Gears from a Giant’s Watch

Two rectangular towers rise at the edge of Douglas’ Sandy Beach.  Islands during high tide, these silent campaniles once provided air for men working the long tunnels of gold that ran beneath Gasteneau Channel. That was before April 1917, when a big spring tide broke through and flooded the mine.

Two thousand men worked the mine, owned by John Treadwell. None of them died in the collapse. The mine once fed 900 stamp mines that ran 24 hours of day, reducing gold bearing ore to useable rubble. What wasn’t smelted was spread to form Sandy Beach.

Stamp mill noise filled the air of Treadwell town where his 2000 miners lived. Today the house lined streets of Douglas and an alder forest have all but erased  Treadwell. Aki and I are wandering the ruins.

We expect to find these cast iron ruins — this ore car marooned in an alder grove and a large electric motor emerging from snow. The thick timber walls of the old stamp mill are a surprise.  Even today they resist their still living cousins’  attempts to colonize.

Aki finds little of interest but I indulge a fascination, made worse by imagination, with well made machinery. What giant dropped this ore car so far from a place it could be used? Did this huge iron gear fall from his watch when he smashed it on Mt. Jumbo?

There are no giants here or even rabbits to grab Aki’s interest. We only find birds singing in an alder forest scattered with ruins.

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