Gold in Clear Creek
In 1904, the National Dredging Company, led by Herman J. Reiling, purchased the historic Arapahoe Bar in Clear Creek, which had been mined various ways and times since 1858. The Company wanted to mine the bar to its fullest potential, using the then-new invention of gold dredging barges. The dredges were used to scoop the rich soil from the riverbed and sift out the “flour gold.” The dredging company build two large gold dredges, Eleanor #1 and Eleanor #2, the largest vessels to ever float on Clear Creek. Eleanor #1 dredged the north bank of the creek and Eleanor #2 dredged the south bank.
The dredges sat in river ponds as their large conveyor bucket lines scooped soil from the river and deposited tailings behind as great dunes of cobblestone.
Unfortunately, while the dredges were good for the economy, they also ruined fertile bottoms soils, making the land unfarmable forever. Golden area farmers refused to sell land to the company. Also, the flour gold proved to be too fine in particulate size for the technology to be able to recover it all from the soils at Arapahoe Bar. In 1907, the company left Arapahoe Bar and dismantled the dredges for redeployment. Eleanor #1 can be seen today as the Reiling Dredge in French Gulch near Breckenridge, Colorado. Eleanor #2 was sent to Sacramento, California.
Background: Eleanor #1, circa 1904. Courtesy Denver Public Library, Western History Department.
Location. 39° 45.412′ N, 105° 13.37′ W. Marker is in Golden, Colorado, in Jefferson County. Marker is on Washington Avenue. Touch for map. Near the Washington Ave. bridge. Marker is in this post office area: Golden CO 80401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Early History of Clear Creek (here, next to this marker); Settlement of Clear Creek Valley (here, next to this marker); Farming (here, next to this marker); Tourism (here, next to this marker); Settler Farm Wife’s Initiative (a few steps from this marker); First Bicycle Mishap in Golden (a few steps from this marker); A Daring Rescue (a few steps from this marker); Porcelain and Malted Milk (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Golden.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 17, 2011, by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 683 times since then and 18 times this year. Photo 1. submitted on December 17, 2011, by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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