Founded: Unknown Exact Date but historical articles have the town mentioned in 1854.
ABOUT TOWN: Located just off the Surprise Valley Highway, Mitts is a small unincorporated town in Chane County. Mitts today has no services and only one business remains open in town. The Mitts General Store serves the 212 people living in the small community. The other three businesses that used to be in town are closed down and nature begins to reclaim the old brick buildings. The old school house and church are no longer standing in Mitts and the old post office closed down in 1967. The old mining buildings and mill are today shadows of this towns once promising past. The Surprise Valley - Mitts rail line ends in at the mill and the rail line is no longer active. The mill is still partially used as a storage building for freight trucks for a business in Surprise Valley. The mine closed down in 1975 and the mill closed down a year later.
The majority of the people in the town live quiet lives and are retired. Peaceful mountain living is the way of life in Mitts. A strong sense of community keeps the villagers together. A small volunteer fire department is located in the town, but police services are provided by the Chane County Sheriff's office which comes from the Connelly sub-station.
LOCATION: The community is located off the Surprise Valley Highway and is located within the Surprise Valley which is surrounded by the Chase Mountains. The community is north of Connelly and south of Surprise Valley. It is one of many former mining and timber towns in Chane County.
HISTORY:Mitts early history is fairly obscure, but we do know that by 1854, the town had a post office, a school, a hotel, and of course the mine. The mine places Mitts on the map. In the early days it competed with other mining towns like Connelly and Pello in Surprise Valley region. The town of Surprise Valley was nothing more then some rural homesteads at the time, and Mitts was a big player when it came to population centers for the region. In 1880, the town boasted a population of 618 people. A rail line was built in the 1870's to quickly send materials back and forth from Mitts to the valley operations in Surprise Valley. A mill was built in 1900 to help supply the region with building materials. Mitts future looked bright until 1908 when a large winter storm buried the town for weeks, leaving all operations to halt. Buildings collapsed under the weight of snow, and left many workers dis-heartened about their prospects. That summer, the town rebuilt with brick buildings and more permanent structures. This lead to a period of prosperity when the towns population peaked in 1918 with 1,201 people. The town had a saloon, post office, school, two churches, and a slew of hotels. The town got a bad reputation through the early twenties as prostitution became a problem in the town. It became known as the "Red Light District" of the county. In 1933, the town saw that prosperity would not last forever as more people moved to the town of Surprise Valley which was quickly growing and supplying more jobs with the railroad. Since 1933 to 1975, mine profits never increased. The mine closed in 1975 and the mill shut down the following year. Most of the towns early buildings were lost during winter storms, and the community fell into a state of decline. The town never officially incorporated, though it is known throughout the county.
ATTRACTIONS: Some old mining buildings and structure remain around town. Trails and old pathways used by minors can still be followed.
(Main Street in Mitts. Most of the main street is no longer standing, and what is left is left in dis-repair.)
(Housing in Mitts. Remnants of it's mining past still stands all around the town.)