One morning in 1860 or 1861—historians disagree—Lovely Rogers followed hallowed western tradition and grabbed a rock to throw at his errant mule. Startled by the rock’s weight, he paused and found it speckled with gold. In short order Rogers’ discovery would grow into the Cove Mining District, the most significant cluster of mining enterprises in the southern Sierra. Although the mines of the Cove District are often referred to as the Big Blue, the district was home to a complicated set of mining enterprises including the Sumner, Urbana, Beauregard and the Big Blue itself. By the 1870s the district was one of the leading gold producers in California and home to the largest stamp mill in the nation.
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Tim Kelly archaeologist for the Sequoia National Forest since 2007 and historical archaeology and cultural resource management instructor at CSU Bakersfield, will cover the cycles of boom and bust experienced by the district from its discovery through the closure of the mines at the beginning of World War II on Monday April 16 at 10:30 a.m. at the Kern Valley Museum Annex, 60 Big Blue Road, Kernville (across the street from the Museum).