The Pokerville Mine

On the ancient bed of the Consumnes River in Amador County, California there was a mining camp in the early 1850's called Puckerville by some, but mostly Pokerville and Poker Camp (likely after the miner's gaming habits). It was recorded as Puckerville on the County map of 1866, but today it is known as Plymouth, the current site of the Amador County Fair!

The Pokerville Mine at the Amador County Fairgrounds was created to display some of the methods and equipment  that were used for hard rock gold mining after the California Gold Rush. A full-sized working wood headframe from one of the many hundreds of small mines is depicted. An old time gas engine hauls an ore bucket filled with ore up from the mine shaft which typically was put through a crusher, and then was fed into the working rotary stamp mill for further processing.

The Straub Rotary Stamp Mill

William Barton Straub moved to California in 1900 and founded the Empire Foundry Company of Oakland in 1903. In 1909, he founded the Straub Manufacturing Company of Oakland, California, and was president of both companies. Straub Manufacturing specialized in building mining machinery such as the Straub Rotary Stamp Mill, grinding mills and gold dredges. The Pokerville Mine Straub 10 Stamp Mill seen operating in the above video had a 5 ton capacity, and was likely manufactured between 1909-1933. It was used in a local mine and donated to the Fairgrounds. It was installed in 2003.

In 2010, the Pokerville Mine had a famous visitor. Huell Howser, creator of the PBS series  "California's Gold" and his film crew visited the Amador Fair, and had a "Great Old Time" at the Sawmill and Pokerville Mine exhibits. "Truly a big part of California's Gold"!

Huell Howser at the Pokerville Mine, Amador County Fair, Plymouth, CA
photo: 2010 L-R Huell Howser, Bob Wolin in front of the Pokerville Mine

Ore Crusher and Engines

The Pokerville Mine gives local early gasoline engine collectors a chance to bring their pride and joy to the Fair and operate a gold mine! Several engines are required to run the mill, a jaw crusher, and the ore bucket up and down the shaft. A fun time for all!

Head Frame, Hoist and Ore Bucket

The Pokerville Mine headframe was constructed in early 2001, and has been repaired and oiled on a regular basis to maintain and preserve it. The workings are powered by both flat belts and a rope belt system. Future plans include building a roof over a good part of the structure to protect the stamp mill and other machinery. Most stamp mills were actually in buildings to protect both machinery and men from the weather.


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