The Stamp Mill
Part of Valdez's heritage is located 7 miles up beautiful Mineral Creek Canyon. Established as a result of gold fever, the same fever that gave birth to the town of Valdez, the Stamp Mill stands a tribute to the efforts of early miners to strike it rich.
The Stamp Mill then and now is state owned, but it was built by W.L. Smith during the summer and winter of 1913. It took a total of two men to work the stamp mill at all times.
HOW THE STAMP MILL WORKED: Rocks and ore were sent on a car to the crushers. While the rocks were fed under the stamps and being stamped, water was being mixed in. The mixture was then placed on amalgamation plates and the gold was mixed in with mercury. After this step was completed, the mercury was scraped off the plates.Next, a wood fire was built and an iron retrort was placed on the fire. This carried the mercury down a cooling pipe. The mercury was then reused. The gold did not melt very much and it would remain in the retrort. The last step was to send it to the local bank.
STAMP MILL PRODUCTION HISTORY: During its first year of operation, the stamp mill produced 120 tons of ore and used only two stamps that weighed a total of 1,200 lbs.
Whether you're a local or a tourist, why not pack a nice lunch, get on your walking shoes and take a hike up to the stamp mill or hop in a car and drive the 6.8 miles on the dirt-packed road. Enjoy a piece of history amid the splendor of Mineral Creek Canyon.
CREDITS: Heather Polk, Cheryle Sontag, & High School Journalism Students. Thanks to Valdez Heritage Center and Mr. John Kelsey