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Panamint City



Founded in 1873,74, Panamint City had many mills, saloons, stores, a red light district, a cemetery - all built along the uppermost end of the Surprise Canyon. Panamint City was regarded as a "bad and wicked" town, with Death Valley on one end of town and the Panamint Mountains on the other end. Due to the constant hijacking of the ore wagon, the miners soon cast the silver into one large ingot that was too big and heavy to be stolen. Then it hit. On July 24, 1876, a flash flood roared down the canyon and washed nearly the entire town away leaving nothing worth saving. This spelled the end of the town. Some people say they got what they deserved for their wickedness. The County of Inyo used to maintain the road to Panamint City until about 1983, when a terriffic series of cloudbursts completely washed the canyon out to bedrock. Today, only the most dedicated 4x4 enthusiasts using highly modified vehicles with winches can make a motorized trip up -- and then it often takes more time than it does to walk up. There is always water running down this section of the canyon, the source is Limekiln Springs, and the water runs above ground for about a mile and a half. April 1997. - Ghosttowns.com

This from the Saturday, January 9, 1875 Napa REGISTER [Napa, California] regarding Panamint City, California: THE NEW EL DORADO -- THE PANAMINT MINES PANAMINT, or Jonesville, as it is called by some, is situated in the Telescope mountains, Inyo county, California, about 180 miles eastwardly from Bakersfield, in Kern county, and 110 miles from Independence, county seat of Inyo county. Good roads leading to the mines from both places. Its elevation is about 4,800 feet above the level of the sea, at the head of Surprise canon. The road up the canon is a good natural grade, with an average rise of about 500 feet to the mile, and is being improved as fast as possible.

HOW TO REACH THE CAMP The camps can be reached by three different routes: by rail to Bakersfield, and stage from there to Kernville and Indian Wells, where the road branches off from the Cerro Gordo route. The second route is by steamer and rail to Los Angeles, and by stage to Indian Wells, the rest same as by Bakersfield route. Third - by rail to Reno, Nevada, and Carson, and stage via Aurora to Independence. For the first named, see advertisement of the Bakersfield, Cerro Gordo, and Panamint Stage Line; and the last, Carson, Aurora, Independence, and Cerro Gordo, connecting at Lone Pine for Panamint.

LIVING AND WAGES Living is reasonable, considering the distance to be freighted and the high price charged from Bakersville [sic], Los Angeles, and San Barnardino [sic] - 4 to 6 cents per pound. Flour is $9 per hundred; bacon, 25 cents, coffee, 50 cents, sugar, 25 cents, potatoes, 10 cents, onions, 10 cents per pound; wood, $5.50 per cord. Feed for horses is quite scarce, and consequently high: Barley, 8 cents per pound by the sack, 10 cents per pound by the feed; hay 7 cents per pound by the bale, 8 cents by the feed. Lumber, none in camp. The last sold at $130 per thousand feet. Miners receive $3 per day and board, or $4 and board themselves; laborers, from $2.60 upwards, according to demand.

THE MINES In this district are noted for the immense richness and width of the ledges on the surface. How they will hold out at a considerable depth is problematic, none of the mines being developed to a depth of more than fifty or sixty feet, at which depth they hold good. It is the opinion, however, of many mining experts that they will be permanent to a great depth. Among the principal mines are Jacob's Wonder, now being worked, the company employing some twenty-five or thirty men in the mine and around their mill. They have a small five-stamp mill for concentrating the metals, which they will be sent to San Francisco or some other point to be reduced. The mill is expected to commence running in a short time. Stewart's Wonder is another promising mine, but not worked at present. The Wyoming, Venus and Great Sunrise are being worked. The Mountain View, Esperanza, Hemlock, Panamint and Hudson River are among the prominent claims which are lying idle at present. There are numerous other mines in this district of great promise, but being held by men of small means are not developed sufficiently to attract much attention.

~ David A. Wright Great Basin Research


The word Panamint reportedly refers to a division of the Shoshonean Indians, also called Koso, who once occupied the Panamint area. It is apparently derived from Southern Paiute "pa" (water) plus "niwintsi" (person). The term appears as Panamint in the report of the Nevada Boundary Commission in 1861 and was probably applied by the Darwin French party in the preceding year. (from Erwin G. Gudde. California Place Names: The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names.)

