Death Valley National Park
Death Valley Ghost Towns
1897 marks the year that Ballarat came into being. The main mine was the Radcliffe which
produced 15,000 tons of gold ore between the years 1898-1903. The town was named after
an Australian gold camp and was home to 400 people in 1898. Several legendary Death Valley
figures lived there.
Chloride City became a town in 1905 when the Bullfrog strike brought people into the
area to rework old mining claims. It became a ghost town the following year. There are
numerous adits and dumps in the area and one grave of a James McKay, of whom nothing is
This town was built around a copper strike in 1905. Water had to be hauled into town and
was sold for $15 a barrel. The town grew to a population of 2,000 and was known for its lively
magazine the Death Valley Chuckwalla. By 1909 the mining had collapsed without ever showing
a profit and people left for other areas.
Originally this town was to named Harrisberry after the two men who found the gold that
launched it in 1905. Shorty Harris
later took credit for the strike and changed the name of the town to Harrisburg after himself.
Pete Aguereberry, one of the
original strike finders, spent 40 years working his claims in the
Eureka gold mine.
Harrisburg was a tent city that grew to a population of 300.
Copper and lead claims had been filed in the area as early as 1905 but it wasn't until 1906
that the area was heavily mined. In February, Charles Julian, the flamboyant promoter became
president of the town's leading mining company, the Western Lead Mines. Julian's promotions
were responsible for bringing great numbers of people into the area and in April, 1926
the town was laid out. Two things contributed to the demise of the town in 1927. One was the
financial downfall of Charles Julian and the other was the playing-out of lead ore.
It was called the toughest, rawest, most hard-boiled little hell hole that ever passed for a
civilized town. Its founders were outlaws who when hiding from the law, found silver in
Surprise Canyon in 1873 and gave up their life of crime. In 1874 the town was in the height of
its boom with a population of 2,000. By the fall of 1875 the boom was over and in 1876 a
flash flood destroyed most of the town.
This was the biggest town in the Death Valley area boasting a population between 5,000-10,000
people. During its heyday from 1905-1911 it contained 2 churches, 50 saloons, 18 stores,
2 undertakers, 19 lodging houses, 8 doctors, 2 dentists, a stock exchange and an opera.
This town was founded in 1906 by two prospectors on their way to the strike at Harrisburg.
They camped in the fog and when the sun came out the next morning they awoke to a ledge of
gold. The town reached a population of 700 and became famous as the site of the only hanging
to take place in Death Valley.