Government Promotes Depression Area Mining Schools
Faced with finding jobs for the unemployed in the heart of the depression in 1933 in mineral rich Josephine County, Ore., the state found an answer. It created a state-sponsored vocational mining school in Grants Pass, where graduates would get a $50 grubstake from the state. Miners, in return, reported their findings to the state’s new Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. The information helped create detailed mineral maps of Josephine County.
Based on the success of this program, Oregon Gov. Charles Martin proposed another school.
In 1936, the Works Progress Administration spent $25,000 at the Josephine County Fairgrounds to create a Practical School of Mining. More than 800 people attended this school from all walks of life. Here they studied geology, assay work, practical hydraulics, hard-rock mining, carpentry and even blacksmithing.
The graduates fanned out all over Josephine County. There is no report of a big gold strike, but families were kept in bread and beans.
Most of the mining activities closed by World War II and Josephine County took back many of the claims through foreclosure. Today, those lands are managed by the county for the green gold of timber sales.
Source: Brown, Ron. "Oregon Trails: Mining School." KDRV.com. KDRV TV, 14 May 2012. Web. 13 Aug. 2014.