"Desert" Steve Ragsdale founded the community of Desert Center back in 1921. He had the large, adobe-style concrete Cafe, gasoline station and service garage built to entice travelers to stop in for food, gas and a shady spot to rest. Next to the cafe, he built a large "plunge," where travelers could escape the desert heat by taking a quick dip. A number of "cabins" on the west end of town provided a place to stay for folks who wanted to spend the night before continuing on their journey. A Post Office, general store, and other buildings opposite the Cafe were also built by Desert Steve and still stand today.Read More
The Mojave Desert
The Mojave is a desert of wind, temperature extremes, Joshua Trees and solitude. When most people hear the word ‘desert,’ images of tumbleweeds, rattlesnakes and bleak desolation typically come to mind. In reality, the Mojave is anything but a wasteland. Amongst the sand and sagebrush lie many places of beauty and wonder, and of historic importance. Some are the result of time and the elements, some are the result of man and his efforts to live in the Mojave, both in recent and prehistoric times. Let’s go see what we can find.
Search as I did, there was little to no information that I could find regarding what the building was used for, who owned it, a name, nothing. But it's pretty cool, and my guess is that at one time it held milling machinery inside, as there are plenty of mines in the nearby hills.Read More
Palmetto dates back to the 1860s, coming into existence after the discovery of a rich vein of silver ore by H.W. Bunyard, Thomas Israel and T.W. McNutt in 1866. Unfortunately, the vein played out within two months and the miners moved on to the next boom town.Read More
I like Beatty. Whenever I plan a trip to Death Valley, if I'm not camping, I'll stay overnight in Beatty. The town was named after "Old Man" Montillus Murray Beatty, a Civil War veteran who bought a ranch along the Amargosa River just north of the future townsite. Over the years, it's had its share of ups and downs, seen several railroads, had its own newspaper (the Beatty Bullfrog Miner), several fancy hotels and casinos.Read More
As I pulled into "town," I spotted the mill ruins off to the west of 267, up on the side of a long hill. A few other ruins were located on the east side of Scotty's Castle Road. I headed over to the mill ruins first, to see what I could find.Read More
Take U.S. Route 95, Veterans Memorial Highway, south for a few miles from Beatty, Nevada, and look towards the east. You'll spot some colorful hills and a group of very interesting cement building ruins. I had seen a few pictures of the place a while back and decided to check it out the next time I was in the area. Well, I was in the area on Thursday, October 8 of 2015, so check it out I did.Read More
In January of 1906, John Ramsey and John "One-Eye" Thompson were on their way to the newly discovered gold strike at Harrisburg. They were forced to camp overnight near Emigrant Spring due to a blinding fog, a rare occurrence in Death Valley. The next morning, the fog was gone and the two men noticed some nearby ledges that looked promising. After a quick survey of the ledges, they decided to forgo traveling to Harrisburg, as they promptly located several claims in the area. This was the beginning of the Gold Eagle Group and the beginning of the mining camp that became Skidoo.Read More
Mining activity in the Clark Mountain Range dates back to the 1860s. It’s likely that prospectors found some color in this desert region, but copper would prove to be the ore to bring prosperity to the area. A man by the name of Johnny Moss is credited with discovering the Copper World mine in 1868, which he wouldn’t have known to look for if a Piute chief hadn’t given him a chunk of metallic copper.Read More
So the first thing to say about the Death Valley Mine is, it's not located in Death Valley.
A man by the name of J.L. Bright discovered the Death Valley Mine in 1906, why he chose that name is anyone's guess, as the location was some 70 miles from Death Valley.
With the prospect of gold or silver, it wasn't long before a mining camp known as Dawson sprung up nearby. Named after the directors of the Death Valley Milling and Mining Company of Denver (who had bought the property from Bright shortly after his discovery), the inhabitants of Dawson worked not only at the DVM, but at other mines in the area as well.Read More
You don't need a visa to go to Siberia. At least, the one in California. You will need to use some mapping skills and your imagination though, to get there.
