On a past visit to the area I had tried to find this mill building, I missed it by mere yards, a few trees away. This time I was going to succeed.
The Mother Lode Mine is a mercury mine in the Ochoco Mountians of central Oregon. Here cinnabar ore was crushed and roasted to release quicksilver that would have been used in the region’s gold mines.
First claimed as a gold mine in 1899, mercury was discovered in 1900, mining continued off and on under various mining companies until 1968. Total production was likely around 352 flasks, or about 2,900 pounds of mercury.
The impact of the sugar industry in these islands simply cannot be overstated. For over a century sugar was the dominant industry in the islands consuming land, water, and people. These islands were shaped by sugar, physically and culturally.
So much of what you see today is a direct resut of sugar, many people and cultures that now call these islands home are descended from the immigrant laborers who came to work the plantations. These immigrants brought with them thier languages and so much more. So many traditions, foods, and words, blended with the Native Hawaiian culture to create the island culture we enjoy.
While this legacy is seen on almost all of the islands it seems most visible on the southern shore of Kauai, perhaps as these plantations were some of the last to shut down, and very little has replaced or re-developed in the area. Plantation towns sit in the shadow of rusting mills that loom over the landscape.