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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Jose in Santa Clara County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Santa Isabel Shaft

 
 
Santa Isabel Shaft Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, January 9, 2012
1. Santa Isabel Shaft Marker
Inscription.
[Side-bar on left:]
Mine workers began to sink the Santa Isabel Shaft in 1877 to relieve the burden on the nearby Randol Shaft, which could no longer handle the abundance of underground cinnabar ore. Five years later ore was delivered to the surface for the Santa Isabel’s 2,000 foot level. In 1883, the company shipped 1,018 tons of ore from the Santa Isabel Shaft to the mine works.

The Santa Isabel Shaft had three compartments, one for hoisting ore, a second for hoisting miners and a third containing a ladderway and Cornish pump used to drain the constant seepage of water from the interconnected tunnels of the Santa Isabel, Randol and Buena Vista shafts.

Pfeffer and Meyer took over the deserted Santa Isabel mine shaft in 1894 and discovered a method to liquefy carbonic acid gas (carbon dioxide). They offered to pay the Quicksilver Mining Company 10¢ a cylinder to pursue this business and with this gas started the U.S. dry ice industry.

[Photo caption:]
Elizabeth Randol
The Santa Isabel Shaft was named for Elizabeth (Isabel in Spanish) Randol, daughter of Mine Manager James R. Randol. She was born at New Almaden in 1872.
Photograph circa 1890. Courtesy [unclear]per Wright
 
Erected by New Almaden Quicksilver
Santa Isabel Shaft Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, January 9, 2012
2. Santa Isabel Shaft Marker
County Park Association.
 
Location. 37° 11.08′ N, 121° 50.777′ W. Marker is in San Jose, California, in Santa Clara County. Marker is on 95120. Click for map. The marker is located in Almaden Quicksilver County Park on the Santa Isabel Trail, 0.2 miles from the intersection of the Randol Trail. Marker is in this post office area: San Jose CA 95120, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Buena Vista (approx. 0.2 miles away); Mining Operations (approx. ¼ mile away); Day Tunnel (approx. half a mile away); English Camp School (approx. half a mile away); Site of English Town ★ CCC Camp Mt. Madonna (approx. half a mile away); English Camp (approx. 0.6 miles away); Camp Mt. Madonna (approx. 0.6 miles away); The “Main Tunnel” (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in San Jose.
 
More about this marker. [Photo captions, top-left, bottom-left, bottom-right:]
Santa Isabel Shaft Engine Room
The engine room contained a Cornish Pump and two hoist engines. Above each hoist is a round depth indicator that allowed engine room workers to accurately place the hoist at different tunnel levels below. The granite hoist engine foundation is still visible today, with a huge tree growing
Santa Isabel Shaft Hoist Foundation image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, January 9, 2012
3. Santa Isabel Shaft Hoist Foundation
where the hoist compartment was located.
Photograph c.1885 by Robert Bulmore.

Cornish Pump
Two workers are tending the Cornish pump. For many years the pump drew an average of 90,000 gallons of water per day out of the shaft and tunnels below. Mostly hidden behind the wheel is one of the two hoist engines.
Photograph c.1885 by Robert Bulmore. Courtesy the Bulmore Family.

Machine Drills
Braced with 12”x12” redwood timbers, this tunnel extended from the Santa Isabel Shaft at 1,300 foot level. Mines used steam-driven machine drills to drill holes into the ore body. They filled the holes with sticks of dynamite in such a way that only one hole at a time blew, allowing the miners to count the number of explosions. This photograph was taken using magnesium power to make the flash.
Photograph 1886 by Doctor Smith E. Winn from “Vies of New Almaden.”

[Shaft diagram, vertical right:]
[Photo caption, background:]

Santa Isabel Shaft & Planilla
Connected to the tall, white Santa Isabel shaft house is a 90 x 40 foot engine house. At right angles to the engine house is a 60 x 50 foot boiler room. Behind the shaft house is a shed where up to 400 tons of coal was stored. In the left foreground is an open building called the planilla, where ore was stored by size and percentage of cinnabar.
Photograph
Santa Isabel Shaft Relics image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, January 9, 2012
4. Santa Isabel Shaft Relics
1886 from “Views of New Almaden.”
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceNatural Resources
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 524 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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