Journigan's Mill, Death Valley, Cal.

Visit Date: October 6, 2015

So after surviving my near death experience at Mesquite Flat (read about it HERE), I was looking for higher altitudes, cooler climate and less hiking. I was driving up Emigrant Canyon Road, on my way to the ghost town of Harrisburg and the remains of the Eureka Mine. I'd been up this road before a couple years earlier, when I visited the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns, and I remembered seeing several spots that needed further exploration the next time I was in the area. So I was in the area, and I caught sight of these two large tanks; I pulled over to investigate and I'm glad I did.

Research later told me that this spot is known as Journigan's Mill. Records are confusing as to when serious activity began here, but mining folks were most likely first poking around here during the early 1900s. Odds are good that Indians were here long before, as there are/were six springs in the vicinity.

Verified mining and milling operations ran here sporadically from the 1920s through the early 1970s. Carl Suksdorf and Frank (Shorty) Harris reportedly ran a ball mill here in 1918 while performing custom work for local area miners. Suksdorf later filed for water rights to the six nearby springs in the early 1920s, but later lost the rights when he failed to improve and develop the water sources. Shorty Borden and Shorty Harris purportedly operated a five-stamp mill on this site in 1924, to process ore from Skidoo.

Journigan Mining and Milling Co, circa 1935

The property came into the possession of a Dr. Archibald sometime around 1926 and a Mr. Hoover continued the milling operations on site until 1932. In March of 1934, Roy Journigan, E.L. Journigan and L.E. Steinberger located the five-acre Gold Bottom Mill Site claim in this area. Roy later acquired full ownership of the property. The mill was busy during the latter part of the 1930s, as many of the formerly productive mines in the region reopened since there was now a mill to process their ore.

From the 1940s through the late 1960s, ownership of the mill, water and mining rights changed hands a number of times. Milling activity at the site seems to have ended by 1973.

I pulled off the road and parked near a large cement foundation, upon which a woodframe building most likely once stood. Was it an office, a bunkhouse, a storeroom? I don't know, but it had what appeared to be three railroad ties set into the cement. Something big must have been mounted to them at one time. 

I headed south, up-canyon, as I say big chunks of desert gold. No idea what this was used for, so I continued on, wondering what might be up around the bend. If you happen to be one of my seventeen constant readers, you know what my three favorite things to find in the wilderness happen to be. Fame? Fortune? A perfectly hand-crafted hot chocolate? No. Those are things I look for in the city. But in the wilderness....

....I really like finding old, abandoned vehicles. So imagine my joy upon round the bend and seeing these three old automobiles.

I named this one "Sparky."

Good ole "Number Six."

May I introduce, "Pretty Boy." Ok, maybe I should have been wearing a hat.

After snapping quite a few images of these three rusty dreadnaughts, I climbed up the slope to the west, on my way to the two large tanks which had been my reason for investigating the area. I quickly came to a dirt road that forked; one branch leading up to the tanks, the other back down the where I had started.

This one wasn't as photogenic as the others.

A nice view of the two steel water tanks opened up, with T-Red off in the distance. I was hiking up above them to a small plateau at the crown of the hill because there was something intriguing sitting there.

Some kind of hopper that would funnel material down to processing plants below? I don't know, but I wouldn't mind having one in my backyard as a conversation piece. It sits about six feet high.

Looking down from the top of the hill, at an extensive layout of cement foundation and machinery supports. Only one of the seven concrete cyanide vats is visible from this vantage point.

Looking down from atop the hill towards where several buildings once stood. The image at the right was taken during the early 1960s.

Heading down the road, I wandered over to where those buildings once stood. I certainly wish they were still there, as old abandoned buildings are also in my top three things to find and explore out in the desert.

Sometimes I don't even find this much evidence of places that once were. But you never know what you'll find if you don't pull off the road and get out and look. I'm certainly glad I stopped at Journigan's Mill and did a little research. And for everyone of these old, abandoned sites with easy access, I know there are many more out in the hills that require a good amount of effort to get to. Maybe someday. Next on the list on this day, Harrisburg and the Eureka Mine.

Google Earth view of Journigan's Mining and Milling Company area. North is the bottom of the image.

Thanks for coming along on this trip, please checkout some of my other adventures on this site.  I'm branching out into video as well, click HERE to see for yourself.