Survey number:      Owner:      Date of discovery:


1962: LOCATION: NE. Corner sec. 11, T30S, R40E, MDM. Rand District. 1 ¾ miles south-southeast of Randsburg, on the East Side of a small hill on the southeast side of the Rand Mountains. The Sunshine mine has been operated intermittently since 1896; the principal periods of mining were 1896-1915, 1931-1937, 1938-1948. Total production probably lies within the range of $400,000 to $1,060,000. About 90 percent of the gold was produced during the period 1896 to 1915.

The Sunshine mine workings consist of a 600-foot vertical shaft and a total of about 3000 feet of drifts on five levels spaced at 100-foot vertical intervals. Much of the mined material was presumably removed in open stopes. The shaft was sunk to a depth of 500 feet sometime between 1904 and 1914. A three-stamp mill and cyanide plant were used for many years prior to 1929, but they are no longer on the property. – Mines and Minerals of Kern County California, California Division of Mines and Geology County Report 1.


THE SUNSHINE MINE was first located in 1896, but nothing was done on the property in the way of development work for one year and a half.  There has been extensive work done on the property since that time.  The main shaft is down 110 feet.  At the 110 foot level a drift of one hundred feet has been run, and at the 50 foot level another drift of about 200 feet.

The vein varies from 2 inches to 18 inches, and the ore milled from the mine runs $100 a ton.  About $20,000 has been taken out to date, although Mr. T. W. Atkinson, one of the owners, has not worked the mine steadily on account of sickness.

The mine is owned by T. W. and B. M. Atkinson.  They expect to begin work shotly sinking the main shaft.  They are also owners of the Bully Boy, on which four shafts have been sunk, all of them down over 100 feet.  About a thousand feet of development work has been done on this property.

August 10, 1898: “A 21 –TON LOT of ore from the Sunshine mine milled at the Johannesburg reduction works cleaned up $2400. ” – The Herald

The Sunshine Mine as it Appeared in 1898. - Photo from McPherson's History of Rand Mining District

March 1899: “B. M. ATKINSONS arrived in the district in April of 1896.  His first prospecting was west of the town of Randsburg, in which section he located the Pooman’s (Poormans?) claim, which he still owns.  He soon after went out in the stringer district and located the Fraction and Sunshine.  In the early part of July his son, T. W. Atkinson, joined him, and they have since continued working on the Sunshine claim.  They started a shaft, which is now down over 200 feet, and the ore has steadily increased in value with depth.  The ledge is small, averaging not less than six inches, but from thirty feet down, when well sorted, has run up into the hundreds per ton, at which depth they are drifting and taking out high-grade ore.  At the 50- and 100-foot points they did some drifting and stoping.  The mine, although worked in a very moderate way, the work having been done exclusively by themselves, has produced over $7,000, and is now one of the most famous in the Stringer district.

Recently they started another shaft about 300 feet from No. 1 on the same ledge and are down nearly 100 feet; it is their intention to connect them when it is down about the same depth.  Owing to the ground being lower the ore can be handled to better advantage from this shaft than from No. 1.”  – McPherson

MINER IS BURIED ALIVE–TERRIBLE ACCIDENT IN A MINE AT RANDSBURG — Box of Giant Powder Explodes, Completely Filling Up Mouth of Tunnel

in which W.  Barker Was at Work–‘Special to The Herald. –RANDSBURG, Cal., March 25. -While W. A. Barker and R. M. Wilhite were working In the Sunshine

Mine, fifty pounds of powder exploded. Barker, who had been working on the seventy-five foot level with Wilhite, had gone to the next level, forty feet below, when Wilhite suddenly saw a box of giant powder, which the men were using for blasting, burst Into flames. Wilhlte shouted a warning to Barker and turned and ran, getting twenty-five feet away before the explosion came. He was bruised by flying fragments of rock. The shaft leading to the level where Barker had gone was completely filled In with dirt and rock. A large force of men is at work digging out the unfortunate man, but at the least calculation it will be twelve hours before he can be reached and brought to tile surface. There is no hope entertained of his being brought out alive. Wilhite was hoisted to the surface by miners who soon gathered. Barker has a wife and two children.”  – Los Angeles Herald

