CEO Blog - June 6, 2012
Wednesday, June 06 2012 02:00

Storey County recently hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new Visitors Welcome Center ornamented with historical artifacts from the town’s rich mining legacy.  The most prominent feature greeting visitors is the towering Historic Keystone Head Frame.  Comstock Mining coordinated its donation last fall and a team of Storey County, State of Nevada and local contractors collaborated to reinforce the century-old frame and relocate it from the southern end of the Lode to the northern end of Virginia City.


Comstock Mining’s Scott Jolcover in the center holding the ribbon for cutting.

Our team is pleased to contribute this historic relic for the interested public, including researching relevant information (with the great help of John Bennetts of Silver City, whose father Harry Bennetts worked in the Keystone Mine with E.A. (Bob) Montogomery).  We believe this mine produced the last great bonanza of its day, before it was shut down in the mid 1940’s.


1930’s Montgomery Shaft located at the Keystone Mine.

Photo courtesy of UNR Special Collections

The Comstock Keystone Mine shafts located in Gold Hill, on the Silver City branch of the Comstock Lode, used two shafts on either side of SR-342, then SR-341.  It was common to recycle head frames from one shaft to another and we believe the head frame, stamped 1929, was used in operations prior to its location on the Comstock Keystone Mine, which halted operations around 1943.  The ore from the Keystone Mine was milled at the Dayton Consolidated Mining Company just south and west of Silver City on SR-341 and sent to the Carson City Mint.


Keystone Mine head frame on Route 341 in Gold Hill, NV, to be donated by Comstock Mining Inc.

The donated Keystone head frame is a wooden, tandem sheave head frame for a two-compartment shaft. Sheaves are the grooved, cast iron spoke wheels at the top of the head frame that carry the rope, and the sheaves are in tandem because one is right behind the other.

Comstock Keystone Mine had a recorded (State) production of 15,074 tons yielding $146,414 between 1933 and 1939. In modern pricing*, this equates to about $67,978,500 in Gold and $7,343,375 in Silver.  Dayton Consolidated Mining Company took control of the property around 1936, reopened the Keystone Shaft, and resumed production.

The shaft was used by Dayton Consolidated in conjunction with the New York Shaft, which they acquired in 1939, to produce $1,616,000 from 164,735 tons of ore from the Keystone Mine and $555,799 from 60,567 tons of ore in the Justice: this production spanned the years 1936 to 1942.

For further research, the Dayton Consolidated Mining Company records appear in Couch and Carpenter’s “Nevada’s Metal and Mineral Production (1943).”

See below for some photos of the delicate move of the head frame by the professional team put together by Storey County.

We very much appreciate participating in plans that visibly protects, preserves, restores, enhances and celebrates the value of the historical Comstock landscape.  We hope that this highly visible project will be celebrated for a long, long time.

Kindest Regards,

Corrado De Gasperis
President and CEO

*2012 pricing $1500/troy oz gold and $25/troy oz silver, with doré mix of 10% gold and 90% silver