Holden Village Mine Tailing



    Holden Village Calendar - Erwin Weber - 1967


According to Dr. Edmund, the Holden Mine is in Railroad Creek Valley near the crest of the Northern Cascade Mountains about 12 miles west of the upper end of Lake Chelan, Washington. The mine and town can be reached by traveling 40 miles on Lake Chelan to the service dock at Lucerne, the up Railroad Creek Valley about 12 miles by road, rising to over 2000 feet above the level of the lake. The entire town site of Holden, complete with stores, living quarters, recreational facilities, and schools, was built by the Howe Sound Mining Company to accommodate the mining employees. In addition, the company provided village sites for those who wished to build their own dwellings.

Railroad Creek Valley was first explored in some detail by an engineering party in the employ of the Great Northern Railway seeking a passage across the Cascade Mountains in 1887. One of the "engineers" was J. H. Holden, a member of the surveying party. He made note of an iron-stained ore body on the side of Copper Mountain almost 1000 feet above Railroad Creek. After the Great Northern Railroad decided not to use Railroad Valley, Mr. Holden returned to the valley to develop the ore body he had previously observed. But his venture was doomed to failure for lack of funds by the end of World War I in 1918. Very little happened until 1928 when Brittany Mining and Smelting leased the property to explore the ore deposit. In 1937, the Howe Sound Company built the concentrating plant, the mill, the docks on Lake Chelan, and the living accommodations for the miners. In addition, they built roads, and a 54-mile power line to bring in electricity for the mill operation.

My sketch of the Mine in 1967 was selected for the Holden Village calendar. In the foreground are mine tailings overlooking Railroad Creek Valley and Holden Village below. I gave the original sketch with a watercolor wash to the Holden Village Art Collection.