At one time, especially in the early 1900's, Crittenden County had numerous fluor spar, zinc and lead mines. They were especially many located all along one of the faults that went through southern Crittenden County. One of them of the Riley Mine. Here is an interested article that appeared in The Crittenden Press, June 29, 1905 (used with permission)
Located three miles west of Frances on Claylick Creek was the Riley Mine. From the archives of The Crittenden Press let's read about the new Riley mine just being finished in 1905. June 29, 1905 -The Great Riley Mine.
A scene of activity and life, with a shaft 174 feet deep and fine mineral being taken out, lead 98 per cent pure.
Very few people of Marion are aware that one of the best-concentrated zinc plants in this country is in two hours ride by buggy of this city. Scarcely a dozen miles to the southwest of Marion on the borders of this county, with only a creek intervening between it and our rich sister county of Livingston lies the Marion Zinc Company's Riley mine.
The concentrating plant is on an eminence several hundred feet above the territory surrounding it and here the shaft, 174 feet deep has been sunk, and around about it has been erected a plant the equal of any in America.
No money has been spared in the selection of the equipment. In the boiler and engine room, which covers an area of 50 feet long, 40 feet wide, 2 great steam boilers of 200 horse power capacity have been placed and their stacks reach high in the air and can be seen for miles around. They are of the best make obtainable, one being built by the John H. Bass Foundry Co., of Ft. Wayne, the other big boiler and the 80 h.p. engine were built by the Brownell Co., Dayton, Ohio. It seems to have been the aim of the management to get the best of everything.
One hoisting engine is the elevator of the Freeman pattern; another in the foundry is of the Fairbanks Morse type. The three crushers and boilers were built at Cartersville, Mo.
The shaft is a double compartment 174 feet deep, 8x12 feet, one of which is used for the ladder, pump and steam pipe for running mining drills, two of which are in the shaft and are of the Sullivan type, the best known for deep mining. The hoisting plant is 75 feet above ground.
The heavy timbers used in holding the elevator and in lining the shaft look as if they were put there to last a generation, all the work shows plainly it was put there for permanency; nothing cheap or secondary has been used in the construction.
The plant also has a workshop 25 feet square equipped with all kind of machinery necessary for repairing and putting in mining machinery.
One feature of the plant is the reservoirs, two of which are located at the mill on the hill, and one in the creek with a depth of 9 feet, which the two steam pumps throw the water to the reservoirs on the hill.
At present hundred of tons of ore rough, are on the dumps and many tons of crushed ore and concentrates.