The Holly Ash Mine and the search for The Old Dutch Cleanser Mine in the El Paso Mountains near Red Rock Canyon State Park.
Our misguided early morning search for Old Dutch lead us to Red Butte Canyon.
Red Butte, a.k.a., Mars.
Down below is the ‘Cleanest Camp in the West’. Cudahy Camp was a small settlement that sprouted in 1923 with the founding of the nearby Old Dutch Cleanser Mine.
The Red in the Butte.
After a long disappointing search for Old Dutch, I thought we needed a little break, so I took my friend to the Holly Ash Mine.
Decaying mining equipment can be found scattered throughout the site.
Inside one of Holly Ash’s processing drums, which had been shot up by gun enthusiasts.
The Holly Ash Mine began operation in 1939 as a direct competitor to the nearby Old Dutch Cleanser Mine.
During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s miners discovered the pumice which was used for cleaning material.
The Calsilco pumice deposit is a layer of sedimentary pumice lapilli tuff which lies below red andesite agglomerate. The Calsilco deposit was first worked from 1919 to 1945, then briefly by the Insulpum Corporation, and since 1946 by the Calsilco Corporation.
The raw material was being mined intermittently in 1958, milled and bagged on the property and then hauled by truck to Los Angeles.
The finished products have been used in insulating and acoustical plaster, cleaning compounds, toothpaste and powders and soil conditioners. In 1958, most of the finished material was sold for use as paint filler and oil-absorbing compounds.
Operations completely ceased at the mine in 1959. Total production was greater than 25,000 tons of raw material.
The path down to the first ridge of the Old Dutch Cleanser Mine. After failing to find the mine earlier in the day we attempted to locate it from above. The mine portals are not visible from this approach but the engine down below was a good indicator that we finally found what we had been looking for all day.
The engine that pulled the tramway up and down the mountain.
The mine was in operation from 1923-1947.
More remnants of the 475-foot long inclined rail tramway.
This almost was a 700-foot slip-o-death down to the bottom of the canyon.
The storage vault that held the explosive’s for the Old Dutch Mine.
Small Hole/Big Hole
One of the many openings within the massive Old Dutch Cleanser Mine. There are 19 tunnels that come to the surface, but there are about a dozen tunnels that do not. There are numerous tunnels perpendicular to the mine shafts that were used to transport the pumicite to the central extraction tunnel.
Pumicite is a very fine abrasive, similar to pumice, which is used in Lava soap, but is a lot finer. The tunnels are huge. Some are 40 feet wide and 20 feet tall and go for hundreds of feet, down at an angle of 45 degrees.
Ghost of stRAyNGER found three stories down, deep and dark within the Old Dutch Cleanser Mine. This was one of my favorite mines to explore and I was so happy to finally have a chance to see it in person. Be advised that the mine is on private property which I was unaware of during our visit.