Cornucopia: The horn of plenty. Cornucopia was actually two towns, the old and the new, which was the after effect of two diverse mining organizations operations. The old town was begun around 1885 and had two general stores, an inn, post office, a couple of saloons, and a school. The new town, about a quarter of a mile away, gloated the standard mixture of beer joints, boarding houses and stores. School was held in an old saloon.
A prospector by the name of Lon Simmons discovered gold in the Cornucopia Mountains in the 1880s. Before long the whole area was bustling with others out to seek their fortunes. Many claims were staked and several small mines were established. There was also some big mines in the area like the Union & Companion, Last Chance, and Red Jacket. These mines became known as the Copia mines.
In the early 1900's the mines became the modernized with hydro and a railroad. A large twenty-stamp mill was moved in. This mill could crush upto crushed 60-70 tons of ore everyday day. About 600 miners worked at these mines. The Union & Companion operated almost 60 years. There was a short bit of down time from 1927 to 1930. The copia mines were among the six biggest mines in the United States, with over 36 miles of tunnels and adits.
The Copia mines produced longer than any of the other mines in Oregon. In 1938 the Oregon Mining Journal stated production had reached $750,000 up to November of that year and from 1930 to 1938 totaled $3,000,000. There was no evidence of a slow down, yet during World War II our government did what time, depressions, and the elements could not do. Administrative Order L-208, was designed to halt all mining of noncritical metals during the war, brought a stop to all gold mining. This caused the end of the Copia mines. After the war was over, the mines and buildings had deteriorated to such a point that reopening them proved unprofitable at the that time.