Friday, May 29, 2009

3 Lost Treasures in Washington State

The great State of Washington is home to numerous legends of lost mines and unrecovered treasure caches in the Northwest. Here are three of these treasure tales from the "Evergreen State:"

Lost Doukhober Silver Mine

In the late 1920s a prospector named Doukhober returned from the wilds of Stevens County in the extreme northeastern part of the state claiming to have discovered a rich silver vein. Putting his money where his mouth was, Doukhober produced a canvas sack full of ore samples which, when assayed, averaged a whopping 1,000 troy ounces of silver per ore ton.

Metal Detectors

For those of you out there who are unfamiliar with precious metals mining ore values, most large modern mining companies can make a tidy profit processing ores that produce less than 1/4 troy ounce per ton of material. So Doukhober's vein was rich beyond the wildest imagination.

Unfortunately for our errant prospector and would-be silver "king," Doukhober was unable to relocate the exact location of his discovery, despite repeated attempts to do so. Thus, the legend of the Lost Doukhober Silver Mine was born.

Many other prospectors and treasure hunters have tried to find the Lost Doukhober over the intervening years, but without success. Interested? If so, start doing your research and then head for Stevens County.

Vashon Island Gold

In the late 1800s a lumberman named Lars Hanson lived and worked on Vashon Island, the largest island in the Admiralty Inlet of famed Puget Sound. Over the years Hanson built up a very successful lumber business that made him a very wealthy man.

Like other entrepreneurs of his era, Hanson did not trust banks and stashed most of his money in and around his property near the town of Burton. Rumor has it that he cached over $200,000 (face value) in gold coins somewhere close to the banks of nearby Judd Creek.

The lucky treasure hunter who locates Hanson's cache will hit the "big one" for certain. Why? Because Hanson's treasure would be worth millions today (either sold for its gold content or better yet, the numismatic value of all those gold coins).

Want to be a millionaire? Find this one and you will be, providing the State and the Feds don't take it all away from you....

Fort Walla Walla's Gold Bars

According to a persistent treasure legend, a small gang of train robbers hit it big when they pulled off a successful heist of a train near Wallula in southeastern Washington's Walla Walla County. What was their take? A shipment of gold bullion in the form of stamped 100 troy ounce bars.

Treasure Hunting

Exactly how many bars of bullion the desperadoes made off with is uncertain, but it was enough to slow them down considerably as they fled the inevitable posse hot on their trail. Worried about their chances of evading the law, they buried the gold near the site of Fort Walla Walla and hoped to return for it later.

But Lady Luck frowned on the now-desperate band of gold thieves when they tried to catch a fast boat for Portland, Oregon in their attempt to escape the relentless lawmen on their tail. They literally "missed the boat" and ended up shot dead (full of that very non-precious metal known as lead).

Carhartt Wear

Today the Fort Walla Walla site is designated as park and contains both a museum and a hospital. Any treasure hunter searching for those lost gold bars will face much more than the usual difficulties locating and recovering this cache.

But if he or she can pull it off, they'll never have to worry about money again. Nice thought isn't it?

Good hunting to all!

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "'Striking it Rich:' California Man's 9-Pound Nugget a Scam?"

(c) J.R. 2009

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