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The Historical Mining Towns of the Eastern Mojave Desert

By Alan Hensher

In 1869, a prospecting expedition discovered copper and silver veins in the Clark Mountains. A supply center, named Ivanpah, arose at Ivanpah Spring, several miles from the silver deposits; the two main properties became the Beatrice and Lizzie Bullock. Mills were built at Ivanpah in the mid-1870s. The district reached its peak about 1879 and then declined rapidly during the early 1880s.

Copper World smelter, Rosalie, c.1898

The Copper World, the other major strike, was developed in 1898, when a smelter was built at nearby Rosalie Wells. Although the production was large at times, the operations were erratic, and the Copper World shut down about World War I.

In 1879, gold and silver were found near Mountain Pass. This became the Mescal Mine. The property was developed in 1882 and remained active at least into 1887. The Mescal produced an estimated $250,000 in bullion.

Silver ore was discovered in the Providence Mountains in 1880. The main property was the Bonanza King Mine. Two speculators in Colorado, Wilson Waddingham and Thomas Ewing, bought the property several years later. They built a mill at a nearby spring and sank a deep shaft. After producing $1,500,000 in bullion, the mill burned in 1885; as the price of silver declined, mining became erratic, and work in the district ended during the early 1890s. The Bonanza King was revived in 1906-1907 and 1915-1920.

Bob Black, an Indian, struck gold ore near Vanderbilt Spring, in the New York Mountains, in 1891, when a tent camp was founded. In late 1892, major development began. The main mines were the Gold Bronze and the Boomerang. Meanwhile, the Nevada Southern Railway was built into the area, and a railhead was established at Manvel. The veins were small, and the districtís two mills were inefficient. The district began to decline in 1894, though some mining continued through the late 1890s.

Several prospectors from Goldfield, Nevada, found gold in the Castle Mountains in late 1907. A town named Hart was founded in early 1908, and a mill was built. The leading properties were the Oro Belle, Big Chief, and Hart Consolidated, but the veins were small and broken, and the district began to decline in 1909. Occasional mining continued until about 1915.

Mining began in the Vontrigger district during the 1890s, but the mines were small. After 1904, Albert H. Cram, a promoter, developed a copper deposit known as the California Mine, north of Goffs. He built a large camp and installed a leaching operation, which produced some copper. The nearest shipping point was Vontrigger, on the California Eastern Railway, two miles away. Cram discontinued work about 1911. Several miles to the west, in the Hackberry Mountains, the Getchell Mine was developed in 1925, and a large camp, also named Vontrigger, was built there, but the work soon stopped.








This paper was published as:
Hensher, Alan, 2005, Robert E. Reynolds editor, Old Ores, Mining History in the Eastern Mojave Desert: California State University, Desert Studies Consortium and LSA Associates, Inc.

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