Gold and Mineral Mines of Montana

Historic Long John Frank

20 Acre Placer Claim – Pike’s Peak District – Powell County, Montana

Long John Frank 20 Acre Unpatented Placer Gold Mining ClaimThe Historic Long John Frank Placer Mining Claim for sale, a 20 Acre Unpatented Placer Mining Claim. The claim is located just outside of Gold Creek, Montana. MMC #241112


This is a remote Montana gold mine. Doney Lake Creek which runs through the middle of the claim provides year round water for all your mining needs. During surveying gold was easily found in the material by panning. The claim boasts excellent access and does get visitors driving through on the road. The claim was originally surveyed and sampled for rich, free gold deposits in the gravels.


We estimate the creek bed to be over 600 feet on this claim and there is water year round. It is likely there is some native silver, sapphires and possibly some relics to be found on the claim but the primary commodity will be gold.


It is likely there has been some work done after 1900 based on the remnants and items seen in the area. It is estimated by the surveyors that the claim has been worked intermittently in the early 1900's. No effort to mine for many decades is evident. The gold that you will find on this claim has been washing down from the mines, hills and gulches above and depositing and replenishing the gold on this claim. The ground in the Pikes Peak area is known to average 1 Ozt/20 yrds.


There is road access to this claim and room for staging, parking and other operations.


The best gold is on bedrock but at times there is a clay layer that is a false bedrock and the gold will be on top of this layer. If you want a challenge the clay layer can also hold some nice gold as well. Doney Lake Creek is one of the creeks in the district that was mined by hand in the late 1800's. There is still good gold in the creek, benches and on bedrock on this claim. Look at the last photo showing some of the gold from the area.


Prior to the advent of dredge operations in 1934, nearly half of the gold recovered in the district came from the Pikes Peak placers. The Batterton Bar in the district produced $140,000 in a single season. Gold was found in small particles with some nuggets up to $10 in value. The gold assayed at $17.75 an ounce at a time when pure gold ran $21.67. Some gold from the Larrabee Bank ran as high as $18.60 per ounce.


Part of the pay streak was mined by drifting, but this area was covered by waste rock from mines higher on the hill. Below Treadwater Bar, a 3,000 foot segment of recovered pay streak was worked by a dragline shovel and a dry-land washer (Pardee 1951).


The majority of this claim is virgin ground. Twenty acres of gold bearing ground that averages about 1 ounce per 20 yards of material according to testing.


The Bureau of Mines has estimated that demonstrated U.S. reserves of gold are 85 million ounces. Approximately one-half of the total resources are estimated to be by-product gold, while 40% of the remaining one-half (56 million ounces) could be mined for gold alone ... Most U.S. gold resources are in the nation's western states. About 80% of the U.S. gold resources are estimated to be in Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana and Washington. (Earthsearch, Inc. 1983)

Overview of the Mines

The Long John Frank Mine is in an area with rich gold mining history. But as with all old mines and mining districts in the Western U.S., the old timers NEVER got it all! Why? There are many reasons for this and here is a short list of some of them.

1) In the mining camps 'News' of other 'Strikes' was always coming in and miners seemed to be eager to pick up and leave what they had for the new places. It didn't seem to matter that the new place may not be as good or that by the time they heard of it there wasn't any open ground left for them to stake a claim. The grass is always greener was their belief.

2) Some new strikes were better because they had more gold or more water or easier access - remember back then there were no roads to these places.

3) Some new places were safer. Between Outlaws and hostile Indians there was always something to fear.

4) When the USA entered the second world war congress closed all non-essential mines in the country. Unless a mine could switch to mining other metals for the war or if it was already mining metals and minerals needed for the war effort the mines were forced to close. Very few mines were allowed to stay open and operational. Those mines that closed stayed closed after the war for a few reasons - a lot of the mine owners died in the war and never came back, economic conditions after the war were not good enough to reopen the mines and the owners held the claims hoping the economy would change for the better but most of these owners died before the economy made it economically viable to reopen the mines, many mines were forgotten and 'lost'

5) Comodity prices fluctuate and mines that were profitable at one point in time may not be later and as the prices fluctuate those mines can become profitable again to mine.

So why hasn't anyone claimed these mines now? Mainly the population wrongly believes there is 'no gold left'! If they only knew the truth the west would be flooded with people. Seriously, there is gold almost everywhere in the west and sometimes in places where there has been no history of production and places the old timers never found! The ground the old timers mined still holds gold for many reasons.

First, the methods they used were not the best.

Second, they were in a hurry to get rich and they looked mostly for the easy gold and threw out the material that held a lot of small gold.

Third, they didn't have the ability to process some ores to get the gold.

Fifth, There are books written by people who had first hand accounts of the gold rushes, especially from the Klondike Gold Rush, and they talk about the miners only being interested in the big nuggets of gold and not 'wasting' their time on the small stuff. The women came behind them and picked small gold nuggets out of the 'waste' piles!! Even then, that still left a lot of fine gold. Technology and knowledge is on your side now days. We know more and have equipment that will trap the big stuff but also the tiniest pieces even down to minus 400 mesh and smaller. Yes, -400 mesh is so small a single piece of gold that size won't look like gold. But a hundred of them together will!

