Hunting for history: Duo digs into Folsom's past

Historic stamp mill, once located on Broder Ranch, was moved in 1980s
By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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Two men are on a hunt for a massive rock crusher dating back to the area’s mining history that seems to have vanished. Charles Durner and Jerry Fairlie live in an area that was once an active ranch and mine. Known as the Broder Ranch, it was later developed and is now Empire Ranch. “It was an old gold mine behind my house,” Durner said. “They had a rock crusher back there and along with a shaft. I built my house in 1976 and the crusher was there until the mid-80s, when it was taken down. I’ve been trying to find out where it went.” Fairlie lives nearby and is fascinated with the history of the area. “I was doing research on the Broder Ranch because it was near our house,” he said. “When we moved in, the chimneys and foundation of the Broder house were still there. I was interested in the old barn out front (at East Natoma Street and Bowen). Later, it was taken down.” The two met when they struck up a conversation at the gym. That’s when they discovered they had a common interest in the ranch. “(He) told me about this stamp mill (rock crusher),” Fairlie said. “We’re really just getting started on the hunt. We met with people at the El Dorado County Museum in Placerville (and) the Folsom History Museum.” Durner recalls the day the stamp mill was removed. “They brought in a big flatbed trailer in the early 80s to take it to another property off of Highway 49, but it isn’t there,” he said. “Most of the people familiar with that are gone.” The stamp mill was made by Ridson Iron Works in San Francisco. “If it’s been resurrected somewhere else, then there’s no possibility of getting it back, but if it’s just laying around … in a field, we’d like to hear from them,” Durner said. “It’s a five stamper.” The duo has looked at other areas, including taking a trip up to Auburn to check out a stamp mill on display in a park. “That one was two stamps and the one in Placerville is five stamps, but it is a longer stroke, so it’s a different machine,” Durner said. They hope to bring the stamp mill back to Folsom and work with the city to get it displayed at a public park for all to enjoy. First they have to find it. Anyone with information on the stamp mill, or Broder Ranch, is asked to call Jerry Fairlie at (916) 817-7322 or e-mail him at They may also contact Charles Durner at (916) 952-9924.