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Colorado River - Lake Mohave

History of Cottonwood Island

map of Cottonwood Island

map of Lake Mohave

Cottonwood Island , quite lush with grasses and cottonwood trees, was a perfect place for the miners to raise their stock.

In 1867, the Army made the island an outpost. They pastured their cattle and assigned a small detachment to tend them, but a flood the same year drowned or scattered most of the herd. None of the cattle was found.

Gold was discovered around Searchlight in 1897. The first claim became known as the Duplex Mine. The Quartette Mining Company built a 20-stamp mill on the Colorado River, and in 1901 and 1902, constructed a 16-mile narrow gauge railroad from the Quartette Mine to the mill. Railroad equipment was brought in by barge from Needles. The locomotive carried ore to the mill and, occasionally, passengers rode down to the steamboat port. The locomotive could run on oil from Searchlight or driftwood from the Colorado River. For safety, it was never turned, but always headed toward Searchlight. Operations of the mill and railroad stopped when a new mill was built in Searchlight. In 1906, the river mill was relocated at Searchlight, beside the new building. The rails were sold to J. F. Kent, removed, and used on the Yellow Pine line from Jean to Goodsprings in 1910. The foundations of the river mill are about 30 feet below the surface of Lake Mohave in Cottonwood harbor.

In the 1930's, the Homestake Mine in the Newberry Mountains operated an amalgamation and cyaniding plant on Cottonwood Island for processing gold and silver ore. Mining operations ceased in 1953 as Davis Dam was completed. The Island is also under Lake Mohave waters.

The "Arivada" was a river boat which provided ferry service across the river from 1916 to 1920. It was located 2 1/2 miles south of Cottonwood. There was also an aerial cableway built one mile north of the present Cottonwood Cove. It transported automobiles across the river on a rickety framework. It was said once you crossed the river to the other side, you would never come back. It was in operation until the 1930's. The "Searchlight" was a river steamer that plied the Colorado from its mouth as far upstream as the former town of Callville near present day Callville Bay.

Chemehuevi Indians

... Koso and Serrano and were intimate with the Mohave, who after chasing the Halchidhoma and Kohuana eastward brought them to Cottonwood Island to live.


Under a green arrow weed ramada. with freshly cut cottonwood logs as seats, .... their way down the river to attack the Mohave stronghold on Cottonwood Island.

Beale Expedition - Mojave Desert

Captain Johnson took his big steamboat all the way up the river to Cottonwood Island, thus proving that the Colorado River was navigable this far, and then ...

Chapter V - Mojave Valley to mouth of Black Canon

Camp 50, foot of Cottonwood valley, February 24. ... The river was divided by an island into two channels, and in neither was there more than two feet of water.
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These items are historical in scope and are intended for educational purposes only; they are not meant as an aid for travel planning.
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