Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mojave Road

Los Angeles County, September 30, 1994

Before we were singing and getting our ‘kicks on Route 66’ (the world’s safest lounge cover by the way), an ancestral Native America equivalent of Bobby Troop was likely going on about keeping ‘Kee-mo-sabe off Mohave Road.’ Actually, this landmark appears in several places; in San Bernardino County at a rest stop about 40 miles north of Barstow, and as part of Camp Cady and the Mojave Road near there, and in Los Angeles County on Rt. 66 at the county line with San Bernardino County. This one doesn’t get a physical landmark, but has the same text as San Berdo if it did.  

The Mojave Road is a series of pathways that got Native Americans from the Colorado River to the Ocean.The path dictated by locations for water that was needed every 20  to 30 miles, so it was hardly straight. Whites used the Mojave Road as more of supply trail than for migration  You can still travel the desert section, which is a three day, 140 mile, four wheel drive journey.

This song, ‘Mojave Road’ was completed this day of posting. This lyric was kept sparse and then cut in half, the musical riff and chanted chorus carry the load and hopefully when recorded will provide the listener with the curiosity to know more about Chemehuevis people, a people nearly completely assimilated into other tribes and cultures. Even this short lyric melds….the birds bringing fourth the reds and yellows of a new dawn is told in a Cahuilla bird song.

MOJAVE ROAD       © Radio Flier Music

Chorus)  Hey, hey, hey, Mojave Road
               Hey, hey, hey, Mojave Road

Dawn will be warming
Falcon hunts the sky
Colors of the morning
He pulls back first eastern light

From the great Colorado
To the blue Pacific spray
The trail of the Paiute
The land of the Chemehuevis (chem-a-wa'-ve)

Plaque inscription: NO. 963 MOJAVE ROAD
Long ago, Mohave Indians used a network of pathways to cross the Mojave Desert.  In 1826 American trapper Jedediah Smith used their paths and became the first non-Indian to reach the California coast overland from mid America.  The paths were worked into a military wagon road in 1859.  This 'Mojave Road' remaind a major link between Los Angeles and points east until a railway crossed the desert in 1885.
Google 33.783704,-118.257265

La Casa de Carrion

Los Angeles County, October 1, 1994

Zillow estimates the Casa to be worth $535,000…..not bad for a 143 year old, 2380 sq.ft.two bedroom, one bath, fixer. Maybe the 100 acre lot adds a bit to its value.

La Casa de Carrion is one of the group of adobes of Rancho Santa Fe held by Carrion's uncle Ygnacio Palomares and his partner Ricardo Vejar. Adobe bricks formed walls along an "L" configured foundation. The L-shaped dwelling was is believed to have been designed by an Italian architect. Timbers for the building were hauled from Los Angeles. The beams, joints and walls were white washed. The original windows were unglazed and screened with vertical wooden bards and wooden shutters. The front of the one and a half story house faced north, welcoming visitors from the Old Road. La Casa de Carrion was completed in 1868. His wife, Dolores, and their three sons moved into their new home. While living at the house, five daughters were born there.

The word was that Carrion was a bit strange and dimwitted. He often kept to himself and stayed home most of the time. Partial evidence was that he named his black horse, "Horse".

On August 9, 1959, a plaque was placed at the Carrion adobe by the State Park Commission in cooperation with Rancho San Jose Parlor #307, Native Daughters of the Golden West. It is designated as State Historic Landmark #386. However, the state does not provide assistance for the adobe's upkeep.  

Today, La Casa de Carrion is owned and occupied by Robert M. Tatsch Jr. and his wife Dorothy. Although the Carrion Adobe is a private residence, the Tatsch’s open their home to the public a few times a year on selected holidays. Tours may be offered by appointment only to schools, and historical groups.

Plaque inscription: NO. 386 LA CASA DE CARRIÓN - This house, built in 1868 by Saturnino Carrión, was restored in 1951 by Paul E. Traweek.
Location: 919 Puddingstone Dr, La Verne
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: SAN DIMAS
Google 34.096018,-117.789021

Monday, July 25, 2011

First Home of Pomona College

Los Angeles County, October 1, 1994

If nothing else, this somewhat questionable landmark answers the question of why Pomona College isn’t in Pomona, but instead down the road in Claremont. The original college site was a rented house here on the corner of Mission & White, which is now long gone and current longtime home to Angelo’s Burgers. “Awesome food Looks like they are fixing up the place little by little, beats bravos and ox burger even toms” - a review.

