With Hensley Lake water levels down most of the lake bed is now exposed. Grub Gulch Chapter 41-49 E Clampus Vitus has been doing a research project mapping the location of several historical sites on the dry bed of Hensley Lake and the actual Flume Route on the Fresno River. The preliminary results have been presented to the Army Corps of Engineers rangers at the lake.
While exploring the Flume Route on the north end of the lake by the inlet, we discovered a tunnel on the east side of the river. The tunnel is approximately fifty feet long and five feet in diameter and goes through a jetty in the hillside high above the river. The Hensley Lake bike trail goes right over the top of the tunnel but cannot be seen from that vantage point.
Remains of flume footings show that the tunnel is directly on the route it followed but we think it may be too small in diameter for a flume. What was the purpose of the tunnel and who built it? Did the flume really go through this because it was easier than building an additional trestle around the hillside? We know some gold mining was being done in the area so was this an attempt at a mine shaft?
Historian, Grub Gulch Chapter 41-49 E Clampus Vitus.
Follow-Up on History Mystery #32
Thank you to the Raymond Museum visitors that came up with ideas about the French Gulch mining operation. We did not receive any facts online at History Mystery, but we did have several folks see the question, and when they stopped by, gave their opinions. Then some folks saw the question on History Mystery and stopped by the museum and showed me photographs. Very interesting! Thanks to Ian and Isabeau for the wonderful information. I will share a photo when they email it to me.
There definitely was a mining operation at French Gulch but not a large one. The take out of it was not recorded in any county records that we have found, but there is a depression there in the earth and it is listed in Mines of Madera County but with no other facts. We are still working on who might have had any claims there and if they were tied to any other claims in the area. Thank you to Andy, Charlie, and Walt! Any other information will be greatly appreciated!
Lynn Northrup – Raymond Museum