Exploring the Holly Ash and 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.
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.
After failing to find the Old Dutch Cleanser Mine earlier in the day, we attempted to locate it from above. The portals are not visible from this approach but the tramway engine down below was a good indication that we were finally on the right track.
The tramway engine that carried the ore up and down the mountain.
The Old Dutch Cleanser Mine was in operation from 1923-1947.
More remnants of the inclined tramway.
This almost was a 700-foot slip-o-death down to the bottom of the canyon.
Powder Room at the Old Dutch Mine.
Small Hole/Big Hole
One of the many portals leading into the massive Old Dutch Cleanser Mine. There are 19 adits and numerous drifts within the mine.
Pumicite is a very fine abrasive, similar to pumice, which is used in Lava soap.
This was one of my favorite mines to explore and I was so happy to finally have a chance to see it in person.
Protecting and preserving historic, sacred, and sensitive sites should be practiced by all. Locations, directions, and names to some of the places found on this site are not listed, please don’t ask for them. Tread lightly, leave no trace and always respect the wonder that surrounds you.