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Background photo of the beach at Whale Cove was made by Bryce Buchanan in 2004. (Via WikiMedia Commons, cc/by/SA)
RANDOLPH, COOS COUNTY; 1840s, 1850s:
Is treasure of lucky beach gold miners still out there?
By Finn J.D. John May 1, 2022
IMAGINE YOU'RE A gold prospector from the Willamette Valley, on your way to the California gold fields in the first year of the 1848 gold rush.
You’re a little late to the party, and you’ve chosen to try to reach the gold fields in a somewhat unusual way: By going over the Coast Range to the beach, and traveling south along the coast.
As you make your way southward by the great ocean, you reach a broad expanse of black sand. And when the sun hits it just right, you can see it’s actually glittering … with tiny flakes and grains of gold.
You’re all alone on the beach. There aren’t even any other footprints. Apparently nobody else was crazy enough to try to travel to the gold fields via Coos Bay. Everyone else in the area, such as there are, has decamped inland to the gold fields.
It’s just you, on the uninhabited edge of a continent, crunching a trillion dollars’ worth of gold under your feet.
This article is still under its initial two-month embargo, during which participating newspapers have exclusive rights to it. Then the rest of this article will appear here!
In the meantime, you can probably find it published on the Website of one of our member newspapers or community radio stations.Thanks for your patience, and thanks for supporting your community newspapers and radio stations!
(Sources: Lost Mines and Treasures, a book by Ruby El Hult published in 1957 by Binford and Mort; “Beach Gold Diggings,” an article by Cain Allen published on the Oregon Historical Society’s Website in 2006)