Kentucky Mine and Museum
The Kentucky Mine is located on highway 49 just a mile north outside the town of Sierra City in Sierra County. The Kentucky Mine began development during the late 1850s. The mine consisted of two claims, the Grandma and the Kentucky totaling 40 acres and covered a lode of 3000 feet. The Kentucky load an extension of the Sierra Buttes, had a vein averaging 30 inches and carried some high grade ore.
A five-stamp mill was built at the mine during the 1860s, which was increased to a ten-stamp mill in 1888. The mill was driven by water from a flume built from the Yuba River. The mine was later abandoned, only to be relocated in 1910 by Emil Loeffler of Sierra City. Emil ran the mine with his son, Adolph “Dutch” Loeffler, until 1944 when Dutch was killed in a mine accident. The current six level mill onsite was built starting in 1928 from salvaged parts of other local stamp mills in the area. The mine finally closed in 1953.
Today the grounds of the Kentucky Mine are part of the Sierra County Historical Park, which contains an excellent museum as well as a fully operational stamp mill and one of the few operating pelton wheels. The museum contains displays and artifacts about Native Americans, early day mining, logging, pioneer skiing, and day-to-day life a hundred years ago. Outdoors more mining relics and picnic tables may be found in shady grounds. A short walk up mountain is the portal of a fifteen hundred foot horizontal mine shaft and miners cabin. Docent lead tours are available and very informative.
Video of working pelton wheel