In a long forgotten and remote corner of Mariposa County, at the intersection of West Westfall and Preston Roads, one can still see the crumbling stone ruins of an old copper smelter.
Nearby, and in what is now Madera County, are the remains of the three main copper mines of the Foot Hill Copper Belt; the Buchanan, the Daulton, and the Jesse Belle.
2. The Daulton Mine was about 13 miles south of our smelter, but only a mile from the Southern Pacific’s branch line to Raymond. This mine was the greatest producer in the area.
3. The Jesse Belle Mine is located about ten miles from the smelter on Preston Road. The mine was a late bloomer, in that it was not discovered and developed until the World War I era. In the three decades between 1919 and 1949, this mine produced 38,750 pounds of copper, and as a by-product, 90 ounces of gold.
Our Mystery involves several questions:
2. If so which one?
3. Why was this particular site selected?
4. What years was it in operation?
If anyone has any information about this old smelter please leave a comment at the bottom of this page or contact Fresno Flats Museum.
Submitted by Roger Mitchell
Fresno Flats Historical Park & Museum