Friday, July 1, 2011

Owens Lake Silver Company

Inyo County - July 27, 2009

Lets throw in this Inyo County landmark along with this series from the drive of 1993 since it’s in the neighborhood, even though the actual visit by this contributor wasn’t until 2009. So, from 395 just below Lone Pine we’ll head east on Hwy 136 and where the ‘it’s just a couple of miles’ story was used on a suspicious wife and daughter. That dog didn’t hunt.

From the preceding dispatches we deal again with the familiar characters of Sherman Stevens and James Brady and the operation they ran over on this side of the lake.

The 1872 earthquake moved things so much the pier was useless and a huge thunderstorm in 1874 did in what remained of the town  of Swansea with flood and debris and depleted its population to the present day census of 3. 

Cero Gordo about 1910

The ghost town of Cero Gordo (fat hill) is still around however and thanks to hard work by a lot of dedicated people, and its remote location, many structures still exist and it's possible to visit the amazing site. More details can be found linking through the Explore Historic California website or call 760 876-5030 to check on conditions for a day trip.

Plaque inscription: NO. 752.  FURNACE OF THE OWENS LAKE SILVER-LEAD COMPANY - The Owens Lake Silver-lead furnace and mill were built here by Colonel Sherman Stevens in 1869 and used until March 1874. James Brady assumed their operation in 1870 for the Silver-Lead Company and built the town of Swansea. During the next few years the output of this furnace and one at Cerro Gordo was around 150 bars of silver, each weighing 83 pounds, every 24 hours. 
Location:  300 ft W of State Hwy 136 (P.M. 9.5), 3.1 mi NW of Keeler
Google mapas: 36.53014,-117.913556

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