California State Mining Bureau
In 1851, one year after California was admitted to the Union, the State Legislature named John B. Trask, a medical practitioner and active member of the California Academy of Sciences, as Honorary State Geologist. In 1853 the Legislature passed a joint resolution asking him for geological information about the state. He submitted a report "On the Geology of the Sierra Nevada, or California Range." About two months later, the Legislature created the first California Geological Survey headed by Trask.
Within a few years the mining of placer gold began to decline and mining of quartz lodes began. These changes, coupled with publication of reports by Trask, created a public clamor for a state geological survey. In 1860 the Legislature passed an act creating the Office of State Geologist and defining the duties thereof. The act named Josiah D. Whitney (for whom Mount Whitney is named) to fill the office. A Yale graduate, Whitney had worked on several surveys in the east.
The California State Mining Bureau was established in 1880 by act of the State legislature, and Henry G. Hanks (q.v.) was placed in charge as the first Califirnia State Mineralogist (a position he held until 1886). The Bureau inherited the mineral and ore collection of the California State Geological Survey, and also opened a mining library for the public use. The just-opened Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street in San Francisco became the Bureau's headquarters in 1899.
In 1927 the Bureau became the Division of Mines within the Department of Natural Resources.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2018)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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