Medford Offers Mining Classes During The Depression

Oct 18, 2013

As It Was - Episode 2259

The Great Depression of the 1930s brought a revival of placer gold mining in Southern Oregon and Northern California.  Unemployed gold seekers leased land from farmers, Jacksonville residents dug shafts in back yards, and many stores in Jackson County installed scales and traded groceries for gold dust.The Oregon Office of Vocational Education offered money for training in mining techniques, encouraging Medford School Superintendent E.H. Hedrick to establish a mining school in 1933.  Two experienced miners taught a three-day course, including practical skills in tracing and locating placer gold and quartz gold and making mining claims. The third day offered hands-on experience in the field.A placer is a deposit of river sand or gravel containing particles of gold or other valuable minerals.The class attracted 127 would-be miners, including six women.  Hedrick also hired a field instructor, J.V. Neff, who traveled around the county assisting another 225 miners improve their techniques and locate more profitable claims.  Placer mining turned out to be a stop-gap measure as President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal put people back to work around the country.    Source: Haines Jr., Francis, and Verne Smith. Gold on Placer Creek: a Century of Placer Mining. 1964: Gandee Printing Center, Print.