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The Lost White Cement Mine of Mono County, California

The discovery of the lost White Cement Gold Mine dates back to 1857, which was found in California near the source of the Owens River of the Mammoth Mountain range, at the southern extent of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There are two similar stories about the original discovery of the White Cement Mines and in both the versions the same place as well as the same reddish cement looking rock with gold has been mentioned.

Different Versions of the Initial Discovery

According to one of the folklore, in the year 1857, two men who were bound for California along with a number of other people decided to split from the main party and ventured out in a different direction. They traveled across Northern California and finally reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains where they stopped for a break near the Owens River. This is where they observed the peculiar red rock, and upon closer inspection it was revealed that gold was cemented within the dark red clays.

One of the men was astonished at his discovery of gold, while his friend didn’t quite believe him and joked about the discovery because he didn’t think it was gold.

The man who was positive about the gold drew a map of the location, broke apart the red clays and took around ten pounds of the material along with them.

They then resumed their journey towards Millerton and on the way, the man who was skeptic about the gold somehow died. The man who survived was also critically ill but reached San Francisco to get treated by a doctor named Dr. Randall. In order to pay the doctor for his treatment, he gave his gold, the map and a clear description about the place and his discovery.

Dr. Randall disclosed the story of the White Cement Mine to his friends and in 1861 took a group of men along in order to find the gold. It is believed that two men from Randall’s party found the red rocks with gold but before they could tell the others of its location, they were both killed by some Indians.

The other version of the discovery talks about three German brothers who discovered the ledge of rock filled with gold while they came to the springs of the Owens River after surviving attacks by the Indians. They took large amounts of the ore with them and as they travelled further, two of them lost their lives on the way. The third man reached a mining area in the west where he exhibited the gold ore to someone named Gid Whiteman. He gave a rough sketch of the location to Mr. Whiteman which led to the formation of many search parties for the White Cement Mine.

Southern California Gold Prospecting

Later explorations for the White Cement Mine

During the early 1860’s large numbers of determined gold prospectors and miners had set up camps in search of the lost White Cement Mine. During this phase, even Mark Twain and many others hopeful gold prospectors got a glimpse of the samples of the White Cement Mine in a camp near Aurora. Their explorations resulted in the discovery of other gold deposits towards the eastern side of Lake Mary.

The search for the lost mine continued throughout 1860’s and 1870’s. In the year 1877 James A Parker and his party accidently ended up discovering a rich source of gold close to the Mono Lake while searching for the legendary White Cement Mine.

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Although many other mines have been found in the regions of the Mammoth Mountains, the legend of the White Cement Gold Mine remains unsolved.

There has certainly been a lot of gold mined from this part of California over the past 150 years. It is certainly possible that the lost mine was rediscovered at some point even if the finder may not have known it. It is also possible that no one has ever found the area since, and there is rich gold still waiting to be found.

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