Hey, Answer Girl,

Was there ever gold mining between Casper and Alcova? If there was, was it successful? — Charlie

Dear Charlie,

Wayne Sutherland, a gemstones, metals, and economic geology specialist for the Wyoming State Goelogical Survey, told me that gravel, sand, crushed stone, clay and bentonite have been quarried between Casper and Alcova, but he doesn’t know of any gold mining in that area.

However, gold was mined on Casper Mountain in the early days.

There were many strikes and stakes claimed on the mountain in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and just as much disappointment.

Claims were staked on Casper Mountain as early as 1888, wrote Rick Young, director of Fort Caspar Museum. Early miners reported gold, silver, copper, galena (the natural mineral form of lead sulfide) and asbestos. (Asbestos was a popular building material through the 1970s, until it was widely publicized that it caused health problems, such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.)

By 1890, several families were living and mining on the mountain. In 1891, there were 100 claims for asbestos and others for copper. Mining died off in 1892 until Casper Mountain Copper Mining Company began in 1895. The company failed, as there was not enough copper, silver or gold in the ore to make it profitable.

In 1897, there was a promising gold strike on the northeast slope of the mountain, but it didn’t pan out. (bah-duh-bum!) A strike that same year on Elkhorn Creek was also a letdown: It was reported to have run at $1,012 per ton, so townspeople scrambled up the mountain to stake their claims, using every available mode of transportation. A few days later, they discovered that it was worth a mere $3.10 per ton.

A mining company called Blue Cap set out to mine high concentrations of copper in 1905, but it, too, was a failure.

At that time, there was a successful asbestos mine promoted by A.E. Minium. It probably would have continued to be successful had Minium not nearly been sent to prison.

Hey, Answer Girl,

Do Casper police have quotas? — Shane

Dear Shane,

The Casper Police Department does not have a citation quota, said Police Chief Chris Walsh. Officers used to be rated on their productivity in traffic citations. They had to meet a range of 30 percent below or 30 percent above the average number of citations given by the department over the past three years.

Now the police department focuses traffic enforcement on areas with high levels of accidents or complaints.

“Enforcement through traffic citations is the primary method we use to change driving habits,” Walsh wrote in an email. “But we gauge the effectiveness of the enforcement by the reduction in accidents instead of the number of citations issued.”

Carol Seavey is special sections editor at the Casper Star-Tribune. Contact her at 307-266-0544 or carol.seavey@trib.com.

Follow her on twitter at Carol_Seavey.

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