Explore the hidden history of Black Diamond Mines in Antioch, California

ByChris Bollini Localish logo
Tuesday, February 6, 2024
Explore the hidden history of Black Diamond Mines
Underground tours allow visitors to explore the hidden world of the Black Diamond Mines.

ANTIOCH, Calif. -- Antioch's Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about California's rich mining history.

"It's not often that you get to go to a park and go underground in a mine that used to be an operational mine," East Bay Regional Parks naturalist Jessica Kauzer says.

"Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve is definitely one of the Bay Areas hidden gems because it's something most people haven't seen before," East Bay Regional Parks naturalist Jaclyn Caldwell adds.

Underground tours allow visitors to step back in time to explore how coal miners lived and worked.

"Being a coal miner here was definitely a difficult job and labor-intensive job," Caldwell shares.

"When you come and see the rails on the ground, the carts, the shifters office, everything you see here is of the time period," Kauzer explains, "getting to experience what someone almost a hundred years ago would have experienced."

Aside from coal, Black Diamond Mines Preserve also shares the areas extensive sand mining history.

In 1920, Marvin Greathouse, president of G. and M. Gravel company, opened the Hazel Atlas Mine and started mining silica sand for use in glassmaking.

"The sand here is a high quality silica sand that is not found in the common beach sand in the Bay Area," Kauzer says.

Whether it's the coal or sand history, Black Diamond Mines provides visitors with an immersive experience. According to Caldwell, the mines still have more history to be discovered.

"One of the exciting things about this place is we're always learning more and unearthing more history and sharing that with the public, I think that's a really exciting thing we get to do here," expressed Caldwell.

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