Prospecting for gold and the Gold Rush started many of our towns, and rich they are in history and GOLD!!
Gold mining and prospecting for gold is a popular pastime for many locals thru out our regional area.
You really can't just "do it anywhere" either, as there are restrictions on the lands.
When the economic recession hit in 2008, and with gold prices soaring, gold prospecting emerged as a new "hobby" for many folks in our area, as well as many others across the Country.
Many of the local Tourist Attractions are now offering "Gold Panning" and "Mineral Panning" at their locations (think Wall Drug). This really amounts to a sluice box, a pan and you buy a bag of dirt that you can pan down from there. It is relatively inexpensive, and the kids are sure to find SOMETHING in their pan when it's all said and done.
But if you want to REALLY go prospecting for gold, then check into these organizations:
The Black Hills Prospecting Club has 4 claims in the area. The claims they have rights to are:
The GPAA has 4 claims in the our local area also. The claims are:
As far as we know, and as the stories we have been told, there is gold to be found on all of these claims. Most all of the Gold to be found, even in large mining operations (such as the Slime Factory in Deadwood, South Dakota), is placer gold (ie; Gold Flecks).
BUT there have been some large nuggets pulled out of these "them thar hills" as early as 2 years ago. Check this picture out!
This is a picture of the replicas (Photo taken by RC Journal photographer) That were recently made. Potato Creek nugget is on the left, the newest nugget found is the Ice Box nugget which is on the right.
The most famous of the nuggets is the Potato Creek nugget found by areas legengndary gold miner, Potato Creek Johnny in 1929 in Spearfish Canyon. This nugget weighed in at 7 3/4 troy ounces, and is valued today at $500,000. Potato Creek Johnny sold it to W.E. Adams in 1934 for a mere $250. Mr. Adams had just built the Adams museum, he reportedly put it in the vault immediately and had several replicas made for display.
The original nugget has only been on display only a handful of times.
They are hoping to sell the new replicas made, earning enough money to have a new state of the art, bullet proof display case made to house the original nugget for display. That is slated to happen by the end of 2012.
The Ice Box nugget was found by a couple of local prospectors in July of 2010. This nugget weighed in at a whopping 5.27 troy ounces. The 2 men that found it never revealed the exact location...they just said it was "somewhere" in a 20 mile radius of Rapid City.
It is a generally little known fact that at least 1 more nugget, maybe even 2 were found in the black Hills larger than the Potato Creek or the Ice Box nuggets. But the whereabouts or fate of them has never been discovered.
Here you see the replica of the famous Gold Miner Potato Creek Johnny's nugget. It is currently on loan from the Adam's museum and housed on display at the
Deadwood Mountain Grand.
Click HERE for more information on Deadwood South Dakota, Seth Bullock or Wild Bill Hickok and the other notorious and flavorful characters of the Wild West.
Here is the video of the nugget's unveiling at the Journey Museum. Do you recognize a familiar little face taking a picture of this little beauty?
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