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The Dutch Oven Mine in San Bernardino County

In the year 1894, Tom Scofield who was working with the railroad company, was doing a survey in the Clipper Mountains in California’s San Bernardino County. During his spare time he thought of doing some exploring in the mountains. He continued to go up the mountain slope for about three miles where he found an old abandoned stone house which seemed to have been built quite some time back. Scofield carried on walking for almost nine miles when he came across a spring.

Discovery of the Dutch Oven Mine

Near the spring he saw a trail which he followed up the hill and which led to a huge boulder resting on the top of the hill. He noticed that the big boulder was split in the middle and a path existed in the center. He decided to continue walking on the path. A little ahead he discovered what appeared to have once been an old Spanish camp.

Gold OreThe camp had high stone walls and the only entry and exit from the camp was through the big split rock. Within the camp, Scofield could see old mining and digging implements, cooking utensils like pots and pans, remnants of bedding and also a rusty Dutch oven.

There was a mine shaft too where Scofield found the bony remains of seven burros. Also near the shaft was a pile of excavated ore. Scofield found that some of the quartz in pile appeared to be rich in gold.

As it was getting late, Scofield decided to spend the night there and go back to his camp in the morning. The next day as he was preparing to leave, he happened to accidentally knock over the Dutch oven. The lid flew open and out dropped a number of big gold nuggets. Scofield collected all the gold he could and left for his camp.

Also Read: The Rich Gold Mining Regions of California

And: These 3 Huge Gold Nuggets Were Found in California

The Mine is Lost

Scofield then went to Los Angeles by train and spent the next few months drinking and gambling till he had exhausted all the money which he had obtained from selling the gold nuggets. Scofield realized that if he had to go back to the Clipper Mountains and try to recover more gold from the mine which he had discovered, he needed a lot of money.

Later, he started working in Los Angeles and could go back to the Clipper Mountains only after about two years. On reaching back he found a lot of changes and just could not find the old Spanish camp or the mine. There was no sign of the split boulder on top of a hill either. Though he kept on trying but he could not locate the place again.

The spring which Scofield had found and which led to the trail on way to the Spanish camp and mines came to be known as Bonanza Spring and it supplied water through pipes to the Danby Railway station. It is said that many others who had come to know of Tom Scofield’s story also tried to locate the mine but no one succeeded. The mines came to be known as the Lost Dutch Oven Mines over the years.


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