Exploring an Abandoned Gold Mine in Danforth, Maine

Beetle and I grew up together in Maine.  His real name is Stephen Bailey, but pretty much everyone knows him as Beetle.  We are self-made adventurers.  We love hunting for treasure.  I believe that desiring adventures is something the Creator put in all our blood and it manifests itself in various ways for each of us.

In Danforth, Maine, there was a story that some of the loggers would tell about an abandoned gold mine.  They would talk about a section of earth with a channel cut into it and how the loggers would drive their equipment right over this section.  One of the locals, Steve, would talk about taking one of his sons up there and how he found a piece of quartz with gold in it.

Of course this was enough to pique our interests, so we began getting the facts together.  The "you can't miss it" area was described to Beetle numerous time.  However, we missed it many times as we walked through the woods in the area.  We spent the first week of my vacation in 2018 walking the woods every chance we got in search of this mine.  We didn't find it.

In 2019, we walked areas again and again.  I searched online and found a reference to the location on "The Diggings" website.  But I wasn't able to confirm anything about this gold prospect until I found this report on the USGS website titled Bedrock Geology of the Grand Lake Area.  There were multiple websites claiming to know the location of the Bub Bailey gold prospect (yes, Bub Bailey, but relation unknown, but it sure was seeming more personal now).  Bub Bailey seemed to have worked the mine over five years and it would seem like he must have found something to put in that much effort.

Many websites have the location of the Bub Bailey gold prospect dead wrong.  We finally convinced a local to drive us out to where he thought the location was, and sure enough, there was a channel cut into the ground proving much manual labor to work a small area (and it looked nothing like the mental picture you have when you think, "gold mine").  Many pieces of ledge that had been pried apart where laying all over the side of a small hill and it looked like we finally had the place.

Location of Bub Bailey Gold Prospect

My dad, who knows how to read geology much better than Beetle and I joined us at the mine in 2020.  He has experience finding legitimate Maine gold as he and my mom have panned and dredged gold in many parts of the state.  This was a little different as there wasn't moving water.  We moved pieces of ledge out of the way to see what the bottom of the channel looked like.  There wasn't much to see.

We found a rusted pocket-knife sitting on a piece of ledge.  It seemed like this was the last place being worked, but everything we found was pretty much unmineralized (in other words, "no gold").  There wasn't anything left but a trash pile where all the pieces of ledge had been thrown.

pick tool missing handle

There was little evidence of quartz, but perhaps some small gold existed in the quartz and nearly ever scrap was removed.  Gold is known to show up in quartz, so that wouldn't be a surprise.  Giving up on the gold, Beetle and I ran metal detectors over the area and found a pry bar, some sort of pick (see picture, missing handle), some cans, a tea kettle, and other evidence that someone had camped out there, perhaps Bub Bailey himself.

Even though we didn't find any gold at the Bub Bailey gold prospect in Danforth, Maine, we had an adventure and Maine is full of adventure.


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