Ghost Towns & Sites in the Mojave Desert


The Mojave Desert in the southwestern United States is home to several ghost towns and abandoned sites that reflect the region’s history of mining, ranching, and other activities.

Bodie Ghost Town

Here are some notable examples:

  1. Calico Ghost Town:
    • Located near Barstow, California, Calico is one of the most famous ghost towns in the Mojave Desert. It was a silver mining town in the 1880s and 1890s. Today, Calico is a county park and tourist attraction with preserved buildings and mining equipment.
  2. Rhyolite:
    • Near Death Valley in Nevada, Rhyolite was a bustling gold mining town in the early 20th century. It had a population of several thousand people at its peak. The town had schools, banks, and even an opera house. However, it declined rapidly, and now visitors can explore the ruins of its former glory.
  3. Ballarat:
    • In California near the Panamint Mountains, Ballarat was a supply town for the nearby mines in the early 20th century. It is known for its association with the infamous outlaw Charles Manson, who briefly stayed in the area.
  4. Bodie:
    • Although technically not in the Mojave Desert (in the Eastern Sierra region), Bodie is worth mentioning. This well-preserved ghost town was a gold mining boomtown in the late 19th century. It’s now a state park; visitors can explore the abandoned buildings and artifacts.
  5. Panamint City:
    • Nestled in the Panamint Range of California, Panamint City was a silver mining town that thrived in the late 19th century. The town’s remote location contributed to its decline and was abandoned by the early 20th century. The site is accessible by hiking, and some structures remain.
  6. Cima:
    • Cima is a small ghost town in the Mojave National Preserve in California. It was a mining and railroad town in the early 20th century. While most of the buildings are gone, the area still has some remnants of its past.
  7. Ivanpah:
    • Ivanpah, located in California, was a mining town that saw activity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, only a few structures remain, including stamp mill ruins.
Building in Cima ghost town in Mojave Preserve
Cima Ghost Town

Exploring these ghost towns and abandoned sites provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of the Mojave Desert and the people who once inhabited these remote areas. Keep in mind that some of these sites may be on private land or protected areas, so it’s essential to respect any restrictions and regulations in place.

Desert Photography

Desert photography offers unique challenges and opportunities due to arid regions’ distinctive landscapes and lighting conditions. Whether you’re capturing vast dunes, rocky terrains, or desert flora and fauna, here are some tips to enhance your desert photography:

West Fork, Mojave River
West Fork, Mojave River
  1. Golden Hours: The soft, warm light during the golden hours (shortly after sunrise and before sunset) can add a magical touch to your desert photos. Shadows are longer, and the colors become more vibrant, creating a pleasing atmosphere.
  2. Contrast and Textures: Deserts often feature striking contrasts between sand, rocks, and the sky. Emphasize these contrasts in your compositions to create visually appealing images. Pay attention to the textures of the sand or rocky surfaces.
  3. Silhouettes: Use the strong sunlight to create silhouettes of desert features. This technique can be particularly effective when the sky has captivating colors during sunrise or sunset.
  4. Wide Angle for Landscapes: A wide-angle lens is great for capturing the vastness of desert landscapes. It lets you include expansive skies, sweeping dunes, or rocky formations in your frame.
  5. Macro Photography: Explore the smaller details of the desert environment with macro photography. Capture close-up shots of desert flowers, reptiles, or insects to showcase the intricacies of life in arid regions.
  6. Use a Polarizing Filter: A polarizing filter can help reduce glare from the sun on sand or rocks and enhance the colors of the sky. It’s particularly useful when photographing in midday sunlight.
  7. Capture the Night Sky: Deserts often have low light pollution, making them ideal for astrophotography. Consider capturing the night sky, stars, and celestial objects. Use a sturdy tripod and a wide aperture for long exposure shots.
  8. Add a Point of Interest: To give your photos a focal point, include an interesting subject such as a lone tree, a rock formation, or even a person in the vast desert landscape. This helps create a sense of scale and adds visual interest.
  9. Protect Your Gear: Deserts can be harsh with blowing sand and intense sunlight. Keep your camera and lenses protected when not in use, and consider using lens hoods or lens caps to prevent sand from damaging your equipment.
  10. Mind the Temperature: Be mindful of the temperature, especially in hot desert environments. Carry sufficient water, protect yourself from the sun, and take breaks to avoid heat-related issues.
Death Valley, Mesquite Dunes

Remember that each desert is unique, so take the time to explore and discover the specific features that make the desert you photograph special. Experiment with different compositions, lighting conditions, and perspectives to create captivating desert images.

