The "Silver King Mine" restoration and walking tour were
envisioned by, and this article
written by, Bob Leonard.
Click here to enjoy more photos of the
Silver King Mine.
The trail starts at Post 1 and is a "moderate" 1.14
mile loop that descends into the cool gulch air then climbs out
again. In the near future, we will publish a formal brochure
based an interviews with the DaRger Family. Please be careful,
mines can be hazardous.
TRAIL POST 1
Welcome to the Silver King Mine. This old gold mine is in the
Gold Mountain Mining District which is part of the Tushar Range
on the Fishlake National Forest. Some peaks rise to over 12,000
feet. These mountains are highly mineralized and people have
been searching for gold and silver in their gulches and canyons
from at least the 1860's. Some believe that Spanish
Conquistadors were here in the 1600's and 1700's looking for
This mine is named the Silver King and was claimed by Brigham
Daniel Darger of Spanish Fork, Utah in 1894. Ore extracted from
the 1,000 foot long adit (i.e., mine tunnel) above the cabin was
hauled by mule and wagon to the 5 arrastras on nearby Deer
Creek. An arrastra is a Spanish device where large drag stones
chained to a center pole were pulled around and around by mules.
Here miners would reduce the ore to a fine sand-like material
that was shipped to a mill in Tooele County, west of Salt Lake
City, for processing.
TRAIL POST 2
Sometime around 1896, Brig began to court the the finance' of a
miner living over the hill in the Kimberly Mining District. Her
name was Pansy Permelia Brown and she was 21, dark-haired,
petite and quite beautiful. Brig was 14 years her senior but
Pansy found the handsome wavy-haired superintendent of the
Silver King quite irresistible. They were married in the Manti
LDS Temple in 1897 and moved to this cabin when the snow melted.
Brig and Pansy were married 35 years before his death in 1932.
They had 10 children and the first one was conceived here in the
summer of 1897. Romantic as it might seem, Brig and Pansy lived
downstairs and 6 to 10 hired miners lived upstairs. Originally,
the only way into the loft was by an exterior staircase on the
west end of the cabin. The stairs you see in the cabin are
modern so the newlyweds had at least some privacy
TRAIL POST 3
At this point, the features of the mine become a little bit more
perplexing. The depression before you is either a caved-in adit
or powder cache. If it was a tunnel, it did not go very far as
there is little or no mine dump around the entrance.
If the depression is what remains of a powder cache, this would
be a logical place for a feature like this. Dynamite was used to
open tunnels in mines. Miners would drill holes 8 to 10 feet
deep with a single jack hammer and a star drill. Usually one man
would hold and turn the drill and another would strike it with
the hammer. A single stick of dynamite was then placed in each
hole with a fuse. On an average day, miners would open about 10
feet of tunnel and muck (i.e., shovel & remove) the ore into
TRAM POST 4
If you look closely at the fiat area in front of you, you can
see part of a rock foundation to your right and a log corner to
your left. This building, built of spruce logs, was large and
measured 28 feet x 36 feet. The carvings on the aspen trees
around the site call it "The Lodge". A recent visitor
said he was here at the mine in the 1950's and remembers this
structure as a standing 2 story building. His impression was
that it was a "hotel or a dormitory".
Another possibility is that the log structure was a support
building that may have housed a blacksmith's shop. Brig was an
excellent blacksmith and it is said that he always had a shop at
the mine to fix equipment and fabricate tools. Recently, a
hand-made rock bar was found in the undergrowth near the oldest
adit at the mine. There is a good chance that Brig made this
TRAIL POST 5
An opening in the rock is visible through the brush. This is an
adit and according to experts with the Utah Division of Oil, Gas
and Mining, the volume of the dump in front of the mine suggests
that the tunnel is about 500 feet long. Notice that water is
coming from the mouth of the adit. Inside the mine, the water is
about 3 feet deep and covers at least 2 feet of silt. When Brig
mined these workings, he had to pump water from the mine to keep
it from flooding.
Another problem faced by miners now and back in Brig's day was
providing adequate ventilation to the interior of the mine.
poorly ventilated mines carbon dioxide, called "dead
air" by miners, can build up in pockets inside the
workings. Although carbon dioxide is not poisonous, it is like
water. You can not breath it and the result is suffocation. The
worrisome thing about this hazard is that you don't know you are
in trouble until you begin to lose consciousness. Please do not
enter this mine or any abandoned mine. They are dangerous!
TRAIL MARKER 6
You are standing on a the mine dump from the workings that lie
behind you. When miners blasted the rock face inside the mine,
the debris on the floor (called a "round") contained
both waste rock and gold-bearing quartz. The waste material was
mucked into ore cars and taken out to the end of the track and
dumped. Gold ore, on the other hand, was hauled a mile downhill
to the arrastras on Deer Creek where the gold was crushed and
reduced before shipping it to a gold mill.
Many miners used mules to pull their ore cars from the workings.
With the exception of one adit, most of the mines on the Silver
King appear too small for a mule to get in and out. This meant,
in all likelihood, that Brig had his employees push the cars out
of the mines by hand. An ore car full of rock can weigh many
hundreds of pounds. Hard work! We don't know what Brig paid his
men but in the Kimberly Mining District, men earned $2 to $4 a
TRAIL MARKER 7
The remains of this log cabin are a mystery. The door is not
very tall and the walls did not extend much higher than they are
now. The absence of manure and the presence of chinking between
the logs inside the cabin suggests that it was not a stable or
corral. Maybe it was a temporary shelter constructed hurriedly
by Brig and his partner when they were staking their claims in
1894. What do you think the cabin was used for?
If you have the time, sit on the bench and listen to the quiet
of Spring Gulch. In late June and July the gulch is usually
carpeted with wildflowers including larkspur, lupine, penstemon,
columbine and ridgeron. On sunny days, the sunlight filters
through the leaves of the quakies above you and warms the cool
air found at this 10,000 foot altitude.
TRAIL MARKER 8
Brig and Pansy did not have a garbage collection service in the
1890's on Gold Mountain. Most of the refuse was tossed over the
edge of the gulch in front of their cabin and onto the slope you
are standing on.
We would like to remind you that their "garbage" is
now considered historical. This includes old tin cans and
bottles as well as mining equipment like track and ore ears.
These artifacts are irreplaceable and make up the historic
fabric of this site. Please fee! free to look and touch but take
only photographs and leave only footprints. The mining artifacts
in their natural setting will enhance the experience of the next
visitors to Brig and Pansy's gold mine in Spring Gulch.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO CREATE A FUTURE FOR AMERICA'S PAST