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A Trip to the Soledad Copper Mining District.
EDITOR BULLETIN. — Having been appointed by a number of gentlemen of this city to investigate the copper mines of the "Soledad Mining District," Los Angeles county, a brief description of the trip may interest some of your readers.
On Tuesday, March 18th, I started on the Senator, and in 30 hours of beautiful steam traveling over unruffled waters, and with a serene and clear sky above, reached Santa Barbara. From that place I took the stage and made a most delightful trip over the sandy beach. The stage makes the trips between Santa Barbara and San Buenaventura, when the tide is out, with the ocean on one side and the high bluffs of the coast on the other. This trip was picturesque, pleasant and exhilarating in the extreme. On arriving at the old town of San Buenaventura, I found it difficult to procure a horse, the male portion of the town being absent on a rodeo expedition, and still more difficult to get a saddle. A native here will coolly tell you that he would sooner think of lending you his wife than his saddle. The idea of obtaining a conveyance was entirely out of the question, the only one in town having been damaged during the flood. The wagon-maker had been trying ever since to mend it, and as I could not afford to wait for him, and having succeeded in finding a caballo, I got started and traveled up the Santa Clara valley, and along the south fork of the Santa Clara river, over a tract of country the most delightful on this side of Eden — covered with grass and clover, all of 18 inches long, often marked with the track of the red deer, with the flowers blooming and feathered songsters caroling forth their sweet notes, presenting nature in her most lovely habiliments, glorious to behold.
About 60 miles from San Buenaventura I struck the mineral region, and found about 100 people busy at work — some tunneling, sinking shafts, and recording claims. At the present time about 50 ledges are located — the most prominent of which are the Maris, Wellington, Sam Houston, Mammoth, Minerva, Yarbrough, Santa Clara, Baxter and San José. A company of capitalists from Los Angeles — Major Scrobell, engineer — are constructing smelting works to reduce the ore on the ground, and from the abundance of wood and water in the immediate vicinity, there is every reason to expect success. A level plateau, of about two miles broad, close to the district, has been laid out for a town, and called "Ravenna City," after Señor Ravenna, an Italian gentleman who was the first to commence mining operations there. This town is on the right bank of the south fork of the Santa Clara, and is beautifully located.
Some experienced miners from Washoe, who are now working some of the ledges, declare that the outcroppings are more favorable for the precious metals than those found at either Washoe or Esmeralda; and, judging from samples found on the surface and from the ledges opened, the results are likely to eclipse anything yet discovered. Assays of the ore from some of the ledges have been made and found rich in gold and silver, in combination with copper.
The miners and settlers all protest strongly against the Toll-road bill of one Mr. Farley of San Francisco, to whom they seem anxious to pay their respects on his first arrival. They say there is just as much occasion for a toll-road on the valley as for a fifth wheel on a coach.
Samples of the ore from the district may be seen at the room of Mr. Barry, No. 636 Sacramento street.