Monday, October 3, 2016

Legends of the 2 Taylor Canyon gold mines

       Taylor Canyon holds at least two gold mines and has an extensive mining legacy.

By Lynn Arave 

LEGENDS of gold mines are some of the most intriguing tales in the American West and Ogden has its own such storied fables and perhaps the two (yes, at least 2) lost gold mines in Taylor Canyon top the list.

   Taylor Canyon contains old waterlines, as well as lost and abandoned mines.

Taylor Canyon, located east of Ogden’s 27thStreet and a popular hiking gateway to Malan’s Peak and Malan’s Basin, may actually contain some lost gold mines.

  This old cabin, shown in the late 1970s, is one of the many mysteries of Taylor Canyon.

According to the Ogden Standard-Examiner of June 26, 1913, “Gold exposed by bolt of lightning” happened in Taylor Canyon. The story states that an unnamed prospector was traversing through the canyon on June 23 that year when a bolt of lightning “shattered the cliff and revealed the rich metal, but in haste to get out of the storm the miner gained insufficient identification marks.”
He reportedly was still hunting for the spot, but with no further updates over the years, he apparently never found the treasured spot again.

-The Salt Lake Tribune of Oct. 18 1959 had a story titled,
"Ogden's Lost Mine Taylor Canyon holds the secret of a mine abandoned nearly 50 years." 
This story talks of a different gold mine in the canyon, abandoned in 1911, that a man with the last name of McDonald had created. He also built a nearby cabin, that the story reported had been found a few years later by a group of boys. They also said they saw a nearby shaft that went 25 feet or so into the mountain.
However that structure was destroyed by vandals in 1917 and Union Pacific, who later owned and managed Taylor Canyon for its timber, apparently collapsed the mine for safety reasons.
Many years later, McDonald returned with his two sons, but they were unable to find the mine again.
Was the mine really a gold mine?
The Tribune story stated:
“…When a miner is just prospecting, he usually pitches a tent or makes a lean-to for his shelter. This is all he needs, for he is just hunting ore—he'll be moving on soon, if he doesn't have any luck. But when a miner discovers good ore and plenty of it and he plans on staying on the spot, then, and not until then, does he build a cabin—especially as fine a cabin as Mac's cabin was.”
(Now there was a separate, more modern cabin also located in Taylor Canyon in between the trail switchbacks on the south slope. That cabin’s origin is its own, separate mystery.)
Taylor Canyon has an extensive mining legacy. The Standard-Examiner of Oct. 6, 1899 reported a working gold and silver mine in the canyon called the “Last Chance Tunnel.” J.H. Haines was the miner of this claim, which ran 175 feet into the north side of Taylor Canyon.
The Standard of Aug. 31, 1904 states that there were 10 known mining claims in Taylor Canyon. The titles of some of these mines included” “Excelsior,” “”Curb Stone,” “Ogden Salmon,” “Psyche,” “Merrymack” and “Maybeso.”
So many mines in Taylor Canyon had names and were publicly known. A big “why” is how come no claim was filed for McDonald’s gold mine?
There may be lost mines in Taylor Canyon, but none gained widespread fame like the La Platta silver mine northeast of Ogden. Why? Perhaps because they weren’t very profitable.
Also, of note is that there are also stories and legends of other mines in the Ogden area, particularly those around Willard Peak and Ben Lomond Peak.

This very square rock, about one-half mile up Taylor Canyon, is both eye-catching and mysterious.

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