Ocean Beach Mining Company

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Many years ago I heard about a mining company or two that amazingly mined gold from the San Francisco ocean beach sand. It was said that out of every ton of sand, they were able to capture one once of gold. The date of this mining company was before 1900. For some reason 1898 rings a bell but it could have been earlier. The thing I'd like to know is did they really get one once of gold out of every ton of sand and what process did they use to syphon the gold out of the sand and anything else about that company. The other thing that some of you may remember that had a lot of publicity in the newspapers and TV in the late 70s or early 80s is that some complete IDIOT brought a huge truck down to the beach in broad daylight and started loading more than 20 tons of sand for a sand mining company he started. He was going to separate the precious metals from the sand but I don't think that he ever made clear what those precious metals were. Perhaps he didn't want to start a gold panic since he wanted it all for himself. Anyway the park police put a stop to it real fast and gave him a citation with a huge fine. -- remove * to email

-- Harry Murphy (harrymurphy@bigmailbox.net*), March 06, 2002


California Division of Mines and Geology- Bulletin 193,pub 1970,_Gold Districts of California_ has a reference for "mining" at the beach in SF during the years 1938-1950. Nothing earlier.

This is the entry: Gold occurs as fine grains in the black sand, on the beach at San Francisco. From 1938-1950, gold was produced at the beach by people who used small washing plants. From 1938-1941, the recorded production was valued at about $13,000. The most productive part of the beach was south of the Fleishacker Zoo, and the gold was most plentiful immediately after heavy winter storms. Several narrow gold bearing quartz veins have been found in metamorphic rocks in the general area.


-- carolyn feroben (sweetwater@sierratel.com), March 09, 2002.

Army maos on file at the Park Archives & Records Center in the Presidio confirm the existence of mining claims on Ocean Beach west of the northern end of Fort Funston in the early 20th century. As Harry notes, in the mid-1980s an enterpreneur tried unsuccessfully to mine part of the beach but it was not associated with the early 1900s claims. The location of thelater incident was near the foot of Noriega Street (I believe) and the fellow was indeed stopped by the U.S. Park Police since Ocean Beach is now federally protected park land.

-- John Martini (jamartini@slip.net), March 09, 2002.

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