A keen eye looking at the two photographs (1994 and 2008) will notice that the marker has moved, and careful study of its two locations beg the question, why? Was it the ghost of Gwendolyn Rose?  

It was Gwendolyn’s suicide in the basement of an unfinished hotel in Claremont that caused deferment of finishing its construction and paved the way to the subsequent sale to Pomona College. After the move, they simply kept their original name. The hotel became Sumner Hall and is the current office of Admissions and Office of Campus Life, complete with embellished tales of the supernatural to properly induct a freshmen.   

Sumner Hall 1907

It seems like strange times we live in when a ghost has a facebook page, here’s Gwendolyn’s ‘personal information’:

Since her tragic suicide there over a century ago, Gwendolyn Rose has continued to grace the corridors and stairwells of Sumner Hall. Although the details of her earthly life are elusive, it is known that she and her husband moved to Claremont from Chicago. While searching for a home, the Roses stayed in a local hotel that— following her suicide there—would be sold to Pomona College and renamed Sumner Hall. Her husband's infidelity and stress from the move likely led to her taking her life, generally thought to be in the women's bathroom in the basement. Housekeepers, students, and deans have said that they have felt the presence of Gwendolyn Rose. Some speak of a crying voice in the basement at strange hours, and others say that they have seen a woman—lit by her own glow—crying on the stairwell during the darkest hours of the night. Still others describe a slender young woman in a white dress and veil, who is variously described as lost or resolute, though invariably tragic.

Plaque inscription: NO. 289 FIRST HOME OF POMONA COLLEGE - Pomona College, incorporated October 14, 1887, held its first class in this small frame cottage on September 12, 1888. Those in attendance consisted of a mere handful of eager students, five faculty members, and the president, Professor Edwin C. Norton. Five months later, in January 1889, the college moved to an unfinished boom hotel on a plot of land in the town of Claremont.
Location: SW corner Mission Blvd and S White St, Pomona
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: ONTARIO
Google 34.054739,-117.758937

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Adobe de Palomares

Los Angeles County, September 30, 1994

Some nimrod stole the plaque in 2008 according to the Pomona Historical Society, but this 1994 photo shows it in happier times. It sort of makes one wonder what a nimrod does with one once they’ve managed to pry it away. Aother question is how? For it takes a lot more than two six packs and a crowbar to extract it from a mounting using incased rebar-like bolts and cement. Thirdly, what do they think they’re getting? Melting one down won’t pay for the cost of melting one down.

The day of this visit found the Adobe closed to the public, a common situation when going to landmark without portfolio. It was thrown in as a stop in daily commute to the LA Fair gig taking Arrow Highway, which was an often used bypass when the interstate got ugly. It turns out Adobe de Palomares is only open on Sundays from 2 till 5pm. 

According to the Pomona Historical Society: “Now authentically restored to its original form and appearance, except for the interior of the north wing which houses a kitchen, dining room and storeroom, Adobe de Palomares stands as one of California's most admired landmarks, throughthe initive of the Historical Society of Pomona Valley in cooperation with the Federal Government, the municipality, and numerous civic-minded groups and individuals. Following its resotration, the Adobe was reopened to the public on April 6, 1940.”

NO. 372 ADOBE DE PALOMARES - Completed about 1854 and restored in 1939, this was the family home of Don Ygnacio Palomares. Governor Juan B. Alvarado granted Rancho San Jose to Don Ygnacio and Don Ricardo Vejar in 1837. Location: 491 E Arrow Hwy, Pomona
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: ONTARIO
Google maps: 34.090181,-117.742356

Friday, July 22, 2011

Temporary Japanese Detention Camp - Pomona

Modern political spin phrase turners would be proud of their crafty ancestors in that they called these concentration camps ‘Assembly Centers.’ Imagine getting such a notice today…..really…just think about getting a notice for people of your race liquidate your belongings and to show up and turn yourself in to the government with nothing more than you could carry. 

Japanese-American and the Japanese aliens on the West Coast were rounded up and moved first to assembly centers like this one at the Pomona Fairgrounds and then to internment camps. Few Japanese living in the East or Midwestern portions of the U.S., though, were treated the same way. What is extremely confounding is that those of Japanese ancestry living in Hawaii were not subject to a mass evacuation even though they formed a third of the population in Hawaii and were a lot closer to Japan than the Japanese-Americans on the West Coast of the U.S.

About 5500 people stayed here on the fairgrounds around the Blue Gate side of things off White Avenue before moving on to more permanent and isolated facilities, a part of the park where this writer played the LA County Fair in the ‘90’s as a grounds act for Dugan’s Barbeque. .

