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The tale of a miner's griddle

 
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Joanne
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Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 4642
Location: Las Vegas, NV

PostPosted: Monday 11-13-2017 7:36 pm    Post subject: The tale of a miner's griddle Reply with quote

Throughout the 1800's and 1900's mining camps sprung up almost overnight as gold and silver was found in the area. And just as quickly the camps were abandoned as the mines were worked out. Larger operations would have a full time cook for the crew. Smaller operations would make do with a miner cooking up the "grub" for the guys. When a mine was closed down the company would usually pack up everything of value and move on to the next strike. Occasionally a mine was shut down with the intention of being restarted later or that they would return for their equipment. This is the tale of a mine where the miners never returned.

For a number of years I've been actively exploring old mines across the southwest. Much of my exploring has been with a friend of mine from England named Tony. Most of the mines that we explore have been long abandoned and most haven't had anyone inside of them for 50 to 100 years. Last year we came across a mine out in the middle of the desert that looked interesting. It was a vertical shaft with quite a large waste pile around it. We decided to get out the ropes to see what we could see. Like many vertical mines, we were concerned that the shaft would be plugged with old timbers and other junk thrown into the mine. Tony headed down first and found the plug that we expected about 20 feet below the surface. He found a small gap to squeeze through and continued his descent.






At 50 feet the vertical shaft transitioned to an incline of about 30 degrees and continued down another 100 feet. When Tony reached the bottom he called up that I needed to climb down to see what he had found. I hooked up to the rope and followed Tony's path down into the mine. As soon as I saw everything piled against the wall I immediately noticed a round griddle. Given the history of the area I suspect that the griddle had been sitting at the bottom of the mine for close to 100 years! I had to save it.




Surprisingly the griddle was in really good shape. There was a bit of surface rust in a couple of spots, but mostly it was just dusty and dirty. Evidently the mine's cook left it well seasoned and a bit crusty. Perfect to keep it from rusting even in this hostile environment. As my normal procedure, I put the griddle in the BBQ and burned off all of the crud then reseasoned it. It came out beautiful! It turns out to be an "Erie" 740 with a 10 on the underside of handle rather than the bottom of the griddle or on the top of the handle. It also does not have the Griswold emblem.




Somehow it seemed appropriate to take the griddle up to our mine to use it for the first time in possibly 100 years. I suspect that the mine's "cookie" would approve. It got broken in with breakfast sausage followed by eggs. It cooks beautifully too!





I'm proud to now be part of the history of the piece and add my story to it.

Joanne
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Trapper



Joined: 27 Jul 2013
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Location: Montana

PostPosted: Tuesday 11-14-2017 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent story with a very happy ending. What an adventure!

Trapper
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David Hughes



Joined: 20 Jun 2010
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Location: Middlefield, Ohio

PostPosted: Tuesday 11-14-2017 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting and yes a good results, good for you.

Dave
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Aggroman
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Joined: 01 Dec 2010
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Location: On a river, somewhere in Texas

PostPosted: Tuesday 11-14-2017 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's awesome! Great story! Clapping
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SeabeeCook



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
Posts: 590
Location: Diamond Springs, Calif.

PostPosted: Tuesday 11-14-2017 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed reading your story, Joanne. Whenever I've found cast iron in the forest, it's been discarded for good reason. The last skillet I located was at a campground near Bucks Lake in Plumas County, Calif. It was missing a chunk.
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DG TX



Joined: 21 Dec 2007
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Location: Central Texas

PostPosted: Tuesday 11-14-2017 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GREAT story of a GREAT save!! Thumbs Up
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cphubert



Joined: 01 Jun 2016
Posts: 68
Location: CT

PostPosted: Tuesday 11-14-2017 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great story with a good ending. Joanne that is great find just be careful in those old mines.
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dmb90260



Joined: 18 Nov 2007
Posts: 1851
Location: So California

PostPosted: Wednesday 11-15-2017 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love the story but I have enough issues navigating above ground. Chicken Dance
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OldFrenchy



Joined: 27 Feb 2014
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Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Wednesday 11-15-2017 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a wonderful adventure, and a treasure find to boot!
Great story, and wonderful griddle!
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Joanne
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Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 4642
Location: Las Vegas, NV

PostPosted: Thursday 11-16-2017 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to everyone who responded! I really appreciate it. Since we are all "ironheads", I knew that you all would appreciate the significance of finding a griddle like that. It has nothing to do with its monetary value and everything to do with its story. I love the connection to history. I used it again today and it brought a smile to my face. :Smile 1:

Joanne
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Old mines and Ghost Towns: http://www.mine-explorer.com
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