Ever wonder what it would be like to travel back in time? What would it be like to live 150 years ago?
All you have to do to find out is travel to Nevada City and Virginia City in Montana, and you’ll know all about it.
Nevada City and Virginia City are both ghost towns from the mid-1800’s. When gold was discovered in Alder Creek, people rushed to the area to try and strike it rich. Of course, most of those people didn’t find much gold at all but altogether the whole crowd managed to find between 30 and 60 million dollars in gold. In time, the gold rush was over and the miners moved on to seek their fortunes in other streams, but the towns they left behind are very interesting today.
After most of the miners left disappointed, companies arrived with dredges to look for gold. In the Alder Creek Valley, there were five dredges.
Dredges in sizes ranging from a number 2 (the smallest) to a number 16 (the largest) worked the stream and managed to take out between 150 and 200 million dollars in gold!
Dredges work by using a whole string of buckets to drag along the bottom of the stream and dig up bucketfuls of dirt and rock.
The gravel, which contains the free gold, are then dumped into a revolving screen called a trommel. In the trommel it is washed and the oversized gravel is dumped behind the boat with conveyor belt called a stacker.
The gravel which contains the free gold is funneled into sluice boxes where the gold sinks to the bottom where it can be gathered. Gold is much heavier than the other rocks, so it is fairly easy to gather once the lighter sand and gravel is washed away.