Dating back to 1899, the Ruth Mine & Camp is located 3,530 feet in the Argus Mountain Range, roughly 14 miles from the town of Trona, CA.
The Ruth Mine began production in 1899 under the ownership of Doug Graham and S.S. (Smiley) Jones. They continued to work the mine together from 1899–1917 until Jones decided he had enough and moved on. Meanwhile, Graham continued working the mine solo up until 1930. After bringing in two partners, Fred Austin and Dr. Evans, to help him cover a tax bill and hopefully save the mine, he ended up dead four weeks later after being robbed.
Austin and Evans leased the mine to the Burton Brothers in 1937, at which point the mine was renamed the Ruth Mine. The Burton Brothers had already been successful at the Tropico Gold Mine in Rosamond, CA. They used the money from that operation to expand the Ruth Mine. They installed a new 40-ton cyanide mill that allowed them to expand output to 70 tons per day. They also leased the nearby Davenport Mine and brought the ore from there for processing at the mill at Ruth. This enabled them to increase their production and profits.
By 1941, the Ruth Camp was growing, it now had a population of 62 people, with the mine employing 25 individuals. The camp built its own schoolhouse, with as many as 22 students attending on the first day of class. The school’s teacher lived on site in an apartment that was built specifically for her.
Hanging inside the school. The principal perhaps or maybe the Burton Brothers?
Books, books everywhere, in every building. These folks LOVED to read.
School was hard, I need a drink.
The General Store also served as the saloon, however, the saloon was only ever open on Friday nights and during special occasions. Unlike most mining towns or camps, the Burton Brothers believed that getting an education was much more important than getting drunk.
Located at the front of the saloon in case you needed a little rest before you headed back into the mine.
Inside the bunkhouse looking out towards the main/caretakers house.
Inside the bunkhouse. She’s got pretty bones.
Come To My Window
The kitchen & dining room inside the main house.
All the modern conveniences one would need in a small mining town.
All was well up until October of 1942, when the Roosevelt administration issued order L-208, which closed all unessential mining during World War II. The Ruth Mine was forced to close. Overnight, miners and their families left camp to find work elsewhere. Various attempts to bring the mine back have all failed and the Ruth Mine eventually closed for good in the 1970’s.
After being privately owned for some time, the BLM eventually took over the property. Since then, a couple of buildings have burnt to the ground and they’ve removed the mill that once sat on the hillside. As you can see in the pictures above, they’ve also boarded up all the windows on the remaining structures and it looks like they may eventually board up the all the doors. I’m glad I was able to see it before the BLM decides to do anymore damage to it.