About eight miles south and slightly west of Conconully is the deserted town site of Loop Loop which was once the scene of more mining activity than any other spot in Okanogan county.
Millionaires were produced there in minutes. Loop Loop, which lies only a couple of miles over Ruby Ridge and west of the Ruby townsite, was a flourishing town in its days. As Loop Loop City it was the first town in Okanogan County to be platted, August 14, 1888, by W.P. Keady and S.F. Chadwick. The once bustling mining settlement had eighteen businesses and several streets.
There are no known pictures of the town, but Loop Loop had two hotels, four saloons, ice house, two mercantile, assay station, livery stable, city hall, post office, bath house, harness shop, miners supplies and Ma’s eats. Depreciation in silver in 1893 marked the immediate downfall of the town. The one large company operating there quit and the miners left. Rapidly the lights were extinguished in the place as Loop Loop became a ghost town; the perfect background setting to old west tales and memories of what was.
The following is a partial list of businesses that were in Loop Loop at one time or another.
Loop Loop Miners Supplies
Loop Loop Saloon
Last Chance Saloon
Lone Star Saloon
Jones Ice House
Jones Bath House
Loop Post Office
Loop Loop City Hall
Jonathan Bourne’s "China Wall." The story of the Arlington Mill. Arlington Mill, that mysterious set of massive granite walls in the Loup Loup country, on the side of Ruby Hill which many refer to as the "China Wall." The remnants of a Medieval Fortress, the great stone walls rise from the heavily wooded slopes of Ruby Hill. Walls up to three feet thick, the huge blocks of granite tightly fitted, the corners perfectly squared. The largest of the ten walls measures 80 feet long and 27 feet high. The second being 77 feet long and 20 feet high. Over one hundred six years ago master stonemasons have worked here. The massive granite structure, one of the most enduring and mysterious of Okanogan County’s relics.
Jonathan Bourne, a Portland lawyer obsessed with mining fever bought a total of 27 claims near Ruby in 1888. Heir of a wealthy New England whaling and manufacturing family, and member of Portland’s high class Arlington Club. He soon had a choke hold on more of the mining district then anyone else. No stamp mills existed at this time in the area, but Bourne seem to know that ore would have to be concentrated before mine owners could afford to ship it to smelters far away. Bourne sat down at his ergonomic desk and decided to do something about the situation.
In 1889 he sent a mining engineer to inspect his claims. But the reports were no good, no mineral signs in several of his claims. But the report might as well been good. Bourne began a brickyard close to the intended mill site. He ordered a production of 400,000 fire bricks for furnace and steam boilers of this intended mill site. To build the massive granite walls, Bourne hired a German stonemason named Chris Stazman. Stazman organized local miners, carpenters, farmers and other common labor help into a work force that successfully quarried granite outcrops from above the mill site, skidded granite blocks downhill, some weighing several hundred pounds and other single blocks weighing in excess of 2,066 pounds, slightly more than a ton, and built the massive walls using the block-and-tackle method.
During the three month period of construction of the Arlington Mill it employed a work force of well over 150 men. The mill was partially constructed over a period of three months, September, October and November of 1889. It was never finished and never operated. By the following spring Jonathan Bourne’s Arlington Mining Company was skidding into bankruptcies. No future work was ever done at the Arlington Mill site. The wooden superstructure, at least partially completed, was torn down. Whatever equipment that had been delivered to the mill site was removed.
Only the massive granite stone walls are left today, victims of miscalutation and of the collapse of the silver mining boom in 1893. The original mining claims that Jonathan Bourne had purchased in 1888 on Ruby Hill, the "First Thought" mine and four other claims became known as the Arlington Mine. These mines were owned under various owners after Bourne had departed. This shattered any hopes of the Arlington Mill ever opperating.
The Arlington Mine was worked briefly in 1905 and again in the early 1920s. In 1936 new owners built a mill at the mine site high on Ruby Hill. There were a total of 15 or 20 men employed at the mill at that time. In 1937 Jonathan Bourne Jr. was 82 years old, living in retirement in Washington D.C. One might wonder weather, Bourne was aware that in distant Okanogan County, an Arlington Mill finally had started operating. Through the years, the massive granite walls have been shrouded in mystery and peppered with speculation.
Somehow the walls have been linked with Chinese. A number of local pioneers had heard Chinese were involved in their construction. For whatever reasons they are widely known as Okanogan County’s "China Wall." Who built the "China Wall?" Certainly not the Chinese. A sampling of names in Arlington Mill payroll records shoe none of a Chinese flavor. Nor does it appear that "Scottish masons" built the walls. This has been one of the most enduring rumors attached to this massive granite structure.
The walls and the rest of the Arlington Mill were constructed by the only sort of work force one might have expected to assemble in the raw, rugged Okanogan County of 1889-miners, farmers, carpenters, masons of one sort or another, common laborers and drifters.
Rising awesomely from the forested hillside of Ruby Hill and the charming Loup Loup Valley, brooding over unfulfilled destiny as the seasons past, the Great Granite Walls are their monument to history gone by.
The Arlington Mill is located in the Loup Loup area of Okanogan County.
The simplest way to reach it is to turn off the Loup Loup Highway ( SR 20 ) onto the Loup Loup canyon road leading to the Rock Creek campground. The junction is about eight and one half miles from the south city limits of the town of Okanogan.
On the way you will pass the Rock Creek campground and picnic area on your right, both operated by the Department of Natural Resources. At about seven miles and on your left is Antoine Ritchie’s sagging cabin. You will cross Salmon Creek here.
About .3 of a mile this side of the Arlington Mill is a white post with survey data on it. The granite rock quarry from which the mill was built is directly uphill from this post.
The massive great walls are not easy to see from the road. They are about seventy five to one hundred yards up Ruby Hill ( to your right ). Please respect the private property in this scenic valley for others to enjoy.