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
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.
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
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).
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.
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).
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.
(c) J.R. 2009