MOUNT GLEASON MINE
By Hugh W. Blanchard
Mining in Soledad Canyon, much of which is now part of Acton, began in
1861. In 1869 George Gleason, a local miner, built a road up to
the nearby high mountain, later named after him, to obtain
timber. High on its north slope, he found gold-bearing quartz
veins. Soon many mines were dug, several of which were worked on
and off until the early 1930’s. However, gold in regular paying
quantities was never found.
Along the side of the road in this area are several mining prospects,
some shallow exploratory digs and scattered sections of ore-cart rails.
Grotto member Roger Brown exiting the Mount Gleason Mine (June 2006)
the mine's entrance (June 2006)
the end of the mine (June 2006)
The Gleason presumably remains unsealed because it and a partially collapsed mining cabin several hundred feet above it are on private property within the national forest. A mining claim for the Eagle and Last Chance Mining Properties was filed in 1892 by a Robert Henry Fauntleroy Variel. R.H.F. Variel was a well known attorney in Los Angeles around the turn of the 20th Century. His granddaughter, Mary Variel Grimes of Los Angeles, advised the writer that she, her brother and several cousins each own one-third of the property. The property is not posted. The writer sent Mrs. Grimes pictures of the cabin and mine since she had never seen the property.
Another way to reach the cabin and mine is to go on the ridgeline above the creek and descend to the cabin and mine. However, without a guide, it is very difficult to know when to descend because of the abundant chaparral, which conceals the cabin and mine from above.
The mine is 200 feet long and turns right twice; it is 7 feet high and
5 feet wide except for a room in the middle, which measures
approximately 16 feet high and 15 feet wide. There are a number
of ceiling support beams and some wooden sorting rays just inside the
entrance. It is completely dry.