Also think about the current state of the country and all that is going on, this could be your last chance to own a gold mine - your own bank. We sell a lot of mining claims and everyone tells us how happy they are with them. Many people first want the gold for the value but once they get out to their own claim they love the freedom they have to work and enjoy the great outdoors. Don't wait, get your own gold mine before it's too late. The Long John Frank Mine is located in the northeast quarter of section 11. It is the closest claim available to Gold Creek, MT on Donley Lake Creek. Long John Frank claim is about 5700 feet in altitude.

While it is sometimes said old mines have been 'worked out' as the saying means there is no gold left, the truth is "it is better to say they are worked over; it is also true that the primitive methods used and the wasteful haste to get rich indulged in, left much of the gold in the ground, so that improved methods ... will give even better results than those first obtained." (MBMG Open Report p. 466)

Montana is ranked 7th by the USGS for total gold production in the US and has 31 mining districts. Gold production for the 1800's to 1968 is 17.8 million ounces and large amounts of gold have been mined from 1968 to present. Geologists have predicted that based on the past and the geology of Montana that several large gold and silver deposits will be found and developed in the future.

Details about the Mine:
Access to the Mine You can drive a full size truck to the mine
Tailing Present None. Loose gravels in the creek bed of small pebbles to larger boulders. Boulders are great places for the gold to hide. Benches on both sides of the creek are virgin ground.
Depth / Length Over 600 feet of creek bed gravels. 1320 feet side to side with gold bearing benches.
Minerals in the Mine Historically mined for gold. Minerals of sapphire, quartz, pyrite, galena, silver, black sands with rare earth minerals would be expected.
Foot traffic at the mine Some
Last Worked Unknown.
Number of Mines 1 Placer
Nearest city with amenities Deerlodge, approximately 18 miles
Access to the Claim A very good dirt road breaks off from the Interstate and runs to the claim.
Parking and Staging on the Claim Claim is situated so it allows for parking of vehicles if desired.
Resources Year round water, grasses, sage and trees
Structures on claim None
Elevation Aprox. 5700 feet

USGS Information

Economic information about the deposit and operations

Operation TypePlacer
Development StatusPast Producer
Commodity typeMetallic


  • Gold- Primary
  • Silver - Tertiary

Nearby Scientific Data

  • Glacial Drift


USGS Database - 10022669, 10270508, 10124553

Mining District Information

Pikes Peak District Information

On May 8 1862, Granville Stuart set up the first effective sluices in Montana. When he found gold, the news was not lost on the prospectors passing through the area. A party of prospectors arrived on May 14 and found diggings that paid 20 cents per pan. On May 20 another party arrived and prospected along a branch of Gold Creek which they named Pikes Peak Creek. On June 1, yet another group of prospectors arrived on the scene and found gravel that paid about $10 to the man by working the stream with sluices (Pardee 1951).
Early placer mining in the Gold Creek area, later to become known as the Pioneer district, was hindered by a lack of sufficient water to mine placer deposits topograph-ically higher than the active streams and by the abundance of large boulders in gold-bearing stream channels. During much of the 1860's, prospectors were more attracted to richer and more easily worked placers such as the Bannack and Alder Gulch districts, approximately 150 mi south of the Pioneer district. The construction of the Rock Creek ditch in 1868-69 rejuvenated mining activity in the Pioneer district and led to discovery and mining of many rich placer deposits in succeeding years (Pardee, 1951 ). The Pioneer district eventually produced approximately $6 million (value at time of production) in gold from placers.
In 1868 or 1869 Conrad Kohrs and others, formed the Rock Creek Ditch Company, to build a 16 mile canal to deliver water from Rock Creek to the Pioneer, Pike's Peak Creek, and Pikes Peak districts. The system initially delivered water to the Gold Hill terraces; the first terrace to be worked was the slope descending down to Pikes Peak Creek. These terraces contained rich gold deposits. Several hundred men worked the placers and a reported $140,000 was recovered in a single season from a pit on Batterton Bar. By 1870, it was estimated that $20,000,000 in placer gold had been taken from the gulches (Pardee 1951; Wolle 1963).
As these placers grew, the town of Yam Hill became deserted and a new town of Pioneer City began to grow. It has been estimated that over a million dollars of gold dust (at $20.67 per ounce) was removed from the Pioneer Bar in the late 1870s and early 1880s (Pardee 1951; Wolle 1963).
Production figures for the creeks of the district have generally been combined reports, so a fair and accurate estimate of the production of each creek cannot be made. The total production of the placer mines in the district, up to 1949, was estimated to be $28,526,000.
Gold Creek and Pikes Peak Creek flow into an area of complexly folded and faulted Mesozoic and Paleozoic sediments which have been intruded by an elongated batholith of quartz monzonite. The lode deposits occur in veins and replacement deposits in highly altered granite or quartz monzonite. None of the lode deposits have been particularly important as points of production, but erosion of these gold-bearing deposits have resulted in extensive placer deposits in ... Pikes Peak Creek. The placer gold occurs in recent stream gravels and also in bench gravels. The deposits have been mined by sluicing, hydraulicking, and dredging (Sahinen 1935).
Prior to ... 1934, nearly half of the gold recovered in the district came from the Pikes Peak placers. The Batterton Bar in the district produced $140,000 in a single season. Gold was found in small particles with some nuggets up to $10 in value. The gold assayed at $17.75 an ounce at a time when pure gold ran $21.67. Some gold from the Larrabee Bank ran as high as $18.60 per ounce.

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