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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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June 22, 2012     The Catalina Islander
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June 22, 2012
 

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Watson From page 1 holes. In addition, most of them are on private property whose owners don't take kindly to such trespasses. In any case, most of them have been sealed up and are. flooded with ground water. There is an old legend about the first discovery of gold on the Is- land that has been haunting Cata- lina history books for more than a century. In 1832, a man named George C. Yount was on a seal ot- ter hunt along the leeward coast of Catalina. During one of his visits to shore he claims he came across a "ledge of gold-bearing quartz." He grabbed himself a chunk of the material (which he later claims he los0, but for some reason wasn't impressed enough at the time to look for more. Over the ensuing 20 years, Yount returned to the Island three times to try to find this lode once again, but to no avail. The tales of his purported discov- ery, however, propelled Catalina Island into the world of large-scale mining--an episode that lasted nearly a century. The true mining history of Catalina doesn't so much start with Yount's discovery, but with our own mini-Gold Rush in the Civil War era; an interesting in- terlude in Catalina's history com- plete with its own gold rush town called "Queen City" at the Island's West End. The "rush" didn't'last for long, however, due mostly to the fact that no one was finding any gold along with the fact that the Union Army decided to evict all the miners so they could set up their operations at the Isthmus. In the late 1800s, a British min- ing syndicate mined for silver in (where else?) Silver Canyon and mining got another big boost dur- ing the Wrigley'era in the 1920s. The Blackjack Mine, for ex- ample, reached its heyday during the Roaring '20s. Lead, silver and zinc were extracted from the mine and carried by ore cart along a pre- cipitous skyway down to the pro- cessing facility at White's Land- ing where the finished material was then taken by barge to the mainland. (I remem- ber many years ago talk- ing to a former Blackjack miner who told me that their transportation to and from the worksite each day was a thrilling ride aboard these carts. That alone would make the hours of underground toil and labor worthwhile!) Catalina's mining era ended in 1927 with the closure of all mines on the Island, due mostly to the collapse of prices on world metals markets. But as noted earlier,, the above-ground workings still exist and much of the labyrinth of tun- nels they left behind still lie hid- den beneath the topsoil. A widely-known mine on the Island's East End that was shut down in the 1920s still has a num- ber of rusting mining carts strewn Smoking Frorr age 1 "Our medical providers will work with any potential in-patients who smoke to provide them with smok- ing cessation tools," Sampson said. The smoking ban at the Medical Center reflects a nationwide trend at hospitals to forbid smoking any- where on their grounds. "We are joining with other hospitals to take steps to protect our patients and their families from the dangers of second hand smoke," she said. The Santa Catalina Island Company congratulates the Avalon High School seniors that have parents working for them or are their employees: -Yadira L. Bastida-Tovar Jamie L. Boyd Natalie M. Campazzie Allan N. Casillas Juan L. Cisneros Katherine E. Delehant Devin P. Eubank Jacob B. Long Humberto Macias Sadie M, ParsOns Evelyn B. Pedroza Brian Rodriguez Rachel F. Sillas Ashley N. Taylor Jim Watson Columnist about. Its ancient: wooden tow- ers with their wire, rope running off into the undergrowth are still there, entangled in vines and rot- ting away in the jungle like some abandoned colonial operation in the Belgian Congo. I remember talking to one adventurous former resident of the Island who told me of a camping trip she took one time into an- other one of Catalina's mines. This particu- lar mine was one of those partially sub- merged mines where a portion of her subterranean adventure took her through an underground pool. Knowing this ahead of time, she packed her goods in a dry bag and set off. After entering the mine and successfully fording the under- ground reservoir, she set up camp in a little recess. I remember her telling me she sat up all night in- side her little dome tent absolutely terrified because "something" was in the mine with her--something "big." She refused to go to sleep or step out of her tent for fear Of en- countering whatever creature was sharing the cavern with her that night. The whereabouts of most of the Island's mines are well known, thanks to good old-fashioned re- cord-keeping. However, some of these caverns apparently escaped this diligence as evidenced by a fascinating discovery I made sev- eral years ag0--a discovery not made on Catalina Island, but in a used book store in Long Beach. NEXT WEEK: THE MOST MYSTERIOUS MINE OF ALL Got a weird story about Catalina? Send it to us at ed@cinews, us or mail it to Mysterious Island, c/o Catalina Islander, PO Box 428, Avalon, CA 90704. We've partnered with HealthStream, a national organization with an excellent reputation for collecting informationabout patient experiences. They may be contacting you via telephone about your experience at Catalina Island Medical Center. The survey will take about 10 minutes. Your answers are confidential. The survey can be conducted in English or Spanish. Your privacy will be completely respected. The person who calls is not a medical professional and caller ID will identify the call as Healthstream Research. If you have any questions about the survey, please call (310) 510-0700. Catahna Island Medical Center (31o) 51o-o7oo lOO Falls Canyon Road PO Box 1563, Avalon 90704 www.ClMedicalCenter.org Nos hemos asociado con HealthStream, una organizaci6n nacional con una excelente reputaci6n para la recopilaci6n de informaciOn sobre las experiencias de los pacientes. Es posible que ellos se pongan en contacto con usted por telfono para preguntarle acerca de su experiencia en el Centro de Salud de la Isla de Catalina. La Encuesta se Ilevar unos diez minutos. Sus respuestas son confidenciales La encuesta podria Ilevarse a cabo en Ingles o Espafiol. Su privacidad ser completamente respetada. La persona que llama no es un profesional de la salud y el identificador de Ilamadas los identificaran como HealthStream Research Si tiene cualquier pregunta sobre la encuesta, por favor Ilame al (310) 510-0700. Catalina Island Medical Center (31o) 51o-o7oo loo Falls Canyon Road PO Box 1563, Avalon 90704 www.CIMedicalCenter.org THE CATALINA ISLANDER Friday, June 22, 2012 i 9