Plaque inscription if there was a plaque: NO. 934 TEMPORARY DETENTION CAMPS FOR JAPANESE AMERICANS-SANTA ANITA ASSEMBLY CENTER AND POMONA ASSEMBLY CENTER - The temporary detention camps (also known as 'assembly centers') represent the first phase of the mass incarceration of 97,785 Californians of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Pursuant to Executive Order 9066 signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, thirteen makeshift detention facilities were constructed at various California racetracks, fairgrounds, and labor camps. These facilities were intended to confine Japanese Americans until more permanent concentration camps, such as those at Manzanar and Tule Lake in California, could be built in isolated areas of the country. Beginning on March 30, 1942, all native-born Americans and long-time legal residents of Japanese ancestry living in California were ordered to surrender themselves for detention.
Location: Arcadia and Pomona
Google maps: 34.085365,-117.766056

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rancho San Francisco

Los Angeles County, August 8, 1994

It was on this 48,600 acre plot of land that Francisco Lopez made the first major gold discovery in 1842. 48,600 acres, that’s nice diggings for a award for military service, and it went to Antonio de Valle back in 1839. Antonio needed help watching over the place and one of the people doing that was Francisco, who was de Valle’s second wife’s uncle.

Del Valle died in 1841, and though he tried, it was without reconciling with his estranged son Ygnacio. None the less, Ygnacio took control over the land. Following the war, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo allowed Mexican landowners to keep their lands, but Ygnacio was whittled down to 13,600 acres by 1857. Floods were followed by drought and by 1862 Ygnacio had sold most of his estate to oil speculators.

Plaque inscription: NO. 556 RANCHO SAN FRANCISCO - Approximately one-half mile south of the point was the adobe headquarters of Rancho San Francisco, originally built about 1804 as a granary of Mission San Fernando. The rancho was granted to Antonio de Valle in 1839. Here, in January 1850, William Lewis Manly and John Rogers obtained supplies and animals to rescue their comrades in a California-bound gold-seeking emigrant party that was stranded and starving in Death Valley, some 250 miles to the northeast.
Location: SW corner of 'The Old Road' and Henry Mayo Drive, 0.2 mi S of I-5 and State Hwy 126 interchange, Valencia
Google maps: 34.440257,-118.605866

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pico Well No. 4

Los Angeles County, August 8, 1994

Following the signs from Pico Canyon Road off I-5 past the little park, there’s a fork, and going left, the service road winds its way to the neglected well site that once was the pride of Pico Canyon. Just capped pipe barely above ground bordered by state and national historic landmarks, that at best would be seen by the occasional hiker.

Still producing in 1961

Late in 1876, Alex Mentry bored down an additional 300 feet and produced a gusher that hit the top of the 65 foot derrick, and it settled into a production of 150 barrels a day from 25, making further drilling and production in Pico Canyon possible. They finally capped No. 4 in 1990 after a 114 year run, making it the longest continually producing well in the world. In the seating arrangement for state and national historic landmarks, Pico Well No. 4 sits in the right field bleachers.

Access closed on day of visit

Plaque inscription: NO. 516 WELL, CSO 4 (PICO 4) - On this site stands CSO-4 (Pico No. 4), California's first commercially productive well. It was spudded in early 1876 under direction of Demetrious G. Scofield who later became the first president of Standard Oil Company of California, and was completed at a depth of 300 feet on September 26, 1876, for an initial flow of 30 barrels of oil a day. Later that year, after the well was deepened to 600 feet with what was perhaps the first steam rig employed in oil well drilling in California, it produced at a rate of 150 barrels a day - it is still producing after 77 years (1953). The success of this well prompted formation of the Pacific Coast Oil Company, a predecessor of Standard Oil Company of California, and led to the construction of the state's first refinery nearby. It was not only the discovery well of the Newhall Field, but was a powerful stimulus to the subsequent development of the California petroleum industry.
Location: On W Pico Canyon Rd, 3.3 mi W of I-5, Newhall
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: SAN FERNANDO
Google maps: 34.373031,-118.626267

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Los Angeles County, August 8, 1994

At the same time of the completion of Charles Crocker’s Southern Pacific Railroad line from Los Angeles toe San Francisco came Charles Alexander Mentry’s discovery of a commercially viable oil reserve in the hills above the Santa Clarita Valley, which meant economical distribution of the refined oil products coming out of the town of Mentryville. Gravity fed the oil by pipeline the six mile distance to Newhall, where it met the railroad.

