Richard Kelly & Nancy Oliver write:
We have noticed a lot of information concerning the Dalles Mint, some of it incorrect, that has appeared in The E-Sylum lately, and we would like to clarify a few facts. We have included some information from one of our columns that appeared in the August, 2011 issue of "The Numismatist" and here is a synopsis of that column.
"In 1861, gold was discovered in Oregon about 150 miles southeast of the town of The Dalles located along the Columbia River. The Dalles became the center transfer point to send the miner's gold dust west along the Columbia to Portland where a steamer was then taken south to San Francisco and the gold dust was brought to the mint on Commercial Street to be made into coin or bars.
The need for a mint in Oregon became apparent, Portland fought to have a mint built there, but The Dalles won out. In 1865, Congress approved money to build it, but there were many delays. The most important occurred when the new mint's superintendent, William Logan, was killed in the wreck of the steamship Brother Jonathan in July of 1865.
Delays continued, until a new superintendent H.A. Hogue was appointed in June of 1868, and then things started looking up. Finally, in Feb of 1869, construction began with the blasting away of solid rock, but several projections of rock wouldn't budge, so 12 inches of concrete was laid on top for the foundation. Sandstone and granite for the two-story building came from a quarry just 5 miles away, and late in 1869, the first floor was completed and said to be quite attractive stonework.
However, there were several more work stoppages in 1870, one of them was the fact that the Treasury was re-thinking its need for a mint in Oregon, since gold production was slowing down in the state, and in addition there were cost overruns.
Nevertheless, construction resumed in March of 1871, and the 2nd story was halfway completed shortly thereafter. But on August 17th of that year, a destructive fire, started by 2 young boys, consumed much of the area around the mint. Because of its solid stonewalls, the mint held off the flames, and in fact, firefighters, from that point, were able to extinguish the flames of the surrounding area.
Shortly after this, the Treasury Department decided to not complete the building, even though construction was nearly finished. In March of 1875, Congress passed an Act giving the building to the state of Oregon for educational or charitable use. Unable to find a proper use for the building, the state sold it in 1889 to private citizens.
Over the years, various private concerns occupied the structure, and there were also several years when it was vacant. The building has also undergone several structural changes, but most of the rear section retains the distinctive stonework, which identifies it as the old mint that never was.
The Dalles Mint is the only mint approved and nearly completed, but never struck a coin.
Now almost 140 years old, the Erin Glenn Winery currently occupies what is left of The Dalles Mint building."
Thanks for setting us straight. This is one of the best things about The E-Sylum - getting the information from researchers in the know.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
THE PROPOSED U.S MINT AT THE DALLES, OREGON
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster