BEAR HILL MINE

The Bear Hill Mine was located up George's Creek in Bear Hill Hollow about four miles due north of the George's Creek Cemetery about a mile and a quarter north of Joe Burleson Township's north line NE 1/4 SW 1/4, Section 11, Township 19 North, Range 17 West. Here was located a mine with the main shaft reaching a depth of 160 feet with very rich veins of zinc blended ore leading off at different levels. There was a large steam operated mill here but I am not sure about the date, some say in 1915 and some reports say earlier. It is reported that in one year it produced over 100 tons of zinc ore.

Most all the reports I have agree a lot of ore was mined here and hauled t Summit and shipped out by railroad and that it shut down about the middle of 1917; the same time the rest of the mines did in the county because of the drop in ore prices.

In the 1920's I visited the Bear Hill and it looked like it had just been shut down for the night. The rocks were in the chute that went to the rock crusher and some of the ore was still in the bins after it had been separated from the rock. There was a very large chat pile by the mill. The last time I was at this mill about everything was gone, just a few old wheels and shafts were lying around. Even the chat pile was gone. It had been hauled away and used different things, mainly on the roads.

The Charlie Pierce family operated the boarding house at Bear Hill Mine from the first of December 1915 until the middle of June 1916. The boarding house contained four large bedrooms having two double beds in each besides a public lobby, dining room, kitchen, pantry, and the Pierce's private living quarters. It was said that things were rather lively around this place during this time. They had 16 men staying there most of the time. They charged $4.50 per week when the beds were furnished, $3.00 per week for just meals, and 25 cents for a single meal. They had a number that just ate their meals and slept in shacks and tents. Mr. Pierce stated that they mad good money. These prices sound strange to a lot of people now days considering inflation. Along about the early 1900's there seemed to be people looking all over the place for a place to mine some kind of mineral.

The three pictures showing the Bear Hill Mine and the boarding house is furnished by Sibyl Parker, granddaughter of Mr. Charlie R. Pierce who is standing on the porch of the boarding house.

The only other Mine in the community I know about was located on the Comal Hill, just south of where I now live in section 4. My father said that there was only one railroad car containing a combination of ore and rocks shipped from it loaded at Comal. Mining there didn't pay off so work stopped. I remember there was a small pile of ore left at Comal. I don't know much about ore, but it looked to me like it was mostly rock. Two men worked the mine (their names are unknown to me) using picks, shovels and dynamite and a team and wagon to haul it away.


Reprinted with permission fromTreasured Memories of a Beautiful Place in the North Arkansas Ozark Hills by Floyd Burleson, copyright 1989.