~ USGS Place Names



https://web.archive.org/web/20060215113045/http://www.maturango.org/June05.html
HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF THE UPPER MOJAVE DESERT

Vol. 20 No. 6 June 2005

HISTORICAL ARTICLE


(Following is an article prepared by our great local historian member, John Di Pol, drawn from his own library of history books. Ed).

NEWS FROM PANAMINT

This month's article offers a selection of extracts from a facsimile copy of the PANAMINT NEWS, edition of Nov. 28, 1874:

PANAMINT NEWS - PUBLISHED TRI-WEEKLY BY THE Panamint Publishing Company at Panamint, Inyo County, Cal.
Subscription Rates:
One Copy one month, by carrier - - $2.00

THE COSO MINES

We have spoken of the future of Inyo County, and some may think there is enough in the mines at Panamint, but, although we think there is enough in the mines right here to bring about such a result , still---not at all disparaging to Panamint, however---there are numerous other mines in the County which will do their share in the work, besides, as we firmly believe, others will be "brought to light." Among the latest discoveries, those lately made near Coso (Ed. The Darwin deposits), give every promise of creating a good deal of excitement. Mining for a number of years has been carried on at Coso, ten miles from the new discoveries, but only to a limited extent, and that by a few Mexicans working rock for gold in arrastras. The new mines are the discoveries of William and Robert Brown and consist of ore which assays made at Cerro Gordo show it to contain over seventy ounces in silver and fifty per cent lead.

ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES Via Bakersfield Line: (Passengers listed.)

By Dodge's Line, from Lone Pine via Coso: (Passengers listed)

Local Intelligence

CABINET OF ORES.-----Judge Murphy, at the recorder's office, has collected a number of samples of ores from the various mines, and will ere long have quite a cabinet. We would be pleased to be remembered by our friends who have specimens to spare.

LODGING HOUSES ----- The one great want of our town has been lodging accommodations for transient visitors but this inconvenience is to be remedied soon. Mr. Jo Harris is soon to open a lodging house, and a team loaded with bedding for another arrived in town today.

OUR MAILS-----We have received one or two letters from parties "outside" to know if we have a Postmaster here, and whether, if so, he is receiving mails. We have a very gentlemanly Postmaster in the person of G. A. Swasey--we call him "Judge" for short - and he receives mail three times a week by the Bakersfield and twice a week by the Lone Pine stages.

A PALACE SALOON IN PANAMINT.-----The Oriental Saloon, soon to be opened in this place by D. Neagle, will be the finest on the coast outside of San Francisco. (Ed. The article continues ad nauseum to extoll the elegance of the Palace. At its apex, Panamint City had a total of 50 saloons).

TO BE HANGED-----From Mr. E. Mallory, who arrived here yesterday from Bishop Creek, we learn that the Supreme Court has refused to grant a new trial to the murderer Welch, who had applied thereto on a stay of proceedings. Welch is the murderer of Frank Moore at Bishop Creek, about a year ago, was tried for murder, found guilty thereof and was sentenced to be hanged on the 6th day of last July. The Supreme Court granted a stay, but on review of the case, refuses to grant him a new trial, and the lower Court is ordered to set a new date for his execution. As this Court will not meet until next May, Welch will have quite a long incarceration as preliminary to hanging, though it is doubtful if he lives to be hanged, as we understand his health is very much impaired.

PERSONALS-----Among the arrivals in Panamint since our last issue we note: John J. Spencer, from Bishop Creek, on a "buck-board" loaded with chickens, which he succeeded in selling, with very little trouble, at prices ranging from $1.25 to $2 apiece.

FREIGHT------The Cerro Gordo Freighting Company has daily lines of teams between San Fernando and Panamint. All goods marked C.G.F.Co. will be forwarded with dispatch. Freight from San Fernando to Panamint: five cents per pound.

---

Personal Recollections

Road to the Panamint Mines


Senator William Morris Stewart

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