Discovered by Oregon-bound emigrants in , the gold-choked canyon has been sought after for over years. It has lured and enticed countless prospectors but its location still remains a mystery today. What has been termed "Blue Bucket country" comprises more than 40, square mines of rugged mountains, canyons, and volcanic plateaus. The area of interest includes most of southeastern Oregon, part of northwestern Nevada, and a slice of southwestern Idaho.
The rugged mountains near Silver City, Idaho form the eastern boundary while Fort Rock Valley and the Lake region of south-central Oregon make up the western border. Like most of the great Western tales of lost gold and silver mines, the Blue Bucket story has a number of varying accounts, some of them contradictory.
It is an immense and staggering amount of terrain to cover! The many accounts of the Blue Bucket discovery all agree on a number of important points. Regardless of the actual location of the gold-filled canyon, all versions of the tale concur on the following details: It turns out that the only major difference between the various accounts centers around the point of departure from the main Oregon Trail. Of course, the subsequent route used by the emigrants depended entirely on that choice of departure. One account has the emigrant train turning northwest from the Oregon Trail into the Black Rock country of Nevada.
While plodding through a deep and narrow canyon, the children in the train discovered some "pretty pebbles" in the dry stream bed. They collected a few of the samples and stashed them in the blue water buckets carried by each wagon.
Only later did they find out that the "pebbles" were nuggets of pure gold. The Oregon accounts are the most numerous, and indeed most researchers place the Lost Blue Bucket Mine somewhere in Oregon. One account has the emigrant train cutting northwest from the main trail into the Warner Valley of south-central Oregon.
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Somewhere in this area, the emigrants found themselves crossing a dry stream bed floored with lava. In the cavities and potholes that scored the canyon floor, the emigrants discovered numerous "yellow rocks" which they proceeded to collect. Again, only later did they discover the real nature of those rocks. Another Oregon account has the emigrant train cutting northwest into the Malheur River country of east-central Oregon. From there, a portion of the emigrant train crossed over to the Little Malheur River, then detoured through the rugged mountains until they encountered the Malheur River, near the mouth of Crane Creek.
The legend sparked a gold rush to the area of modern-day Baker City, Oregon. There are three real mines in the U. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Archived from the original PDF on The Lost Blue Bucket Mine , accessdate: Archived from the original on Baker - Oregon Gold , accessdate: This article includes a list of references , but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations.
April Learn how and when to remove this template message. And you might think they should have known, too. But you have to remember, this was in Until , virtually nobody knew the West had any gold in it at all.
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The idea that they were looking at a fortune in precious metal never crossed their minds. But they did find that the strange rocks made great sinkers for fishing — the current in the river was too fast for their lines without a sinker. Then they moved on.
Is legendary Blue Bucket Mine still out there in Oregon mountains?
The poor starving oxen have too much weight to pull as it is. But they had no idea where it was. No one has ever re-discovered that spot. Many have tried — in fact, prospectors looking for it found dozens of other lucrative mines in the Blue Mountains — but the Blue Bucket Mine remains undiscovered to this day.
As a side note, one man actually made his fortune pretending he knew where it was. Quickly he put together a party of 58 men and off they went. The volunteers decided not to kill him.
Instead, they took everything but his clothes and kicked him out of camp and started for home. On the way, they hit gold. Not the Blue Bucket Mine, but a big enough strike for everyone to stake a lucrative claim — even Adams, who had been following the party scavenging food from camp leftovers. The town of Blue Bucket has yet to be platted. Is it still out there, somewhere in the mountains of northeast Oregon, waiting for a weekend adventurer, elk hunter or fly fisherman to stumble upon?
Have subsequent floodwaters covered all the yellow pebbles with silt yards deep?
In Quest of the Blue Bucket Mine
Or did some crazy lonely prospector find it, mine it secretly and disappear? There are good reasons to be skeptical of this frontier Oregon legend; there are aspects of the Blue Bucket story that make it clear it's been at the very least augmented over the years. First, if the nuggets made such great fishing sinkers, and the settlers were so hungry, would they not have brought a few as fishing tackle?
Secondly, why are there no names associated with this story?