Siberia was originally founded as a water stop and rail siding for the Sante Fe Railroad, which later also became a motorist stop for travelers along Route 66. It was located between Bagdad and Ludlow and must have had some years of minor prosperity. Cafes and tourist camps operated here during the 1930s and 1940s, but things never quite took off.Read More
The name "Yermo" is derived from the Spanish word for "Wilderness." Which seems appropriate. Out in the Mojave Desert, with the Calico Mountains to the north, the area must have seemed quite desolate when it was first settled. The town was once known as "Otis," after Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, a wealthy land and mine owner in the area. The Postal Service changed the name to Yermo in 1905, possibly due to a rift between Otis and the local miners union, legend claims.Read More
Even with my old eyes, I can still see interesting things way off the highway, while speeding by at 70-80 mph. Such was the case on Nevada State Route 266 near Lida, Nevada. I was heading east toward I-95 when I caught a glimpse of something unusual several hundred yards south of the highway. My gold mine senses were tingling, so I turned around as soon as I could and headed back to see what I could find.Read More
The Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, aka "Goldstone Observatory," is the largest tracking station in the Deep Space Network, which is comprised of three installations around the world. As part of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, Goldstone is used primarily to communicate with deep space probes and satellites, and to study asteroids. The network can communicate and track multiple spacecraft within the solar system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The Goldstone complex consists of nine separate sites, spread out over 33,000 acres in a remote region of California's Mojave Desert.Read More
Rhyolite, Nevada is one of my favorite ghost towns, so much so that when I'm even remotely in the area, I'll stop by to visit and take more pictures for my collection. There is something intangible about the place that lures visitors in from all over the world. Ghosts? Yes, there are ghosts in Rhyolite.Read More
Ruth Camp is an interesting ghosttown, located approximately 14 miles north of Trona in the Argus Mountain Range. There are a good number of fairly well-preserved buildings that I was able to poke around in, which date from the late 1930s. Most have been vandalized over the years and the contents pretty much trashed, but it was still fun checking them out.Read More
Established in the early 1860s, Benton was born with the discovery of silver in the nearby Blind Springs Hills and White Mountains. Also known as Benton Hot Springs, the town thrived for a few short years. As is the tale with many mining towns, when the precious ore gave out, so did the town. Folks moved away and buildings were left for nature to reclaim.Read More
The best laid plans are often subject to the weather. I had planned on hiking the one-mile loop trail to Heart Lake in Mammoth, and also to wander around the remaining buildings of the Mammoth Consolidated Gold Mine which are right near by. It snowed the day prior to my arrival, but I was still able to make it to the Coldwater campground parking lot which also served as the trailhead to both of the places I wanted to visit. Fortunately, the old buildings from the mining camp are located quite close to the parking area, so I was able to visit those without too much difficulty. And while I did attempt the trail to the lake, the snow on the ground effectively hid the trail (and it was cold!); that hike will have to wait for another day.Read More
I was driving south on I-95. My next destination was Beatty so I could get a soda and some cookies before heading to Rhyolite and Bullfrog. As it was still early in the day, I decided to head west on Nevada State Route 266 to see if I could find the old mining town of Palmetto. I didn’t make it there, however, as I got sidetracked investigating old mines and stone ruins along the way. I guess I’ll have to save Palmetto for another trip. I did make it as far west as Lida.Read More
Located about four miles south of Johannesburg, the ghost town of Atolia has quite an interesting life story. Gold is generally the reason for most of the mining in this part of the state, but Atolia rose to prominence as a Tungsten Town.Read More
Making it to the Lester Dale Mine complex turned out to be a bit of an excursion. The site rests on the northern slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains, overlooking an off-roaders paradise known as Johnson Valley. The dirt road in (Bessemer Mine Road), is roughly six miles of alternating hardpack, washboard, deep sand, millions or rocks and sometimes a combination of all of those at the same time.Read More