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Abandoned mercury mines dot Lake, Sonoma, Napa counties

Published Sunday February 5

…Rattlesnake and Silverado, the hideaway for Robert Louis Stevenson on the flanks of Mount St. Helena.

The Sulphur Bank mine was part of the “quicksilver,” or mercury mining boom that took hold in the 1870s in Lake County, as well as Sonoma and Napa counties.

Hundreds of mines dotted the coast mountain ranges during the rush to extract mercury from the area’s reddish deposits of cinnabar ore. Mercury was used to refine gold and silver, but also was employed as an ingredient for wood processing, early photography and medical uses.

The workers at Sulphur Bank were mostly Chinese, but there were also immigrants from Sweden, Norway, Ireland and Mexico, according to 1880 census records.

Article length: About 350 words.
Tags: Calistoga
Read more at Pressdemocrat

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