Mining Sink Holes

March 23, 2021

Given the response to last week’s Depression Era gold mining “glory holes” in the Jacksonville Woodlands, Historic Jacksonville, Inc. thought we’d follow up with a little more information on Jacksonville’s second gold rush. As an alternative to putting residents on the “dole” during the 1930s, the County gave out mining permits, allowing residents to dig for any residual gold lingering from the 1850s.  Some got lucky, but most latter-day miners only found enough gold to live from day to day.  Still $2 a day was more than most jobs paid—assuming you could find one. 

    Most mining shafts were dug in backyards, but some residents had sufficient moxie to burrow under the town’s commercial buildings.  According to 1935 newspaper accounts, 4th Street had several dips in it; on Main Street, “the bottom fell away from light poles, leaving them suspended by the wires on the cross arms.”  The shaft pictured here is in what is now the parking lot behind Jacksonville’s post office and Visitors Center, the old Rogue River Valley Railroad station.    

    Almost every inch of Jacksonville was “undermined.”  The result is periodic “sink holes” opening over old mine shafts around town.  In just the past few years we’ve had sink holes opening behind the Jacksonville Inn, in the post office/Visitors Center parking lot, and in Ray’s Market’s parking lot—all remnants of what individuals might do for what one journalist described as a “ham-and-eggs” existence.


Mining Sink Holes