The Renegade

A chapter from Senator Harry Reid’s book
Searchlight: The Camp That Didn’t Fail

On February 21, 1940, the banner headline in the Las Vegas Review-Journal— BODY OF INDIAN FOUND— recalled for many in the town memories of the first murder the dead Indian had committed thirty years earlier at Timber Mountain, just a few miles from Searchlight in the McCullough Range.

On a cool fall day in October 1910, Harriett and John Reid were on their way, via horse-drawn wagon, to work at their mine—she manned the horse-operated hoist, and he mined the ore. They could see an Indian approaching them, carrying a .30-.30 Winchester rifle and traveling at a very fast pace. The Reids stopped, as did the Indian, whom they recognized as Queho, an acquaintance who worked at various menial jobs throughout the Searchlight area. They exchanged greetings and after a brief visit went their separate ways. Later, the Reids and everyone else in the area learned that Queho had been hurrying down from Timber Mountain, where he had been cutting wood for J.W. Woodworth, a timber and firewood contractor. Woodworth had refused to pay Queho, who then flew into a rage and beat the man to death with one of the timbers he had cut. This murder was the beginning of an odyssey that took thirty years to play out.

Cabin, Searchlight, Nevada
Searchlight, Nevada

Queho soon struck again, this time near the river in Eldorado Canyon, at the Gold Bug Mine, which was partially owned by Frank Rockefeller, brother of John D. Rockefeller. A short time afterward, Queho admitted to Canyon Charlie, an Indian elder almost a hundred years old, that he had killed the mine’s night watchman, his former employer. The second murder occurred on the route between the Crescent area, where the woodcutter was killed, and the river.

Cottonwood Cove

Local lawmen, who viewed Queho as little more than an ignorant savage, thought that catching him would be child’s play. They couldn’t have been more wrong. The clever Indian stole a horse from a man named Cox and eluded the law.

A large manhunt was organized to apprehend the Indian outlaw. It was assumed that Queho would be easy to track, since he dragged one leg as a result of an earlier injury. James Babcock, an operator of the Eldorado mine and a lawyer educated in Washington, D.C., led the search party. He was accompanied by a contingent of Las Vegas lawmen, including Ike Alcock, as well as Indian trackers and an Indian agent named DeCrevecoeur. One of the pursuers was overheard remarking that Queho’s chances of living a long and happy life were very slim. The manhunt extended more than 200 miles, ranging from Crescent to Nipton and even coursing toward Pahranagat Valley, nearly 150 miles to the north. The pursuers gave up the search when supplies ran out and they grew weary. At that point the lawmen began to suspect that maybe this Indian was cunning and smart, not quite the “dumb” savage they had thought.

Queho was subsequently blamed for a number of murders that he did not commit. The first was the murder of James Patterson. The newspaper headline read, MAN KILLED BY QUEHO STILL ALIVE. Patterson hadn’t been killed by the Indian or anyone else—as was evident when he turned up alive and unharmed. But in the course of looking for Patterson, the search party found another man whom Queho had shot.

The press closely followed Queho’s escapades. A reward of $500 was offered for the Indian’s capture, and Nevada’s only member of Congress announced that the federal government should assist in the capture of this madman.

In March 1911 it was reported that two men on the Arizona side of the river, just below Searchlight, watched Queho beat a white man to death on the opposite side. The prospectors were powerless to help, as they had no way to cross the river; they were also unarmed and feared that Queho was armed and would attack them. By this time fear gripped the entire region.

It was believed that the best method for apprehending Queho was to enlist the Piutes in the search, which was the standard operating procedure at the time. Whites regularly abused and harassed the Indians, and if an Indian committed a crime, the white community would force the Indians to produce someone to answer for the crime. To fail in this responsibility meant great distress for the Indians because it led to further harassment by the whites.

In the hills below Searchlight, about five miles from the river, one of the Du Pont heirs to the chemical fortune of the Eastern United States was encamped. He was an outcast from his famous family. At the urging of voices that only he could hear, he began digging a tunnel through one of the volcanic mountains with a pick and shovel. He started the tunnel in 1896, even before gold was discovered in Searchlight, and eventually extended it nearly 2,000 feet through the solid volcanic rock. Du Pont was always friendly to the Indians who came by his camp and often shared his provisions with them. But shortly after the murders of Woodworth and the Gold Bug watchman, some of Du Pont’s supplies disappeared, and Queho was said to be the culprit. The newspaper editorialized that the federal government owed a responsibility to the people of Searchlight to intercede in this Indian affair. It wrote: “A good Indian is a dead Indian.”

Most still believed Queho would be caught, that with both Indians and whites on his trail victory was assured. The Las Vegas Age newspaper headlined an article with QUEHO THE BAD INDIAN IS IN A BAD FIX. In a subsequent edition the paper said that civilians and bad whiskey had turned Queho into the killer he was. The paper also observed: “It is very probable that Mr. Queho’s days are numbered considering those after him.”

The posse was large and well equipped, as all other hunting and tracking parties had been. At this point it was believed that Queho had come back to the river. Alcock wrote to Constable Colton in Searchlight, informing him that he was on the trail of Queho, as he had recently found fresh tracks at Cow Wells, near Searchlight. Queho was also reported to have been seen in the town itself at least once. The posse came up empty-handed.

In 1912 Fred Pine, while hunting near Timber Mountain, came upon Queho, who was armed with his ever-present Winchester. The men exchanged greetings. Pine asked Queho if he would like one of his sandwiches. Queho accepted, and in return offered, Pine one of his dried rats or chipmunks. Pine finally turned to leave, expecting at any moment to be shot in the back, but nothing happened.

Queho was surely an expert at hunting and fishing. He could eat anything, including tortoiseschuckawallasburroshorsesmountain sheep, chipmunks, rats and various birds.

The Queho legend began to grow. Several manhunts were organized—all public, all ending in failure. The Searchlight newspaper ceased publication, so news about the comings and goings of the fugitive was no longer so sensationalized. Though some believed he had been killed by other Indians, occasional sightings were reported. There were even rumors that he had a girlfriend around Searchlight named Indian Mary. Others reported having seen him in Searchlight. Murl Emery told people that he had seen Queho several times. Searchlight residents indicated that some contact was maintained with him over the next twenty-five years.

Eldorado Canyon, Nelson Nevada
Mouth of Eldorado Canyon

Seven years later, in the winter of 1919, the peace of the countryside was again shattered when Maude Douglas was murdered in her home at the Techatticup Mine in Eldorado Canyon. She heard a noise in the dead of night, walked into the kitchen to investigate, and was felled by a shotgun blast. On the floor was spilled cornmeal that the intruder had been trying to take from the cupboard. The trail from the cabin showed tracks of a man with a noticeable limp, like Queho’s.

Techatticup Mine - Nelson, Nevada
Techatticup Mine – Nelson, Nevada

Mrs. Douglas was married and had two children of her own, as well as the responsibility for two other small youngsters, Bertha and Leo Kennedy. Leo, who was only four years old at the time of the murder, later said that Maude had been killed by Arvin Douglas, the man of the house. There is no corroborating evidence to support that claim, especially in view of the uniquely patterned tracks at the Douglas cabin. Bertha also said that she felt responsible, because she had awakened Mrs. Douglas for a drink of water and if she had not done that, the woman would not have gone into the kitchen.

The overwhelming weight of the evidence pointed to Queho, as confirmed by a coroner’s inquest that was convened after Maude’s death. The coroner determined that she had been shot at close range and that the tracks from the house fit Queho’s.

The murder of Maude Douglas initiated a new era of Queho hunting. During the chase, the search party found a mountain sheep that Queho had recently slaughtered. They also found two dead miners named Taylor and Hancock, whom he had killed with their own prospector’s pick. The searchers soon learned that Queho traveled at night and holed up during the day. The pursuit ended in futility after three weeks, with the near death of the group’s leader, Frank Wait, from exhaustion.

Wait believed that Queho was hiding in the area where he had killed Woodworth. Knowing that he was being followed, Queho did not want to attract attention with gunshots, so he killed the two miners with their pick, probably to get a replacement for his worn boots. Sheriff Joe Keate described him as being able to starve a coyote to death and still have plenty of strength to continue. He reportedly knew of places in the desert where depressions worn into the rock stored rainwater for up to a year.

Alcock, a man named Alvord, an Indian trader named Baboon, and ten others made up the search party. Among the group were some Indians, and it was discovered that they were signaling Queho by smoke signal, thus allowing the killer to elude his pursuers.

The reward was increased to $3,000. Individuals and groups found evidence of Queho—a cave he had stayed in along the Colorado, remains of a mountain sheep and a burro.

For the next few years, another period of quiet prevailed when no recorded murders were known to have been committed by Queho. Nevertheless, no one felt secure. Prospectors and others tried to travel in pairs, one or the other of them always keeping watch at night. Not until 1935 did the next confirmed sighting of Queho take place. A cowboy named Charles Parker had a mare disappear; a week later the horse was found with part of its carcass cut away, obviously for eating. Upon investigating, the cowboy got more than he had bargained for. He was accosted by a scantily clad Indian with long, stringy hair and was robbed, but escaped  unharmed. Searching the same area later, Parker and others found a cave along the river with drying jerky in it. A gunfight ensued and nine shots were fired, with no apparent injury to either of the parties.

As the years passed, Queho was accused of killing as many as twenty-one people. His first murder actually occurred before the Woodworth episode; the victim was his cousin or half brother, an Indian outlaw named Avote. The white community insisted that the Indians
produce someone to pay for Avote’s crimes, and so as a young man, Queho killed his relative at Cottonwood Island on the river below Searchlight. He also likely killed Bismark, a Las Vegas Indian, but that was a tribal killing and would not usually have been pursued in early Las Vegas. There were allegations of other killings but no actual proof.

Queho outsmarted the best that law enforcement had to offer. His pursuers may have come close on several occasions, but he always evaded him. He was an excellent shot and had a reputation of being extremely brutal.

Finally, in February 1940, Queho’s body was found by three prospectors in a cave about ten miles below Boulder Dam and 2,000 feet above the river. They also found fuses and blasting caps from the dam at the site. This cave was one of the best hidden and most impregnable hideaways imaginable. It even had a trip wire hooked to a bell to alert him of intruders. Queho had been dead for at least six months.

Some of his old pursuers, not wanting to acknowledge that they had been outsmarted for thirty years, tried to say he had been dead since 1919. Items in the cave from the construction of Boulder Dam quickly disproved their claim—veneer board, used in concrete moldings at the dam, that Queho used for protection from the elements. And there were fuses, which he used for reloading his bullets and shotgun shells. Also discovered in the cave was the badge of the night watchman killed at the Gold Bug Mine. His loaded Winchester rifle and the shotgun with which he likely killed Maude Douglas were in the cave, as well as a fine bow and twelve steel-tipped arrows (probably for fishing in the river), recently minted coins, and papers from some of his victims.

The large number of eyeglasses in the cave probably indicated that he was afflicted with poor eyesight in his later years. At death he was believed to be about sixty years old. He had died in a position of apparent pain, wearing a canvas hat and pants. One of his legs was wrapped with burlap, which indicated that he may have been snake-bitten. A former acquaintance confirmed the identity of the body by the unusual dental feature of double rows of teeth.

Charley Kenyon, one of the prospectors who discovered Queho’s body, later found other nearby caves that the Indian had used. Queho was also said to have panned a little gold, which he saved in Bull Durham tobacco sacks, then exchanged for food and other supplies. One of the persons who probably had some contact with Queho was the eminent Murl Emery, who always seemed protective of him and also admitted to leaving food for him. Emery was quoted as saying, “Why don’t you let the poor Indian rest?” Emery lived at and operated Nelson’s Landing for many years and was a constant companion of mystery writer Erle Stanley Gardner.

Queho remained controversial even after death. Two political enemies and former law enforcement officers, Gene Ward and Frank Wait, both involved in trying to bring the desperado to justice over the years, fought over his skeleton.

Neither won, as James Cashman and the Elks Lodge intervened to pay the funeral home for the costs of interment. The Elks then displayed Queho’s bones at Helldorado (the premier entertainment event in Las Vegas for more than forty years, beginning in the 1930s) as in a carnival attraction.

The bones were stolen from Helldorado Village and found in Bonanza Wash in Las Vegas; Dick Seneker subsequently acquired them and returned them when James Cashman again offered a reward. The Indian’s remains are  now believed to be buried in Cathedral Canyon near Pahrump.

Queho’s name continues to bring forth tales too numerous to confirm. In an oral statement taken in the late 1970s, historian Elbert Edwards of Boulder City gave a rambling account of stories about Queho. Edwards did not rebut the stories of Queho’s murderous binge, attributing a total of seventeen murders to the Indian.

Edwards described one man who was killed with a pick handle before Woodworth was killed at Timber Mountain. He then confirmed the murders of the Gold Bug watchman, Maude Douglas at Nelson, the two St. Thomas miners Hancock and Taylor, and then two unidentified miners. He also described Queho’s murder of a wandering cowboy with his trusty rifle and spoke of five individuals who were killed in a cabin near what is now Boulder Dam—three with a rifle and two with a knife. Edwards’s narrative also related the story of two others, killed in nearby Black Canyon the next day. The authenticity of most of the murders recounted by Edwards is questionable, but they do reveal the legendary status accorded this Indian desperado.

Black Canyon - Colorado River
Black Canyon – Colorado River

Queho was a killer who outsmarted all who tried to capture him. The story is tragic, not only because of the lives that he took but because even in Searchlight his story illustrates to us how poorly Indians were treated. The first census, in 1900, reported forty-two Indians in Searchlight, obviously in the river area where there was water. They were eventually driven out of Searchlight.

In the summer of 1905 the Searchlight newspaper reported that the Indian village on the outskirts of town had been destroyed by fire. The paper disparagingly remarked: “All bucks and squaws were away.” Indians were granted no respect in Searchlight, and they were harassed and discriminated against in increasingly offensive ways. It is no wonder that Queho’s fellow Indians helped him. Nor is it surprising that he became known among the few Indians of the area as someone who had stood up to the white man.

From: Senator Harry Reid’s book, “Searchlight, The Camp That Didn’t Fail,”
University of Nevada Press.

Lake Havasu City


Lake Havasu City is a city located in Mohave County, Arizona. It is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Havasu, a large reservoir formed by the Parker Dam on the Colorado River. The city is known for its picturesque landscapes, outdoor recreational activities, and vibrant community.

Lake Havasu City was established in 1964 by real estate developer Robert P. McCulloch as a planned community. The city was designed to be a tourist destination and has since become a popular vacation spot and retirement location. The warm climate, sunny weather, and beautiful natural surroundings make it an ideal place for outdoor enthusiasts.

One of the main attractions in Lake Havasu City is the London Bridge. Yes, that’s right, the London Bridge. In 1968, McCulloch purchased the original 1831 London Bridge from the City of London and shipped it to Lake Havasu City. The bridge was reconstructed brick by brick and now serves as a major tourist attraction and the city’s centerpiece.

Lake Havasu is also a haven for water sports and boating enthusiasts. The lake offers various recreational activities, including fishing, jet skiing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Boaters can cruise along the lake’s 450 miles of shoreline or anchor in one of the many secluded coves for a tranquil experience.

For those who prefer land-based activities, Lake Havasu City has numerous hiking and biking trails that showcase the area’s natural beauty. The surrounding desert landscape provides a unique backdrop for outdoor adventures. Visitors can explore the nearby Cattail Cove State Park, which offers camping facilities, hiking trails, and sandy beaches.

The city is also home to several annual events and festivals that attract visitors from all over. In January, the Lake Havasu Balloon Festival showcases colorful hot air balloons flying over the lake. The Lake Havasu Boat Show, held in April, features various boats and marine products. And during the summer, the city hosts the Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza, one of the largest in Arizona.

In addition to its natural beauty and recreational opportunities, Lake Havasu City has a thriving downtown area with shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. Visitors can stroll along the Bridgewater Channel, a pedestrian-friendly promenade parallel to the London Bridge. The channel has shops, eateries, and outdoor patios, offering a scenic and lively atmosphere.

Lake Havasu City, Arizona, offers natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and small-town charm. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an exciting adventure, this city has something to offer everyone. So, pack your bags and prepare to experience Lake Havasu City.

Essex, California


Essex is a small unincorporated community located in the eastern part of San Bernardino County, California, USA. Its history is closely tied to the development and expansion of the railroad and the mining activities in the region.

Here’s an overview of the history of Essex:

  1. Railroad Development: The town’s history can be traced back to the construction of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in the late 19th century. The railroad played a crucial role in the development of the American West, connecting various communities and facilitating the transportation of goods and people.
  2. Mining Boom: Like many other towns in the region, Essex saw a boom in mining activities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The nearby Providence Mountains were known for their mineral deposits, attracting prospectors and miners seeking fortunes in gold and other minerals.
  3. Railroad Town: Essex became a railroad town, serving as a strategic point for the railroad industry. It had a railroad depot, which was essential for loading and unloading goods transported by the trains. The railroad played a significant role in the economic life of Essex during its early years.
  4. Decline: As the mining industry declined and transportation patterns shifted, the importance of towns like Essex diminished. Many of the mines closed, and the once-thriving communities began to decline. The decline in mining activities and changes in transportation methods, such as the decline of rail travel in favor of automobiles and highways, contributed to the economic challenges faced by Essex.
  5. Route 66 Influence: Essex is also situated along the historic Route 66, a famous highway that connected Chicago to Los Angeles. During the mid-20th century, Route 66 became an iconic route for cross-country travel, and Essex served as a stopping point for travelers along this historic road.
  6. Present Day: Today, Essex is a quiet and sparsely populated community. Many of its historic structures may still stand as reminders of its past, and the area may attract historians, photographers, and those interested in exploring the remnants of the old Route 66.

Essex’s history is intertwined with the broader historical developments of the American West, including the expansion of railroads, mining booms, and the evolution of transportation networks. While the town may no longer be a bustling hub, its history contributes to the rich tapestry of the region’s past.

Panamint Valley


Panamint Valley is a desert valley located in eastern California within the northern Mojave Desert. It is situated between the Inyo Mountains to the west and the Panamint Range to the east. The valley is part of Inyo County and is known for its arid landscape and unique geological features.

Here’s a brief overview of the history of Panamint Valley:

  1. Native American Presence: The area around Panamint Valley has a history of Native American occupation dating back thousands of years. Various Native American groups, including the Timbisha Shoshone, lived in the region, relying on the desert environment for sustenance.
  2. Exploration and Settlement: In the mid-19th century, European-American explorers and settlers began to venture into the area. The valley was part of the route used by pioneers during the California Gold Rush. However, the harsh desert conditions made permanent settlement challenging.
  3. Mining Boom: The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw a mining boom in the surrounding mountains. The Panamint Range, especially, was rich in minerals like silver and lead. Towns such as Ballarat and Panamint City sprang up to support mining activities. Panamint City, in particular, was once a thriving mining town with a peak population of around 2,000 people.
  4. Decline of Mining: As mining operations became less profitable, many of the towns in the region, including those in Panamint Valley, experienced a decline and were eventually abandoned. By the mid-20th century, the mining industry in the area had significantly diminished.
  5. Military Presence: During World War II, the U.S. military established a presence in the Mojave Desert, including around Panamint Valley. The China Lake Naval Weapons Center, now known as the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, was established southeast of the valley. The military presence in the region has continued to the present day.
  6. Recreational Activities: In recent times, Panamint Valley has become a destination for outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, off-road vehicle enthusiasts, and nature lovers. The valley’s unique geological features, such as the Panamint Dunes, attract visitors interested in exploring the desert landscape.

Panamint Valley remains a sparsely populated and remote area known for its historical significance, geological features, and recreational opportunities.

Chloride Murals


Chloride is a historic mining town located in northwest Arizona. It is situated in the Cerbat Mountains, approximately 20 miles north of Kingman. Chloride was founded in the 1860s following the discovery of silver in the area, and at its peak, it had a significant population due to mining activities.

Today, Chloride is a small and charming town with a population that has diminished compared to its mining heyday. It has retained some of its historic buildings and has become a destination for those interested in exploring the remnants of the Old West.

One notable feature of Chloride is the outdoor murals that adorn the town’s buildings. These murals, often created by local artists, depict scenes from the town’s history and contribute to its unique atmosphere. Artists like Roy Purcell have created Chloride murals, capturing the Old West’s spirit and the town’s mining heritage.

Visiting Chloride in person provides a firsthand experience of its historical charm and artistic expression.

Mizpah Hotel


The Mizpah Hotel is a historic hotel located in Tonopah, Nevada. Tonopah is a small town in Nye County, known for its mining history and connection to the silver and gold rushes of the early 20th century.

The Mizpah Hotel was built in 1907 and has a rich history associated with the mining boom in the area. It was a luxurious and modern hotel in its time, catering to the needs of the influx of miners and prospectors drawn to Tonopah’s mining activities.

One of the notable features of the Mizpah Hotel is the “Lady in Red” legend. Legend has it that a woman named Rose, a prostitute who was allegedly murdered in the hotel, haunts Room 502. Some guests have reported paranormal experiences and sightings related to this legend, making the Mizpah Hotel known for its supposed ghostly occurrences.

The hotel underwent restoration efforts and reopened in 2011, retaining its historic charm while offering modern amenities. It has become a popular destination for tourists interested in the history of the area and those intrigued by its reputed haunted reputation.

Tonopah itself is an interesting town to explore, with several historic sites, including the Central Nevada Museum and the Tonopah Historic Mining Park, which provides insights into the region’s mining heritage.

Tulare Lake – Vanished

Many folks interested in Mojave Desert history are aware that in 1776, Francisco Tomás Hermenegildo Garcés was the first non-native American to cross the Mojave from the Mojave Indian villages near Needles at the Colorado River to the Mission San Gabriel near Los Angeles, California.  Trapper and explorer Jedediah Smith also crossed the Mojave in 1826 and in 1827.

Tulare Lake – 1874

Not so well known is that when they left the mission at San Gabriel, both men made their way north to the San Joaquin Valley and the shore of Tulare Lake.   In tracking the paths of both men concerning our modern geography, it is soon discovered that this lake does not seem to exist.

What happened to Tulare Lake?

The answer to this mystery of a disappearing lake is simple yet inelegant and predictable:

At the onset of American settlement in the area in the late 1840s, the lake was the largest body of fresh water west of the Great Lakes. Its destruction by the late 1800s because of diking and water diversion for irrigation was one of the most dramatic signs of a major theme in the state’s history: the rapid transformation of the wild California landscape into one dominated almost completely by human action.

From Report of the Board of Commissioners on the Irrigation of the San Joaquin, Tulare, and Sacramento Valleys of the State of California.

Tulare Lake Satellite Overlay 2018

So, now you know.