Tiger and Mammoth-St. Anthony Mines: the beginnings of the Tri-Community

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By John Hernandez

The first mining claim at Tiger was made by Charles Dyke and T.C. Weed and was named the Hackney. The claim was made on a quartz vein that became known as the Collins vein.

The first known gold produced in the area was in 1881. The surface mining did not produce enough to make the claim profitable.

In 1882, an Austrian Immigrant, Frank Schultz filed two claims along the Collins vein, the Mars and the Mammoth. It was said that around 1880 Schultz had been prospecting in what is now Oracle along with Albert Weldon and Alex McKay.

For some reason Schultz got mad, found his way down to the present location of Mammoth, and while prospecting located the Schultz mine. Weldon and McKay are considered to be the founders of Oracle.

Schultz along with a partner named Goldtree began developing the claim. Goldtree installed a Dyer Cannon Ball mill on the banks of the San Pedro River.

The mill was projected to crush 12 tons of ore a day but had been installed incorrectly and was a failure. Schultz and Goldtree sold or leased the claim to a company from Nevada in 1884.

They sunk the Mammoth shaft to a depth of 118 feet. Later in the year, the mine was sold to George Fletcher a wealthy lumberman from Michigan. Fletcher hired Captain Johnson as his manager. The Mammoth shaft was deepened to 300 feet where another gold vein was found.

A 30 stamp mill was built along the San Pedro and workers began coming into the area. By 1887 a U.S. Post Office was established for the town of Mammoth.

The control of the Mammoth mine was turned over to a British syndicate, Mammoth Gold Mines, in 1889. Around this time another nearby mine, the Mohawk, claim began development.

There were two shafts sunk to 300 feet and a 10-stamp mill was built nearby. They began production in 1896 at the rate of 70 tons a day.

A U.S. Post office was established for the town of Schultz which had grown around the two mines. Frank Schultz never got rich off his claims. He established a store in the town named after him and continued to prospect in the area.

He died in 1918 and is buried in the old Mammoth cemetery. In 1897 the company that owned the mine changed its name to Mammoth Collins Gold Mines, Ltd.

The official combined production of the Mammoth and Collins mines was 150,000 ounces of gold from 350,000 tons of ore through 1901. The year 1901 found Mammoth Collins Gold Mines, Ltd. Embroiled in litigation.

In April there was a massive cave in which resulted in the closing of the mine and milling operations. The operations would lie dormant for 12 years. During this time the Mammoth mill was destroyed by a fire. The Post office at Schultz was closed in 1902 and the town of Mammoth’s population dwindled to about 300.

Mining activity picked up in Schultz in 1906 as the Mohawk Gold Mining Company was refinanced and reorganized. However, the mine would close in 1912 after producing 20,000 ounces of gold. In 1913 the Young brothers, millionaires from Iowa obtained an option on the Mammoth-Collins claim group.

They proposed some grandiose plans which included deepening the Mammoth shaft to 1800 feet, running a power line from the Ray Consolidated power plant in Hayden to Schultz and building a railroad down the San Pedro Valley to Winkelman. None of these plans worked out and by 1914, the operation died without producing any ore.

World War I was raging in Europe in 1914 and altered the worldwide metals market. Molybdenum once thought of as simply a waste material became a valuable commodity used in the steel industry.

A corporation was formed called the Arizona Rare metals Company. The company gained control of the old mill tailings at Mammoth. They built a processing plant to concentrate wulfenite.

Their operation was so successful that they enlarged and remodeled the plant the following year. The concentrate was worth $300 a ton. The concentrate was bagged into 150-pound sacks and loaded onto freight teams.

The freight wagons were owned by J.L. Clark of Mammoth and hauled the concentrate to Tucson where it was loaded onto a train and shipped to a refinery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From 1914 to 1917 this operation accounted for all of the molybdenum marketed in the United States.

The Mammoth Development Company was formed between late 1917 and early 1918 for the purpose of acquiring and operating the Mammoth and Collins mines. Just as the mine was starting up again, the main shaft caught on fire due to gasoline dripping near a compressor exhaust pipe.

No one was killed as the miners were able to escape through another shaft. By April 100 men were working at the mine. In 1919 the company was renamed St. Anthony Mining and Development Company.

By the end of the year the molybdenum market had vanished and the mining and processing operations were shut down. The production totals during the years 1916 – 1919 were 10,450 ounces of gold and 447,876 pounds of molybdenum.

Mining activity in the 1920s was non-existent in the early 1920s and sporadic from 1925 until the early 1930s. Much of the reason was the Great Depression.

The Mammoth-St. Anthony Mining Company, Ltd. was formed in 1934. In 1935 important investments were made and development of the mine began in earnest. Continuous electrical power was brought to Mammoth from Hayden which received power from the Coolidge Dam.

Mammoth-St. Anthony had paid $60,000 to install the 24 miles of power lines and made a deal with the U.S. Government. The mine properties received reduced electrical rates in exchange for building the power lines. The town of Mammoth now received power and in 1939 the line was extended to Oracle.

In 1937 the Mammoth-St. Anthony Mining Company purchased the Molybdenum Gold Mining Company mill. With newer technology at the mill claimed a 90 percent recovery rate. From the mine ore gold, silver, lead, molybdenum and vanadium were extracted.

Copper and zinc production would not be reported until 1943. By 1938 the mine employed 122 men and produced 9,000 tons of ore a month. On March 15, 1939 a Post Office was established in the growing area around the mine.

The new town was christened Tiger which the mine had been commonly called since the 1920s. The town’s population peaked at around 1,800 and the company employed 500.

During World War II there was a labor shortage due to able-bodied men being called into military service. As the Tiger mine produced strategic metals, some soldiers were released from service early to work in Tiger.

The mine looked at the possibility of bringing in Mexican nationals to work. After the war lead and zinc continued to be mined but little else. In 1951 mining of lead and zinc declined due to a flood of imports.

In Dec. 1952 the Tiger mine suspended operations. On Feb. 11, 1953, Magma Copper Company purchased nearly all of the property of St. Anthony Mining and Development at Tiger. The Post Office was closed on Nov. 26, 1954 and the town evacuated. Many Tiger families moved their homes to Mammoth and Oracle.

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