Thismine was discovered in 1870, during the early stages of the gold rush. It is 1,200 feet long, 8 feet in width and has several levels, all of which are connected by winzes and shafts. The southerly extensions are part of the another mine.
These early discoveries are what helped form Julian into what it is today. “Banner City” quickly developed as more and more mines began sprouting. The miners gave the name Banner City after a flag which was raied above the Redman’s Mine (later named the Chariot Mine). In no time Banner had a full-fledged town, complete with 78 saloons, 3 stamp mills a freight station a cemetery and school!
To make production faster and easier, a toll road was created known as the Wilcox Toll Rd. The toll was as follows: 1 cent for a hog, sheep, or goat, $1 for a 4-horse get-up and 25 cents for a prospector with a jackass. The latter never paid, and the prospector almost always slipped by in the brush!
This mine was used to mine blue ribbon quartz, which were said to have a peculiar form known as “rolls” and disseminated grains and masses of pyrite. It is is the largest and most extensively developed mine near Banner.
It had its own cheap power from water that cascaded unendingly from the heart of the mountain above. Due to a line of disturbance of percolating waters, deposited silica developed in enormous quantities creating massive quartz.
One of the daughters of the owner of the mine had to say this about the experience: “My Pappa once had 25 miners, and it was a busy place; we also had a good vegetable garden in the canyon. Pappa also had 80 head of cattle in ‘Bailey Field’ (where the high school is now) at Julian.
We went to school in Banner when we lived at the mine and the school was near all the saloons, all of them being in a row. Mamma would say for us not to tarry near the saloons, but to hurry home.
No one ever bothered us. At Christmas, we always had a program at the school. There would be much music, most of it by stringed instruments, although one man always played the ‘bones’.”
A dam was built above the mine with water piped down through ever-decreasing sized pipe, and shot against a large wheel lined with cups down the Chariot Canyon. The water spun the wheel 200 times a minute, and power, the cheapest kind of power, was created. Drew Bailey’s idea powered the mine for 30 years. The mine is said to have made $500,000, which is the 2nd highest grossing mine in the district. The Chariot mine was the highest profiting mine, but the Chariot was through by 1876, whereas the Relief kept going into the’20s.
If you decide to head out here be mindful of squatters who are attempting to claim the land (it’s not actually theirs). Instead of getting into a scuffle I suggest just being polite and minding your own business.
This pond was as clear and clean as could be. Very tempting to stick my head in it because it was hot out!
You will come across some really neat ruins.
Old scrawlings from the miners: