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The Integratron is a unique and historic structure located in Landers, California, near Joshua Tree National Park. Designed by George Van Tassel, who was an aeronautical engineer, ufologist, and contactee, the Integratron is a 38-foot high, 55-foot diameter, all-wooden dome that was constructed without the use of nails to ensure a perfect acoustical environment. Van Tassel claimed that the Integratron was capable of rejuvenation, anti-gravity, and time travel and that its design was inspired by Moses’ Tabernacle and the work of Nikola Tesla. The building sits on a powerful geomagnetic vortex in the Mojave Desert, adding to its mystical appeal. Today, the Integratron is known for its “Sound Bath” experiences, offering visitors deep relaxation, rejuvenation, and introspection through the use of sound waves generated within the structure’s acoustically perfect dome​

Indian Cove


Indian Cove is a popular area within Joshua Tree National Park, known for its stunning rock formations, unique desert landscapes, and accessibility for camping and rock climbing. Located in the Mojave Desert of California, this area offers a different experience than the park’s main parts due to its unique geology and vegetation. Indian Cove is characterized by its towering rock walls, which make it a favorite spot for climbers of various skill levels.

The campground at Indian Cove is nestled among the massive boulders, providing a scenic backdrop for campers. It’s one of the few campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park that can be reserved in advance, making it a convenient option for visitors planning their trip. The area also features several hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes, allowing visitors to explore the desert landscape and wildlife.

Indian Cove is accessed from a road different from the main park entrances, located off Highway 62, which makes it somewhat separate from the rest of Joshua Tree National Park. This separation adds to its secluded and exclusive feel, although it is still part of the park and subject to the same rules and regulations.

Visitors to Indian Cove can enjoy the natural beauty and outdoor activities and the opportunity to experience the quiet and solitude of the desert. Nighttime brings clear, starry skies, making it an excellent location for stargazing.

To visit Indian Cove, it’s important to check the latest information on Joshua Tree National Park’s official website or contact the park directly for current conditions, campground availability, and any specific requirements or restrictions that may be in place.

Silver Queen – Mojave, CA


Call NumberX-61476
CreditDenver Public Library Special Collections, [call number]
TitleSilver Queen Mine Mojave Calif.
Date1934 December 4
SummaryMiners, including Andrew Holmes, inspect a piece of ore in a tunnel of the Silver Queen Mine (a gold mine) near Mojave, California. Two mine cars that read: “R. L. McLaurin Myers Durkee Woods” and “M. Daniels” are nearby.
Format of Original Material1 photoprint ; 17 x 22 cm (7 x 8 1/2 in.)
Digital Version Created FromMax 1980.
Type of MaterialPhotographic prints; Black & white photographs
SubjectDump cars–Arizona–Mojave; Silver Queen Mine (Calif.); Gold mining–Arizona–Mojave; Interiors–Arizona–Mojave; Miners–Arizona–Mojave; Mining–Arizona–Mojave
Contact InformationSubmit questions about research and access to this material here: For questions about reproduction and use of this material visit:
Digital Reproduction Available for Purchase?Yes
Related MaterialImage File: ZZR710061476
NotesTitle hand-written on back of print. Type-written label attached to back of print reads: “Associated Press Photo” and contains historical information. R7100614761
Corrections and SuggestionsIf you have a question or a correction regarding this resource, please contact us at


Like in many desert environments, natural erosion in the Mojave Desert is a process influenced by a combination of factors, including wind, water, temperature fluctuations, and biological activity. These forces work together to shape the landscape over time, contributing to the unique features characteristic of the desert. Here’s an overview of how these factors contribute to natural erosion in the Mojave Desert:

  1. Wind Erosion: Wind is a significant agent of erosion in the Mojave Desert. Strong winds can pick up and transport sand and smaller particles in a process known as deflation, leaving behind larger rocks and creating features such as sand dunes and yardangs (streamlined rock formations carved by wind-blown sand). Wind erosion can also polish and shape rocks and landforms through a sand-blasting effect.
  2. Water Erosion: Although the Mojave Desert is known for its arid climate, it does experience occasional heavy rains and flash floods, especially during thunderstorms. These sudden downpours can rapidly erode the landscape, carving out gullies and washes and shaping canyons and valleys. Water erosion is particularly effective because the dry, compacted soil and sparse vegetation offer little resistance to the force of running water.
  3. Temperature Fluctuations: The Mojave Desert experiences extreme temperature variations between day and night, contributing to mechanical weathering, which breaks down rocks without chemical change. This occurs as minerals in the rocks expand and contract at different rates due to the temperature changes, leading to the formation of cracks and ultimately causing the rocks to break apart. Over time, this process further breaks down rock materials that can be more easily eroded by wind and water.
  4. Biological Activity: The activity of organisms, including plants, animals, and microorganisms, can also contribute to erosion in the Mojave Desert. For example, the roots of plants can grow into cracks in rocks, eventually prying them apart. Burrowing animals can move soil and rock, exposing new surfaces to erosion. Microbial and fungal activity can also chemically weather rock surfaces, making them more susceptible to erosion.
  5. Chemical Erosion: Although less visible, chemical weathering plays a role in shaping the Mojave Desert landscape. This involves the breakdown of rocks through chemical reactions, such as the dissolution of minerals by water. This process can be particularly evident in areas with saline soils and water sources, forming unique mineral deposits and features.

These natural erosion processes are slow and occur over long periods, gradually sculpting the desert’s landscape into its current form. The interaction of these factors creates a dynamic environment where landforms are continuously shaped and reshaped, contributing to the diverse and striking landscapes found in the Mojave Desert.

Casa Del Desierto


History of Casa del Desierto, Harvey House, Barstow, California

Casa del Desierto

The Casa del Desierto in Barstow, California, is a significant landmark with a rich history, symbolizing the Harvey Houses’ bygone era. In partnership with the Santa Fe Railway, Fred Harvey established a chain of Harvey Houses along the railroad in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These establishments provided high-quality food and lodging to travelers, revolutionizing railway dining and accommodation in the United States.

The Casa del Desierto, meaning “House of the Desert,” was built in 1911 and is one of the finest examples of the Harvey House establishments. Designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, it reflects the architectural elegance and grandeur intended to attract and serve passengers of the Santa Fe Railway. This particular Harvey House played a crucial role in the development of the American Southwest by providing a luxurious stopover for travelers traversing the vast and arid Mojave Desert.

Throughout its operational years, the Casa del Desierto served as a restaurant and hotel and housed the Barstow railroad depot, a Harvey Company retail store, and a telegraph office. It was a vital part of the community and a hub of activity, embodying the spirit of hospitality and the cultural exchange between the East and West.

However, with the decline of railway travel and the rise of automobile transportation, the demand for Harvey House services diminished. The Casa del Desierto closed its doors in the late 20th century and fell into disrepair. Recognizing its historical and architectural significance, efforts were made to preserve and restore the building.

Today, the Casa del Desierto has been repurposed and houses the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce, the Western America Railroad Museum, and the Route 66 “Mother Road” Museum. It stands as a testament to the vision of Fred Harvey and the importance of the Harvey Houses in American history. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, ensuring its preservation for future generations to appreciate the legacy of the Harvey Houses and their impact on travel and culture in the American Southwest.

Naming Phelan


Phelan, California

A high desert community NW of San Bernardino. The area was known as Sheep Creek in the early 1900s ) and when the AFPO was filed on 2 May 1916, the name “Renfroe” was requested, allegedly to the surprise of natives who crossed it off the application and substituted Phelan. Phelan was for former San Francisco mayor James Phelan, and again, the locals claimed the name was “foisted” off on them against their wishes by the P.O.D. At any rate, the name was given the P.O. and remains the community name. Before the P.O. was established, mail was delivered from Victorville 3 times a week for five years by Isaac McAllister, who had homesteaded in 1915.

Postmaster Ruth McDaniel states the office had four different locations in and around the small town since 1916 and is presently located in a mall at 4184 Phelan Rd. It has over-flowed its building and has a permanent trailer for retail sales in front of the facility. The office has ten employees making 4,000 deliveries to an estimated patronage of 10,000.