January 12, 1903: “ F. W. and William Atkinson have struck a rich body by of ore on the 100 foot level in the Sunshine mine, in the Randsburg district which they ore are working under lease. A mill run of five tons yielded $301 a ton.” – The Sun

August 29, 1903: “THE SUNSHINE MINE was first located in 1896, but nothing was done in the way of development work for eighteen months.  The mine is owned by T. W.  & B. M. Atkinson, who are pushing operations.  The vein varies from 2 inches to over two feet thick.  The Atkinson brothers who own the Hatchet and Bully Boy claims, in which they have given a number of leases.”  – Mining and Scientific Press

October 17, 1903:  “ATKINSON BROS. have their 3-stamp mill in steady operation.”  – Mining and Scientific Press

January 1904: THE FRACTION was an unpatented claim located in section 11, T 30, R40 near Randsburg. It was developed by two incline shafts of 30 and 70 feet with 200 feet of open cut and 100 foot of drifts.  It was owned by B. M. Atkinson of Randsburg. It was reported to have some sort of mill powered by a horse and steam.  It is possible that the 3 stamp mill for the Sunshine and this mill are one and the same.  — Aubrey

January 1904:  SUNSHINE WAS DEVELOPED by 150 foot vertical shaft, 65 foot incline shat and 700 feet of drift. There was a 3 stamp mill.  Power was provided by gasoline engine and a horse Whim.  Owners were T. W. and B. M. Atkinson.”  – Aubrey

January 9, 1904:  “ATKINSON BROS. from the Sunshine milled 8 tons of ore this week.”  – Randsburg Miner

January 9, 1904; “ATKINSON BROS. Made connections with the shaft on the Sunshine on the 120 ft. level this week.” — Randsburg Miner

January 16, 1904:  “THE SUNSHINE had a cleanup this week of 8 ½ tons of ore which went $160 per ton.  Development work is being continued vigorously.”  – Randsburg Miner

February 6, 1904: “THE SUNSHINE is doing some extensive developing.  Drifting is now being done on the 100-ft. level.  This property has a record for producing rich ore and the work now being done is making it……”  – Randsburg Miner

February 27, 1904:  “THE SUNSHINE completed a milling of 17 tons last Saturday.  A $3400 brick was the result of the clean-up.”  – Randsburg Miner

March 19, 1904:  “THOS. ATKINSON one of the owners of the Sunshine mine left for Los Angeles.  Friday to have his eye treated.  A Flying particle of rock injured the eyeball several months ago and is has bothered him more or less ever since.”  – Randsburg Miner

April 9, 1904:  “THE SUNSHINE will begin milling next week.”  – Randsburg Miner

April 16, 1904: “ATKINSON BROS. operating the Sunshine mine began milling this week.  They will clean up next week.  The development work carried on in this min has opened it up to such an extent that the operators are making preparations for extensive improvements.  They are contemplating installing compressed air drills and a steam hoist.”  — Randsburg Miner

May 14, 1904:  “THE SUNSHINE cleaned up $4300 from 34 tons last week.  A new engine will be installed in the mill.  A gasoline hoist will be installed in the mine at an early date.”  — Randsburg Miner

June 18, 1904:  “NOTICE OF NON RESPONSIBILITY filed by T. W. Atkinson as owner for Bully Boy, Hatchet, and Sunshine.”  — Randsburg Miner

June?, 1904:  “TWO NEW FIFTEEN HORSEPOWER gasoline engines arrived this week and are being installed at the Sunshine mine.”  – Randsburg Miner

November 11, 1906: “In the Stringer district the Sunshine mine is operated.”  – San Francisco Call

January 22, 1911: “SUNSHINE—Until about November this property was under lease to the Sunshine leasing company, who enjoyed a prosperous period of operation. The mine produced about $3o, ooo during the first 10 months of the year, about 1.000 tons having been treated in the mill. The: Sunshine mine Is now being; operated by the owners, B. M. and. T. W. Atkinson, and six men are employed.” – San Francisco Call

