The residents have
placed their homes among the ruins of the milling operation. The pathways
between the homes encompass contemporary materials integrated with the
remains of the mill. The foundations left behind are conveniently flat and a
good place to build a home.
||Lluvia was worked off
and on after its heyday until the 1950s. Sometime during the 1960s, much of
the site was stripped of anything perceived to be of value that might be
sold for scrap. Pieces of machinery, such as this ball mill, lie about with the lesser pieces broken
off, as though someone wanted to carry manageable loads out to sell. The
larger pieces lie scattered about and are gradually being overgrown by the
||Separate from the site
of the mill, all that remains of the housing area are foundations and a few
walls. The more dilapidated of those are almost obscured now.
||Lluvia de Oro lies at
the head of a box canyon high above the valley of the Rio Fuerte below. From
a short distance away, the presence of the mine and mill is now obscured
by the trees and bushes that have reclaimed the area.
||The entrance to the mine
is a short walk from the site of the mill. This rigging near the ceiling
appears to have originally supported a walkway to the mine's interior. Much
of it is gone now and what remains is pretty shaky. The mine
entrance is high - well over 50 feet tall. With the gold ore depleted,
today the mine serves as a source of water for the people who live here.
||Although located deep
within the Sierra Madre, equipment for Lluvia was procured from then distant
suppliers. Considering the cost of transportation, the
price of this hopper must have been a bargain!
||Although the ore is
gone, samples of the rock in which it was found still abound. This sample of
a quartz-like material displayed numerous samples of iron pyrites (fool's
gold). Gold occurs in conjunction with sulphide ores such as this. It is
likely a cyanide process was used to recover the gold.
||A number of bricks
bearing the Carnegie company name are to be found throughout Lluvia.
||This sole palm tree
survives high in the canyon far away from its normal environment. Planted by
an American who briefly worked the mine in the early 1900s, it is a reminder
of his stay here. What the tree represented to him is anyone's guess.
sixty-seven years old (2004) and full of local history. He was born here and
although he was not involved with the mine in its heyday, he learned of its
history from his parents and his grandparents. With the lack of written
records, people such as this are the living record of this and other
||There are some new and
younger families today living in Lluvia. Warm and hospitable, they share the
land with a history they do not fully know. If you are industrious, life can
be inexpensive. The local corn, which they shared with us in tamales,
||On a river trip down the
Rio Fuerte in the summer of 2003, we encountered the dam originally built to
supply electrical power for the mine at Lluvia de Oro. Located some distance
below the mine site, the dam completely spanned the riverbed. It is intact
today except for a break on the far side of this picture. A word of warning
- the dam is undercut in places and an unwary paddler who approaches too
closely to the dam can be sucked under. And there are some local bandidos
who live nearby as well...
||Near the dam, this winch
lies rusting on shore above the low water line. We believe it was originally
used to haul the heavier items being floated upstream against the current to
the dam-site. The generators and electrical lines are long gone having been
hauled off for salvage value. This winch, part of a turbine behind it, a
generator's frame, and
the dam, are all that remain today.
||This housing was once
the electrical generator powered by a water-driven turbine. Stripped of its
internal copper windings, only the rusting steel frame remains today.