The Kelsey Mine
By Hugh Blanchard
A 5-stamp mill was erected and another mine, the Victoria, was dug
nearby. The ore was conveyed to a mill by a system of ore chutes. Both
the stamp mill and mine are now beneath the waters of Morris Reservoir.
Details of the mining operation and history can be found in John W.
Robinson’s hard cover book “The San Gabriels”.
The mine only went in about a hundred feet and contained a foot and a half of water. It ended at a junction with both junction passages clogged after several feet. This conflicted with reports from more than 30 years before that the main mine was largely dry, continued in a loop for several hundred feet and contained stalactites and flowstone. In November 2006 Eric and Mike Bull explored the Kelsey Annex, took pictures of its interior and established the relationship of the Kelsey and Kelsey Annex on the topo above. Presumably this completes the exploration of this area unless additional mines are located.
In April 2006 the writer accompanied by grotto members Dell Quick, Eric
and Mike Bull, Roger Brown and Daniel Veelik proceeded up Silver Fish
Road for a mile and a half to a spot where the road takes a sharp left
turn and where a metal water tank can be spotted just across the
stream. The water tank replaced an earlier wooden tank and is the only
above ground remnant of the Kelsey Mine. All other buildings were
destroyed by the 1957 Morris Fire which left only scattered pieces of
metal including an old boiler.
Just beyond the last fall we saw a conspicuous mine entrance up on the canyon bank. This proved to be the main Kelsey Mine as it fits the description of the mine seen more than 30 years before. We surveyed it at 654 feet including a wet lower level and it contains some small stalactites and flowstone. Close to the mine are three exploratory digs none longer than 30 feet. The smaller mine found several years before we dubbed the “Kelsey Annex”. Years ago there were easy trails leading directly to the mines but unfortunately all signs of these old trails have now disappeared.
Much credit goes to the Bull
Brothers for their numerous photos and to Eric for being the first to
locate the mine. Kudos also to Roger and Daniel who provided the rope
and assistance in getting over the falls. Finally appreciation to Dell
who did his usual fine job in surveying and mapping the mine.