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Kendall Ghost Town
Provided by Jerry Hanley
Placer and lode gold were discovered in the North Moccasin Mountains in the early 1880s. Placer production was only modest and the lode gold was too low grade to be successfully treated with available processes. In 1889, Harry Kendall, having some experience with the new cyanide recovery process, built a small cyanide plant and commenced milling ore mined from the surface and underground. Shortly after, the Barns-King Company began developing their nearby property and built a 500 ton per day cyanide mill. These, along with other nearby mines commenced a 20 year life that produced approximately 500,000 ounces of gold.
In early 1901 the town of Kendall got its start and rapidly expanded through about 1910. A townsite was laid-out and lots sold and a number of new businesses were constructed of stone taken from a nearby quarry. Kendall had many businesses including a bank and an opera house. The mines built a power plant five miles away on Warm Spring Creek so both the mines and town enjoyed the advantages of electrical power. Kendall was a thriving town with a peak population of around 1,200. As the good ore began to run out around 1912 the town began to dwindle.
Three different fires had burned much of the business district between 1908 and 1910. In 1912, the town of Hilger, two and one-half miles to the east, was founded on the Milwaukee Railroad branch line and businesses and population began leaving Kendall for Hilger and nearby homesteads. Many buildings were moved to Hilger and homesteads. With the closing of the mines in 1921 there was little reason for Kendall to continue. In the 1930s a cyanide milling and surface mining operation was developed on the north end of the district but by then the town was gone. This non-essential gold mining operation was closed by government order in WW ll.
In the early 1970s an attempt was made to reopen the underground Kendall Mine but failed.
Beginning in the 1980s and continuing through 1996 the entire Kendall district was mined by surface and cyanide heap leaching methods. This successful operation produced another 350,000 ounces of gold and is undergoing final reclamation at the hands of the mining company, C R Kendall.
While not much is left of the old town it is certainly worth visiting. The North Kendall Road, formerly McKinley Avenue, traverses through the townsite. A few stone ruins and foundations, the original bandstand, and a boulder used in drilling contests can be viewed. The townsite was donated to the Boy Scouts in the 1960’s. During summer months interpretative signs are placed around the townsite.