“Although the mine building and mine are less than a quarter of a mile from the Angeles Crest Highway….the Bell Hartman Mine remains virtually unknown.” – Hugh Blanchard

The Bell Hartman Mine Discovery

I was out exploring the historic Angeles crest trail by Mt. Mooney when I saw the most curious thing: way off in the distance was a two-story cabin perched on a rock face. I was incredulous at the sight and rushed home to research it. I’m a frequent visitor to the site lagoldmines.com, so it didn’t take me long to connect the dots.  The description and location fit the article of the Bell & Hartman Mine. This is the story of the day we explored it, the first recent rediscovery since Hugh Blanchard’s days. 

Battle plans

The plan was to camp out at Mt. Mooney on Friday evening so that we could so we could check out Stoney Ridge Observatory and Devils Peak during sunrise the next day and then try reaching the mine. I’ve been to this observatory before during sunrise and the sky lights up brilliantly in an array of pastel colors.

We arrived at the saddle of Mt. Mooney by night and headed up. The summit was blocked with fallen trees, scorched from the 2009 Station Fire years ago, so we set up camp just off from the summit. The night felt way colder than I anticipated and keeping warm in the tent was a struggle made worse by the constant stirring of my dogs. They stood guard and alert in their new environment, listening for any suspicious critters that may come our way. As much as I loved bringing them, they made for a hellish night sleeping.  Shortly after sunrise and a few hours of tossing and turning, I started my morning since I wasn’t about to rest well. We took our time with breakfast and some of us went even back to sleep for a bit.  

Bell Hartman MineView from the camp spot. Stoney Ridge Observatory off to the distance. 

Bell Hartman MineJeremy looking like someone from the Great Hiking era

DSC02292Slowly cleaning up and packing up our stuff

Heading for the mine & cabin

We pulled up the maps and negotiated on the best approach. Initially, we scrambled down a gully in which we painfully slid the steep parts. This was all made much harder having to carry the dogs. About 20 minutes in, we jumped on a faint track that went left towards the mine. The trail became steadily more apparent and shaded.

DSC02294Heading for destruction 

Bell Hartman MineTwinkie getting a free ride under the canopy of some giant trees

Bell Hartman Mine, Angeles Forest, San Gabriel MountainsRusted equipment in the canyon below the mine including this engine.

The trail contoured down into a canyon below the cabin. From the canyon we could see the cabin sitting above us. The only major obstacle now was the last 100 feet of treacherous terrain that climbed relentless up. After leaving the canyon, the climbing was part crawl. However, once at the cabin, the reward was immediate and worth the pains of getting there…

Bell Hartman Mine, Angeles Forest, San Gabriel Mountain

 The Bell Hartman Cabin and Mine

In his website, Hugh Blanchard claims this mine is called the “Bell Hartman” because of a similar location description in John W. Robinson’s Mines of the San Gabriels. However, it is likely not the Bell Hartman. According to U.S. Geological Surveys, its actually called the Boatwright Prospect, and its owners are unknown. But since the name has stuck and for convenience sakes, I’ll refer to it as the Bell Hartman. 

Bell Hartman Mine, Angeles Forest, San Gabriel MountainThe cabin is preserved well, protected by its inaccessibility in the mountain

Bell Hartman Mine, Angeles Forest, San Gabriel MountainIts a small two story building roofed and sided with corrugated tin shingles and is 14′ X 12′ in size. 

Bell Hartman Mine, Angeles Forest, San Gabriel Mountain The first floor contains a work bench, cabinet and a huge 8-cylinder compressor on metal wheels. 

Bell Hartman Mine, Angeles Forest, San Gabriel MountainsCloser look. It is marked “Ingersoil-Rand Co” New York 1942

Bell Hartman Mine, Angeles Forest, San Gabriel MountainsCompressor

Bell Hartman Mine, Angeles Forest, San Gabriel MountainsA wooden ladder leads to an empty second floor thats more like a crawl space.

Bell Hartman Mine, Angeles Forest, San Gabriel MountainsHmmm… is this thing sturdy? Better not take my chances. 

Bell Hartman Mine, Angeles Forest, San Gabriel MountainsA bit further down from the cabin theres a faint trail that leads to the actual mine. The mine doesn’t go in very far.

Bell Hartman Mine, Angeles Forest, San Gabriel MountainsThe writer in the mine.

The Bell Hartman adventure dedicated to Hugh Blanchard, author of the site lagoldmines.com for all his efforts on preserving local mining history. Please respect the artifacts in this place, don’t take anything so others can enjoy the history.

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