From Postal History of San Bernardino County
by Lewis Garrett

Twentynine Palms


The name “Twentynine Palms,” referring to the city in California, indeed lacks a hyphen, which might seem unusual given the norm in English to hyphenate compound numbers from twenty-one through ninety-nine. The reason for this absence of a hyphen in “Twentynine Palms” is more historical and conventional than grammatical.

Oasis of Mara (colorized vintage photo)

The city’s name comes from the original designation of the area by the Oasis of Mara, where it was noted by early settlers or possibly by surveyors that there were twenty-nine palm trees at the site. This naming convention stuck, and the specific styling of “Twentynine” without a hyphen became the city’s official name. Over time, this styling was retained in official documents, signage, and local usage, making it the standard spelling.

In-place names, especially hyphens, can vary widely and are often dictated by tradition or local preference rather than strict grammatical rules. Once a name is established and recognized in official records, it tends to remain unchanged to preserve historical consistency and identity. This is why “Twentynine Palms” remains without a hyphen, reflecting its unique history and how it was originally named.

Building Randsburg


Randsburg, often called a “living ghost town,” is a unique and fascinating study in architectural resilience, adapting to both the harsh desert environment and the boom-and-bust cycles characteristic of mining towns. In the high desert of California, Randsburg’s architectural style reflects its history as a late 19th-century gold mining town that has managed to retain a small population even as its mining operations have largely ceased.

The architectural significance of Randsburg lies not just in the individual structures but in the town’s overall ability to maintain its historical character while adapting to modern needs. It serves as a case study in preserving historical architecture in challenging environments and economic conditions.

Randsburg’s architecture tells the story of its past, from the optimism of the gold rush era to the perseverance required to survive once the initial boom faded. The town’s ability to attract tourists and maintain a sense of community amidst its historic buildings is a testament to the enduring appeal of architectural heritage.

Randsburg’s architecture offers valuable insights into the life and times of a mining town that has weathered the ups and downs of fortune. Its buildings, both preserved and decaying, provide a tangible connection to the past. At the same time, the town’s ongoing adaptation speaks to the resilience of its community and the enduring relevance of its architectural legacy. Randsburg stands as a living ghost town where architecture plays a crucial role in keeping its history alive.

Route 66 – Bottle Tree Ranch


Elmer Long’s Bottle Tree Ranch is a unique outdoor art gallery on the historic Route 66 in Helendale, California. This folk art installation is a fascinating example of American roadside culture and creativity. Elmer Long began creating his Bottle Tree Ranch in the early 2000s, using bottles collected from his childhood adventures in the desert with his father. The ranch features hundreds of metal trees adorned with thousands of glass bottles and various found objects and antiques, creating a colorful and whimsical landscape.

Visitors to the Bottle Tree Ranch can wander through the forest of bottle trees, each clinking and clattering in the wind, creating a serene yet eerie musical symphony. The installation is not just a display of recycled art; it’s a personal history and homage to the spirit of exploration and beauty in discarded items. Each tree and item on the ranch tells a story, making it a poignant stop on the journey along Route 66.

Elmer Long’s Bottle Tree Ranch is a testament to the artist’s creativity and dedication to transforming everyday objects into something magical. It’s a must-see for travelers interested in folk art, Americana, and the history of Route 66. The ranch provides a unique photo opportunity and a chance to experience one of the most iconic and imaginative roadside attractions in the United States.

Boy in a Box

The “Boy in the Box” incident occurred in 1969 at Solar Ranch near Vidal, California. This case involved a six-year-old boy named Anthony Saul Gibbons, who was found sitting inside a six-foot by six-foot box with a chain padlocked to his left leg and attached to a heavy metal plate. This incident was connected to the Solar Lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis, a magical organization established in 1965 in California. The lodge owned several businesses in Vidal, including a gas station with a cafe, motel, bar, house, and grocery store​​​​​​.

The case became infamous when it was revealed that the boy was mistreated by members of the lodge, leading to charges of child endangerment. It was alleged that the boy had been chained inside the box for 56 days; however, it was later clarified that he was only in the box for 10 hours. To avoid prosecution, several officers of the lodge fled California​.