Good Hope Mine
" />Good Hope Mine
Perris Valley Historical & Museum Association
Tradition has it that Mexican prospectors are credited with the first mining operation near Lake Elsinore back in 1720 and were mining for gold in Riverside long before the big strike at Sutter's Mill. According to a story by Tom Patterson published in a 1994 edition of the Press-Enterprise, in the early 1870's Mexican miners were working in the gullies and gravel for placer gold in the area where the Good Hope Mine was later established.
The actual discoverer of the mine is not clear. Doroteo Trujillo may have discovered the mine (or at least the main vein) accidentally in about 1870. According to Trujillo family history Doroteo was herding sheep in the Gavilan Hills, west of present day Perris, when a horse in his camp became frightened because some grain sacks fell. The horse kicked a stick of dynamite which exploded, exposing the mine and or vein. Some accounts put this event happening around 1873-74 others report it happening in the late 1870's.
Began operations in 1889 and or early 1890's until final closing in the 1960's. Produced two million dollars in gold during years of operation (almost 1/3 of all gold produced in Southern California) Five levels of shafts extending to the 575-foot level A very fine grade of gold was mined at Good Hope, and was used to build the world famous Coronado Hotel in San Diego Underwater stream plagued owners attempt at mining Oliver Vlahovich of Grande, California, says that her grandfather, Juan B. Castillo, discovered the Good Hope Mine in the early 1890's. Another man, Madison Chaney, is also given some credit to the discovery. But the California Division of Mines and Geology says that a Frenchmen named Mache located the mine at a much earlier date.
Mache had two load claims - the San Jacinto and the Good Hope. He later consolidated them and started operation of his claim as the Good Hope Mine. Although it may never be know who discovered the Good Hope Mine what the conflicting accounts do seem to indicate is that there was not just one big discovery but many smaller discoveries along the vein over several years by different people. Who got there first remains a historical mystery. For a long while ore was worked with arrastras, the old Mexican method of pulverizing ore into pieces small enough to be panned.
An arrastras is a circular rock-paved area with a pivot in the center. A work anima, hitched to the pivot, dragged heavy boulders over in the circle until it was broken into small pieces. In 1889 a Massachusetts corporation bought the property and installed a twenty-stamp mill. Plagued with litigation, the Good Hope Mine continued to operate intermittently and in 1900 the use of cyanide was introduced for extracting the gold. In later years other methods were tried as the huge pile of tailings was worked over, with positive results. In 1919 the property was sold at a tax sale for four hundred and fifty dollars.
Scraped metal then was in more demand than gold, and the obsolete machinery in the old mill was dismantled and converted into machinery of war. In 1922, Sellio Trujillo, the grandson of one of the individuals credited for discovering the mine (Doroteo Trujillo) was granted ownership and the mine was reopened. It is possible, but not conclusive, that Sellio was the purchaser of the property in the 1919 tax sale. The mine changed hands again and in 1923. The Good Hope Development Company began digging for new ore and the re-working of the pile of tailings.
This venture was not very successful and after twelve years the mine was closed because the company could not afford to meet state safety standards. It remained closed for another dozen years with only the sounds of passing cars on highway 74 echoing in its empty structures. From 1947 to 1953 the mine operated on a limited scale. But in the early 1960's the Hunt Mining Company started a shaft down to the 575 foot level. In a land noted for its scarcity of water, the new owners ran into an underground stream that brought their efforts to an end.
In its 90-years of off and on operation, the Good Hope Mine produced two million dollars in gold accounting for almost 1/3 of the total value of gold produced in Southern California. The Good Hope Mine 1975 The remnants of the old Good Hope Gold Mine can still be seen today by driving toward Perris on Highway 74 from the 1-15. At four miles there is a small street called River. One half-mile further on, a white cross can be seen on the mountain. About 200 yards in there is a mound of dirt where the old mine used to be.
Now it is covered with old tires to protect the curious from falling into a shaft that is filled with water and 350 feet deep. It is said that there is still gold there, but it is doubtful that the residents who have since built near the mine would allow a-full scale mining operation to be started up again. Sources: Gudde, Erwin Gustav. "California gold camps : a geographical and historical dictionary of camps, towns, and localities where gold was found and mined, wayside stations and trading centers." Berkeley : University of California Press, c1975. x, 467 p. : ill. ; 27 cm.` Historic Resources Inventory, State California - Department of Parks and Recreation Good Hope Chronology, Compiled by Mike Herron - PVH&MA