Low lakes reveal ruins

By Alex MacLean, The Union Democrat January 29, 2014 10:30 am

The Eagle-Shawmut Mine is visible in Lake Don Pedro because of low water levels. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Submerged relics of long-lost Mother Lode towns and gold mines are beginning to reappear as water levels in area reservoirs continue to decline amid a multi-year drought.

The most striking example can be seen at Don Pedro Reservoir, where the remains of the former Eagle-Shawmut gold mine have emerged. The concrete foundations of the stamp mill and mine, which operated for the first half of the last century, can be seen from the end of Shawmut Road in Chinese Camp. The Eagle-Shawmut was submerged under hundreds of feet of water in 1971 when the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts completed construction of the dam at Don Pedro. The nearby town of Jacksonville was also flooded.

The last time Eagle-Shawmut Mine appeared was in 1992, at the end of the state’s last drought, said Carol Russell, who works at the Don Pedro Lake Visitor Center.

Don Pedro’s current water elevation is 733 feet above sea level, about 100 feet less than full. The top of the mine’s foundation became visible when the level dropped to about 750 feet, Russell said. 

 

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