On This Day In History: July 12

An interview with Mr. Hunter, mine foreman of the old Treadwell and Three Hundred mills explains mine operations and how the excavation site the “Glory Hole” got its name in an 1899 interview published in the July 12, 1899 issue of Douglas Island News.

DouglasIslandNews_18990712_GloryHole   DouglasIslandNews_18990705_GloryHole

Left: July 12, 1899 Douglas Island News article; Right: The July 05, 1899 Douglas Island news article mentioned in the July 12 article.

The interview reads:

“The Treadwell Mines.

Two Mills Consume 1950 Tons of Ore Every 24 Hours.


The great mines on Douglas Island are generally known as the Treadwell mines and stamp mills, of which there are in fact five mills and four separate mines.  When the first mill was put in it was called the Treadwell, with 240 stamps.  It is back of this that the Glory Hole, of which we made mention in our last issue, is located.  The new 300 stamp mill is located less than a quarter of a mile from the old mill and the two, with 540 stamps are under the control of one mill foreman, who is Mr. Angus Mackay.

The mine foreman for these two mills is Mr. A. Hunter and the Glory Hole is also in his charge.  Mr. Hunter was seen by the News man a few days ago and from him we gained much information concerning mill operations, which we will give to our readers:

“You are not quite right in assuming that the Glory Hole gets its name from the people who have gone to glory from its confines,” said Mr. Hunter.  “The fact is that for years there hasn’t been a man killed in the Glory Hole and I can remember of but one man ever losing his life in there.”

“But how did it get the name?” was asked.

“Oh, that was because a man, who wanted work, once offered to work for his board and lodging until there was a job open for him and the men said he was working for glory, and ever since it was called the Glory Hole, because he worked there.   No, the Glory Hole is not a dangerous place to work in, but it would be a bad place to fall into.”

“What is the Glory Hole doing for the big mills?” was asked.

“The two big mills, the old Treadwell and the new Three Hundred, consume 1950 tons of ore every 24 hours and this is mined at the Glory Hole.

“How many men are employed at the new Three Hundred?”

“Oh, something like twenty men.  The machinery is the latest improved and nearly everything is done by the machinery.”

“What are they doing down at the other mills?”

“While the other three mills are owned by the same parties they are under a different superintendent and mine foreman, but generally speaking, I can say that the new Seven Hundred, with 100 stamps, consumes 350 tons of ore a day.  The Mexican, with 120 stamps, crushes 400 tons per day, and the Ready Bullion, with 120 stamps, consumes 400 tons a day.  Add these together and you will see that we crush 3100 tones of ore every 24 hours.”

“How deep do you go for this ore?”

“About 800 feet from the top of the Glory Hole and we are down about 450 feet below sea level.”

“How far is it from the new Three Hundred to the Ready Bullion mill, and does the vein of ore extend that far?”

“About 7000 feet.  Yes, the vein of ore extends that distance and is practically the same.  If there is any difference, the ore at the Ready Bullion, the mine farthest south, is a little the best.  The vein seems to stop on the north side of the new Three Hundred.”

“Then you are not worrying any about your ore giving out?”

“No, indeed.”

“What is your manner of getting the gold out of this rock, Mr. Hunter?”

“It is very simple indeed.  After going through the stamps the free gold is collected on the copper plates, which are coated with quicksilver.   The balance of the ore goes through the concentrators.  The first is put into the bricks at the company assay office, the second is sacked and shipped to the smelter at Tacoma.  These sulphates or concentrates that are shipped will run about fifty dollars to the ton.  The final result is about two-thirds free gold and one-third that is shipped in the shape of sulphates.”

Mr. Hunter has been with the Treadwell’s for years and is one of the best and most expert mine foremen living.  Nearly every tunnel, shaft or raise in the old Treadwell mines were mapped out and ordered by him, and the fact that he has held his position for so long a time is proof of his competency.”


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