Causten and Earl Walton. It was capable of processing eight tons of ore every eight hours, and operated until 1937; it was dismantled in 1970.

Just below Tunnel Camp is the cemetery for those who perished in the great flood of July 18, 1912. That story can be read on the Mazuma page.

Seven Troughs District
Seven TroughsMazuma
Tunnel CampVernon