Grass Valley

North Star Sixty-Stamp Mill Foundations

The North Star Sixty-Stamp Mill Foundations have been stripped of their structures but still tower over the trees and ridges on the edge of Lafayette Hill. The North Star vein, originally known as the Lafayette or French Lead, was discovered in 1851. Located west of Wolf Creek, the claim sat idle until 1854 when it was worked on a small scale as the Helvetia & Lafayette Mine. The brothers Coleman, Edward and John, arrived in Grass Valley in 1860 and purchased a large interest in the mine for $15,000. They changed the name to the North Star, which it remained throughout its life. The mill whose ruins now lie silent among the pines was built to crush the ore from the North Starís central shaft. The noise from the sixty stamps could be heard for miles around, and was said to be a hazard to travelers passing along the road, as the sound frightened horses into mad gallops. The North Star was one of the richest mines in the state with a total production of $33,267,734. The ruins can be found one-half mile from the Power House, on Allison Ranch Road.

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