In 1859 and 1860 miners drifted into the area from the Kern River Valley. They found gold and silver in the hills and canyons of the Tehachapi Range. In 1876 the Tehachapi Mining District was formed. In 1877, J.J. Hendrickson made a small fortune east of Water Canyon, today known as the China Diggings. He leased some claims to the Chinese who had worked on the railroad. In November 1878 another rich gold find was discovered that became the Pine Tree Mine.
John Norboe arrived in the Tehachapi Valley around 1860 and settled near Proctor Lake. As the lake dried up in summer, a bed of salt was left was collected and bagged in sacks he made of unbleached muslin in various sizes. He sold it locally and went as far as the harbor near Los Angeles to sell to the moored vessels there.
In 1867 Norboe rediscovered a silver and gold mine, believed to be an old Spanish or Mexican mine worked before California became a state. At the same time a young Mexican was looking for a gold mine in Sand Canyon that had been discovered and worked by members of his family in the early 1800s. He has a map that matched the terrain of the area. The next day, the man and his map had disappeared. Speculation was that it was the same mine that Norboe rediscovered.
Cinnabar was discovered between Tehachapi and Keene around 1916 and was mined off and
on until the mid 1970s. Other minerals found and mined for short periods of time included coal, marble and emery as well as tungsten.
In 1877, a kiln in Antelope Canyon was producing 400 to 500 barrels of burned lime. Throughout Antelope Canyon and in many side canyons there is evidence of the production of burned lime. Pot kilns are scattered throughout the Tehachapi area to the north and south of the valley.
From the mid-1880s until 1929 F.O. Wyman, with a corporation of San Francisco businessmen, operated a small company town in Antelope Canyon to mine and process limestone.