March 05, 1911: “SUNSHINE MINE—Some of the richest ore ever discovered is being taken out on the 42 foot level of the Sunshine mine. At this depth small patches of ore are being-found, running over $1,000 per ton. Ore of this value is found only in quantities of 15 or 20 pounds when other material of less value is encountered. The average value of ore now being mined is between $50 and $100 per ton. The ore chutes underground have all been filled and ore is now being piled upon the 200, 300 and 425 foot levels.” – San Francisco Call

March 12, 1911:  “The mill at the Sunshine mine of T. W. & B. M. Atkinson has been running steadily all this-week on ore from the two, three and four hundred foot levels. The ore is thought to be plating an average of $50 or $60 dollars per ton. A crew of five men are’ busy stoping underground adding ore to the 60 tons already broken down and ready, for crushing. Nearly every shot reveals more bunches of high grade ore figuring over $1,000 to the ton, and” while these bunches are small, running 15 or 20- pounds, they bring up the average of ore treated. A cleanup will not be made until about 60 tons of ore have been crushed. The brick, it is thought will then approximate $3,500.”– San Francisco Call

1914: “ON APRIL 3, 1896, Mr. Atkinson came with a partner and two burros to Randsburg, Kern County, with the intention of going into the mining business.  They prospered for a few months in what is now the Stringer district.  In this district they first located Poor Man’s mine, which is now operation and on June 30, 1896, located sunshine mine which they developed and which is now in a good state of production.  This mine has a stamp mill on it, and Mr. Atkinson also has a cyanide plant there.  He at present holds four claims having bought the Bully Boy and Rose mines, all now in production.  – Morgan

1915:  “SUNSHINE, a prospect, consists of 18 acres, patented in Sec 11, T. 30 S., R. 40 E., M. D. M., in the Stringer district, about 2 ½ miles southwest of Johannesburg.  Owner, T. W. Atkinson, of Randsburg.  Small vein in schist.  A shaft 500 feet deep and numerous drifts and stopes comprise the workings.  Mine equipment consists of 25 h. p. gasoline hoist,   air compressor, four machine drills and pumping plant to bring water from Johannesburg to the claim.  Reduction equipment consists of a three stamp mill and cyanide plant, operated by gasoline.  Idle.” – G Chester Brown

April 19, 1915:  “SUNSHINE. The unusual conditions of this property since the rich sulphide ore has been encountered is proving to the skeptics that permanent ore bodies can be had with depth.  This wonderful ledge was encountered at 500 feet where the ground makes a most remarkable change from a shattered to a very solid formation.  The vein is 5 feet in width, the ore running $100 to the ton.

The leasers, Jess Jewett, Fred Whitman and the owner, Tom Atkinson, state that plenty of ore is in sight to run day and night for many months to come.

New air drills of the spray type have been installed and much satisfaction has been expressed from their performance.”—Bakersfield Californian

April 23, 1915: “THIS PROPERTY, which the people of this district are now watching with great interest on account of the fact that a large body of sulphide ore has been encountered, was located in 1896 by B. M. Atkinson, father of the present owner, who has worked the mine since its inception.  This property is situated about one mile from town, in what is commonly known as the Stringer district, from the rich feeders or stringers that branch from the parent vein.

Like most mines in the camp at this period the working was practically surface work, and through faulting of the geological structure the veins either petered out of were diverted.

In spite of all this the Sunshine was beginning to be recognized as one of the most promising mines in the district, but lack of capital prevented a proper development of the ore bodies.  In the meantime the Atkinsons’ had purchased and were working the Bully Boy, besides leasing the Merced.  The proceeds from these ventures enabled them to install hoisting machinery and compressor.  This was in 1905, and from that time work was done on a more economic, yet larger scale.

