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
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.
It was back in July of 1905 that Pete Aguereberry and Shorty Harris ran into each other at the Furnace Creek Ranch, and possibly due to the heat, decided to head up into the Panamints to do some prospecting. When they arrived on the open plateau now known as Harrisburg Flats, one of the men (each of course claiming discovery) saw something that attracted his eye on the north side of a low, long hill. Pulling out a pick and chipping off a sample, the material contained free gold. The two men divided up the outcroppings, with Harris taking claims on the south side of the ridge and Aguereberry staking claims on the north side. They came up with a name for the camp which was sure to boom on the site, they called it "Harrisberry."Read More
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.Read More
The "wells" were originally two shallow pits dug into the sandy floor of the valley basin. With the mining booms of Rhyolite, Nevada and Skidoo, the wells were a natural stopping point between the two camps. Stage and freight service between the two began in 1906 and by the following year, a small settlement had grown on the site. It was also the location of the first telephone office in the valley. J.R. Clark, a superintendent of construction on the Rhyolite-Skidoo road reported that Stovepipe Wells then consisted of a commissary tent, a boarding house, several additional tents, a corral and feeding stable and "accommodations in every respect for pilgrims crossing the hot sands. The spring is now inclosed and the water is consequently much improved."Read More