Latitude / Longitude:
36°25′1″N 120°40′28″W / 36.41694°N 120.67444°W / 36.41694
2,648 ft (807 m)
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
New Idria was an unincorporated town in San Benito County, California. It was named after the New Idria Mercury Mine, which closed in 1972, resulting in a ghost town.
The community was established to support the mine, which mainly extracted mercury, since cinnabar was abundant in the local rock formations. Mercury mining at the location began in 1854. At one time, the New Idria mines were America’s second most productive mines, with the New Almaden mines in the vicinity of San Jose, about 82 miles (132 km) northwest, being the first.
In 2011, New Idria was re-listed as a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site, owing to unchecked mercury run-off and contamination. As of June, 2012, the entire section of the former town site on the south side of New Idria/Clear Creek road is fenced-off.
The New Idria Mining Company was formed soon after the discovery of cinnabar (quicksilver ore) in the southern Diablo Range of central California in 1854. The town of New Idria began around 1857 and about 300 men were employed at the mine by 1861. The first school opened in 1867 and the New Idria Post Office opened in 1869, with Edward A. Morse as the first postmaster. In 1894, the New Idria Post Office dropped the word “New” and the town become known as Idria. The New Idria Quicksilver Mining Company closed in 1972 and the town has since become a ghost town.