2015 Mining History Association Tour

 

Tour of Donovan Mill, Bowers Mansion,

Nevada State Museum, and

Nevada State Railroad Museum

Tour Leader: Ron James

June 14, 2015

 

PHOTO GALLERY 1 of 5

 

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The tour departed from the Silverland Hotel and headed directly for the Donovan Mill in Silver City.  The mill is a nearly intact cyanide mill that was recently acquired by the Comstock Foundation.  From the mill, the tour headed for Carson City and then north into the Washoe Valley to visit the historic Bowers Mansion State Park.  The restored mansion was the 1860s home of a Comstock nouveau riche miner and his illustrious wife.  After lunch on the park grounds, the tour headed back to Carson City and to the Nevada State Museum, the former Carson City Mint.  The final stop was at the Nevada State Railroad Museum which has an impressive array of period equipment.  CLICK HERE to download a map of the tour route.

The Donovan Mill is located in Silver City, a few miles south of Virginia City.  Ore from the mines was dumped at the upper left, crushed, and conveyed to the stamp mill at the center.

 

Ron James (center) provides background information on the development of cyanide mills and the importance of preservation of the Donovan Mill.

The north side of the mill contains 4 batteries of 5 stamps.  The upper portion of the stamps shows the stamp rods which are activated by a system of cams attached to a drive shaft.
The lower portion of the stamps shows the stamp heads, mortar boxes, and screens which control release of the fine particles of ore.  Amalgamation tables were attached to the batteries of stamps.

The stamp batteries at the north side of the mill were erected by the Risdon Foundry in San Francisco.

 

The stamp heads show various stages of wear.

 

The 2 stamp batteries at the south side of the mill were manufactured at the Virginia and Truckee Foundry in Carson City.The design of the V&T mortar boxes is different from those in the north end of the mill.

Photo Credits: Johnny Johnsson, Mike Kaas, and Bob Spude.

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