Although about $500,000 has been taken from this property most of it has been expended on development work.  The main shaft is now down 525 feet, and while traces of sulphide ore had been noticed from the 100-foot level, the concentrates were low in value until about three months ago, when a body of rich ore was struck during developing the 400-foot.  As usual, the camp knockers sent out their usual cry that it would not last, and as usual they are wrong, for up-to-date this body of ore is not only getting richer but wider.

While the Randsburg district is practically a free milling camp and has enormous bodies of free gold, the assertion has always been made that if a shaft was sunk deep enough sulphide ores, “the ore that stays” would be encountered; but the most sanguine never expected it to be found in any quantity in so shallow a mine.  The Sunshine ore has a bright lively appearance, with good traces of telluride, the concentrate running one ton to 32 tons of ore.  The ore values now are running over $100 per ton in free gold and $900 per ton in concentrates.  Mr. T. Atkinson, the present owner, says the ore has every likelihood of staying.  This is more than likely, and the consensus of opinion is that the Mother Lode has been found.  The Sunshine is now working nine men, a three stamp mill and a concentrator.”  — Randsburg Miner

May 1, 1915: “JESS JEWET USED TO DIG SPUDS back in Rice County, Kansas. Perhaps he also sang, “Potatoes they grow small in Kansas.” Last Saturday he dug is first tungsten spuds and they were not small, says the Randsburg Miner. He found them growing wild and laying upon top of the ground in his back yard on the Sunshine.

May 10, 1915: “SUNSHINE’ BULLION OUTPUT VASTLY INCREASING—Twenty-five Day Run Gives Production of Brick Valued at $6600.  The Sunshine Mining and Milling Company had a cleanup this week.  The bricks amounted to $6600 besides one and one half tons of concentrates that assayed as high as $800, says the Randsburg Miner.

This extraction came from the 500 foot level, where three big millings have been taken out in succession.  The vein averages four feet in width and shows no signs of pinching out.

Exceptionally high grade ore has been encountered on the 400 foot level in a winze.  The ore is absolutely free milling and some very beautiful specimens have been taken from this ore.

Fifteen men are employed and the mine and mill are running day and night.  Spray type air drills have been installed and are giving satisfaction.”—Bakersfield Californian

April 17, 1916:  “ATKINSON PROPERTY IS APPRAISED AT $32,000. Property included in the Thos. W. Atkinson estate is worth more than $32,000 according to the report filed in the superior court today by the appraisers, A. T. Lightner, Jessee Jewett, and C. G. Illingworth.

The items in the inventory are cash, $542.07; quartz mining claims in the Rand Mining District, $18,000; real estate in Fresno County, $2,400: other real estate in Kern County, $4,800 and 6250 shares in the Hazelton Crude Oil Co., W. A. McGinn is attorney for the estate.”  — Bakersfield Californian

November 20, 1917: “THE SUNSHINE PROPERTY leasees are taking out scheelite.” –Bakersfield Californian

June 27, 1925: “RICH GOLD STRIKE IN RAND SECTION, REPORT—Assaying as high as $2,000 per ton, a 10-inch shelf of rich gold ore is reported to have been uncovered in Sunshine mine at Randsburg, according to E. J. Emmons, president of the United Mining Company, working on the project.

The announcement of the discovery came to Bakersfield from S. L. Pearce, superintendent of the mine.

Already work has been commenced  in the drift 57 feet below the shelf, from which a stope will be run up to the ore ledge, Mr. Emmons declared today.

The Sunshine diggings are now looked upon by Randsburg mining interests as one of the most certain claims in the district.  Through illness in the group of its original owners, and death, the mine was shut down up to one year ago, when it was opened by the United Mining Company and consolidated with the Sylvanite claim adjoining it, from which $200,000 is declared to have been taken at depths of not more than 60 feet.  Under the old management the Sunshine claim is said to have yielded $1,000,000.” – Bakersfield Californian

August 24, 1925:  “SUNSHINE – The Lane mill on the Sunshine mine is again rolling about on free milling ore from the company’s last extraction.  Leasers are now going good and are hopeful of keeping the Lane 40-ton mill busy on more than one shift.—Bakersfield Californian

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