There’s a lot of value to be had in having an in depth understand of an area’s mining history when it comes to locating rocks and mineral in the present day. These are the titles in my collecting that I have used to learn about the areas that we visit.
This portion of my collection is looking a little thin currently, but I hope to expand it in the coming years.
Title: The Mines and Geology of the Loomis Quadrangle Okanogan County, Washington by Washington Geological Service and Kerby Jackson
Review: Whenever possible I prefer a hard copy of something vs. PDF files, but I understand that for many people having a copy of something for free on the computer is just as good. This book is a reprint of a 1972 publication from the Washington Geological Survey. It is very thorough and goes into the geology of the area in great detail.
Title: The Republic Mining District of Washington by Washington Geological Service and Kerby Jackson
Review: This is a reprint of a 1910 document on the Republic Mining District in Washington. It’s interesting to read about the mining that was taking place in the area at the time, but this document is also available online for free without the photos and introduction by Jackson, so for most people that might be a better value being that it’s free. For those like a hard copy and want to learn about the area, this is a good resource.
Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines
This series of books might very well be the most impressive and well-researched books I own. The amount of time spent producing these books will blow your mind when you read them. They really are something that needs to be seen to be believed.
The series consists of six volumes and I currently own all 6 volumes, and they are undoubtedly a crown jewel of my library.
They can be expensive, so when you find them at a reasonable price, you should scoop them up while you can.
Title: Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines: The West Central Cascade Mountains Volume 1 by Phil Woodhouse, Daryl Jacobson and Victor Pisoni
Review: I was very surprised to see this book in my local used book store in the local history section being that it’s 300 miles from me, when I picked it up and saw the price of $5.95 you could not have pried it from my hands if you tired. I’m somewhat reading these backwards in order or release, as the latest volumes are for the areas we visit the most. This being the first book in the series, it’s smaller than the rest of them and doesn’t seem as comprehensive or as thoroughly researched, but it’s still far better than any other book covering the mines of that area.
Title: Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines: The East Central Cascade Mountains and the Wenatchee Mountains Volume 2 by Phil Woodhouse, Daryl Jacobson, Greg Cady and Victor Pisoni
Review: Perhaps it’s because of the region this book covers, but there were more mentions of rockhounding locations in this than the rest of the books in the series, which is particularly interesting to me. Like all the rest of the books in the series, this is an outstanding collection of information about the mines of this area.
Title: Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines: Northern Cascade Mountains Volume 3 by Phil Woodhouse, Daryl Jacobson and Victor Pisoni
Review: I feel like a bit of a broken record with this series of books. I love them all and cannot begin to describe the amount of effort that went into these. They provide such fantastic insight into the rich mining history of Washington in a way that no other book can. The mining areas this book focuses on are the Nooksack, Pasayten, Twisp and Harts Pass. It has exact locations, historical photos, mine maps and some incredible stories from a forgotten time.
Title: Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines: The Western Okanogan Volume 4 by Phil Woodhouse, Daryl Jacobson and Victor Pisoni
Review: This is an outstanding book. When they started working on this volume the authors knew nothing of this area and over the years they managed to research, visit and compile all the rich mining history and locations of the mines in this region and put it all in a book for your easy consumption. I really don’t care about the price of these books because you are buying something that you couldn’t reproduce if you had the rest of your life to do so. Much of the history of these old mines has been forgotten in the boxes of historical society offices and without the work done here to make it accessible much of this history could have been lost for good in some case along with the locations of the mines.
Title: Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines: Okanogan Highlands and Ferry County Volume 5 by Phil Woodhouse, Daryl Jacobson and Victor Pisoni
Review: The detailed listings in this book about the areas mines are second to none. The amount of research put into this is impressive. Most of the mines have detailed directions, GPS or range and township information. They also delve into the history of each mine when that information is available and show mine maps and historical photos, which really makes the listing so much more interesting to read. I would say that the only downside to the book is the including of the mines on the Colville Indian Reservation, which are off limits.
Title: Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines: Stevens and Pend Oreille Counties Volume 6 by Victor Pisoni, Phil Woodhouse and Daryl Jacobson
Review: I really can’t say enough good things about this book and the work that the authors put into it. Since this book focuses on Stevens and Pend Oreille counties, it’s the one that we have used the most and perhaps the best one of the series, since it’s the last one they produced. These listings in this are impressive, and it very well might be the most researched account of the subject produced. The details and research put into each listing had to have taken a lot of time, but it’s the result is well worth it. If you are eager to explore the mines of northeast Washington, then you need to have this book in your collection.
Map Metrics’ Geologic Atlas of Northeast Washington
These are very niche books but if you live in NE Washington and want to go rockhounding in Ferry, Pend Oreille, and Stevens counties these are must have publications to help you in the locating of mines and minerals.
Title: Geologic Atlas of Ferry County by Joe Barreca
Review: This is such an excellent companion to anyone exploring Ferry County, Washington. The book gives a brief explanation of the area’s geology before getting into the maps. This book, along with his others, is laid out like a Thomas Guide if you remember those, except this one has GPS listings to 500 mines and associated minerals. These atlases might cost a fair amount, but in my opinion they are well worth it since they contain information you cannot easily find anywhere else, and they are beautifully printed in color and on very high-quality paper.
Title: Geologic Atlas of Pend Oreille County by Joe Barreca
Review: My thoughts on this atlas by Joe is that it’s very similar to his others, in that it’s outstanding and a must-have item when exploring Pend Oreille County, Washington. His explanation of the area’s geology is spot on and is a nice introduction for anyone not familiar with the area. This atlas contains the location of 400 mines and their associated minerals. These atlases might cost a fair amount, but in my opinion they are well worth it since they contain information you cannot easily find anywhere else, and they are beautifully printed in color and on very high-quality paper.
Title: Geologic Atlas of Stevens County by Joe Barreca
Review: Of the three atlases I have by Joe, this is the one that I have used the most, and it also contains the most listings. I have found to all listings be very accurate. The quality of the printing is excellent and the summary of the area’s geological past is very well written. This atlas contains the location of 960 mines and their associated minerals. These atlases might cost a fair amount, but in my opinion they are well worth it since they contain information you cannot easily find anywhere else, and they are beautifully printed in color and on very high-quality paper.