By Stan-THE-Man

  NOTICE: The old BeeHive Mine is located within 160+ acres of Patented Mining Claims that are under current ACTIVE MINING OPERATION. DO NOT TRESPASS or open gates if you do not have authorization to do so. Interfering with an active mining operation can be a criminal offense. The current owner/operator and his family enjoy a peaceful existence and cherish their privacy. PLEASE RESPECT THEIR PRIVACY - AND THE LAW! Stay off his land unless you have permission to be there. There are several buildings, including homes in the area - PLEASE no shooting in the immediate area!

  The historic old BeeHive mine (originally called the Zieger property) was believed to have begun operation in the late 1800's and according to several sources may have produced between 1500 and 2500 OZ of Gold. Due to incomplete records, and the wide-spread high-grading that took place on some of the richest pockets, the real numbers will never be known but may be double or triple the estimates. According to a 1934 report by the Arizona Bureau of mines *, the principle workings were east of the quartz diorite, in Schist that was intruded by dikes of aplite and pegmatite in a northward dipping vein. It is a continuation of the Octave fissure and intersects with a Northwestward-trending shear zone near the Octave mine 2 miles to the southwest. Recent geological studies agree that the vein of the Beehive is actually an extension of the Octave vein with identical mineral composition. Also according to the 1934 report there were a few thin veinlets of quartz present (stringers), with some flat nuggets and flaky gold found in the sheared schist.

  The original Main shaft of the BeeHive suffered some smaller cave-ins over the years, but during the 1980's when several mining companies performed exploratory work and core drilling they caused a larger collapse of the main tunnel and may have sealed it permanently. It would take an excavator to locate the original shaft buried beneath tons of rubble. The current owner was once doing some work with a backhoe in the area and broke through a small hole at the top of the shaft. A stream of water spurted 6 feet in the air until the pressure equalized. He could see the 18" timbers and when he touched one of them, a piece of it tore off like old paper. This area has now filled in and is sealed again and the flow of water has stopped.

This shaft is about a mile away from the Main shaft and is flooded to about the 100 ft level.

  It is believed that the intention of the original owners was to connect some of the side shafts into the main shaft, which is on a slight incline going in. Once the shafts were connected the ore would have been brought out through the main shaft allowing the heavy ore-laden carts to be brought out of the mine at a slight decline, and the empty carts brought back into the mine at only a slight incline. Due to the shut down of the mine for the war efforts, the connection of the shafts was never completed.

The Octave vein.

  There is a smaller shaft on the top of a nearby hill about a mile south of the Main shaft that some people believe was the original shaft, but evidence suggests that this shaft was at least worked later then the main shaft. At this smaller shaft there are two rails which descend at a steep angle to 350 feet, but the shaft is now flooded to around the 100 foot level. The actual age of the shaft itself is unknown, and it may be the shaft reported by Mr. Barth in the 1930's to have produced some gold ore from a gently northward-dipping vein.

  Remnants of the old mill and assayer's office still remain, and the crushing mill interestingly was built with concrete shipped in from Portland and mixed with local sand and gravel on site. On the hill just above the old mill, evidence still exists of the small miner's camp with it's own septic system.

The remnants of the old mill site. The Miner's camp was on the hill above the mill.

  The whole area around Rich Hill is full of history and adventure, and a little Gold to boot. It's a wonderful area to enjoy, but for your own safety please stay out of the many old mines in the area, and respect other peoples property and rights so that we can all enjoy the adventure of our hobby for many years into the future.

  • Source: University of Arizona Bulletin Vol. V, No. 6, Arizona Bureau of Mines, Arizona Lode Gold Mines and Gold Mining, by Eldred D. Wilson, J.B. Cunningham, and G. M. Butler, July 1, 1934.