The Automobile Gold Rushes and Depression Era Mining
Events of the famed mid-nineteenth-century American gold rush are well known and have become part of the folklore and heritage of our nation. Not as well known is a second gold rush that took place in the 1930s during the Great Depression. Some individuals faced with little way to survive and no prospect of a job picked up a gold pan, headed for western streams and rivers, and found enough pay dirt to get by. Gold fields that had been abandoned for decades saw the return of people, this time in cars, who camped and worked areas wherever they could. Perhaps ten percent of the population of the western states participated in this activity at some time in the 1930s. Readers are given an excellent overview of the mining industry during the 1930s and concomitant monetary policies. Interviews with individuals who were involved in the automobile gold rush, newspaper accounts, and historical vignettes from the period provide the fabric for much of what Dr. Miller relates.
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