Gold Belle Mill & Mine

Location Class:
Year Built: 1900-1904 | Year Abandoned: ~1914
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: Keith Beeson

The Gold Belles Mill & Mine was one of several mining operations in the Wichita Mountains seeking gold during the early 1900s. The entire operation was established in 1900 with a fifty-ton cyanide mill being constructed to process the ore from Belles mine and others nearby. A majority of the gold found here was speckle gold, about as fine as flour but worth it if you worked long enough. Billy Barnes was a former miner in the area, recalling when he first heard of the Gold Belles Mine. “A man by the name Baker came into town (Mountain Park) around 1903 wearing three gold bells on his lapel. He told folks the gold on those bells came from Gold Belle mine where he was working.” Barnes was hesitant to believe Baker but did say that some paydirt was found at Gold Belle but not much.

One fatal flaw of the gold mining operations in southwest Oklahoma was that the great amounts of granite the land held wasn’t susceptible to erosion and wasn’t financially smart to mine. This caused the mine to shut down although the date of its closing is something that has been of some controversy with some sources saying 1907. But according to a The Mountain Park Herald newspaper article dated Feb 27, 1914, and titled Work Resumed at Gold Belles Mine suggests it was later than 1907. The article tells this:

A force of ten workmen have been put to work at the Gold Belles Mining Company’s mill just north of Mountain Park, and it is expected this number will be increased as fast as possible. Mr. Brown informs us that 6000 gallons of oil was shipped from Oklahoma City on the 26th and will be hauled to the mine at once. A storage capacity of 18,000 gallons is completed at the mine. An expert engine mans will be here Monday to give the engines a try out and instruct local parties about handling. Work is progressing in the mill and shaft and it is hoped within sixty days everything will be running in full blast.

Article by AOK Photojournalist Emily Cowan.

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