“Experienced drillers from Pennsylvania came to work the Pico oil field. Bachelors stayed in bunkhouses; family men erected cabins and even a schoolhouse and bakery in the town they called Mentryville.
Theirs was the first village in Southern California to be lighted by natural gas. Alcohol consumption was forbidden; the men spent their earnings in nearby Newhall where saloons outnumbered churches” – Friends of Mentryville

Though Mentry was bought out, he stayed on to run the operation and do so till 1900 when he kept getting bitten by a bug known as ‘the kissing bug’ or ‘assassin bug” while he slept. A bite on the lips did him in on October 4, 1900. The operation was taken over by Walton Young.

The grounds of the remaining restored buildings of Mentryville are open daily from sunrise to sunset for a $5 parking fee.  

This just completed song lyric is adapted to a riffy earlier melodic progression from 1972, and should be a lot of fun to record.  

MENTRYVILLE                   © Radio Flier Music

In the Santa Clarita Valley
Lies a place not known too well
In the hills an oil discovery
The boomtown of Mentryville

Do not apply to Alex Mentry
To cable tool on Pico number four
If you’re a roughneck of low degree
He’s got a school, bakery, and a general store

(Chorus) Where California’s oil was first found
Women are fair and the men all handy
Mentryville is a family town

Young couples get a nice little cottage
Bachelors to the bunkhouse if their manner was clean
Natural gas brought the lamplight wattage
While makin’ the ‘Prime White’ kerosene

A friendly village where anything can be
Take heed of Alexander Mentry’s call
Do your best and bring the family
Don’t bring any cards or alcohol

 Plaque inscription: NO. 516-2 MENTRYVILLE - Named after pioneer oil developer Charles Alexander Mentry, who in 1876 drilled the first successful oil well in California. His restored home and barn and Felton School remain here where the Star Oil Company, one of the predecessors of Standard Oil of California, was born.
Location: 27201 W Pico Canyon Rd, 2.8 mi W of I-5, Newhall
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: NEWHALL
Google maps: 34.379504,-118.610775

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pioneer Oil Refinery

Los Angeles County, August 8, 1994

The Pioneer Oil Refinery is the oldest surviving oil refinery in the world and the first commercially successful refinery in California. Today, you can’t enter the site and only during business hours can you even walk completely around the fence that surrounds it. In 1998, Chevron Oil donated the refinery site and 4.5 acres of land to the City of Santa Clarita. The city is still looking for funds to restore the site.

Star turned out several products including small amounts of benzene, and a safty illuminationg oil for use on ships, railroads, factories and mines. The company continued to produce a light lubrication oil for machinery, and a heavy lubricant for saw mills, quartz mills, and railroads. The distillation process was fired by the bottom cut in the separation process, which was something like the bulk fuel oil they used on ships. The main product however was kerosene in tow grades, "Lustre" and "Prime White" Kerosene refining was still a difficult task in those days and they needed somebody good at the process, and they found their man. John A. Scott was a Pennsylvania refiner brought out to put a refinery together in the canyon for Star Oil Works. Till refineries like this started churning out cheap and useable fuels and lubricants, the industrial revolution was greased quite literally by whales. J.A. Scott's Lustre Kerosene did its part to diminish demand for whale oil but whales provided a lot of other marketable products and the whaling stations in California were busy for some time to come.

Plaque inscription: NO. 172 PIONEER OIL REFINERY - In 1875 the Star Oil Company, one of the predecessors of the Standard Oil Company of California, drilled its first Pico Canyon well, which yielded about one hundred barrels per day. The discovery resulted in the erection of the first commercial oil refinery in California the following year.

Location: Site and private plaque at 238 Pine St, Newhall - state plaque at Lang Blvd exit of I-5 next to plaque for the Oak of the Golden Dream
USGS Quadrangle Sheet Name: NEWHALL
Google maps: 34.370556,-118.522525  (for site)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Oak of the Golden Dream

Moving on to a somewhat different format for awhile with these dispatches on California State Landmarks, and that is to concentrate on a single county till all of those visited and/or written up in song are covered, the reason being that song material in album form has been sitting around uncompleted for some time now and for several counties at least, we’ll be staying in those confines in order to hopefully rustle up a few more songs. Where to?  Los Angeles County.

It was an early morning winter dawn when we, and the year of 1966 were young. Our AA/Fuel dragster was in tow from the old Plymouth station wagon and headed towards Fontana when the comment was made that seems to have proved to be the most prolific of a lifetime: “You know, this is as good as it gets, and it can’t last.” Back then we were pretty sure that Southern California was the known center of the world….and it may well have been. Styles, trends, music, movies, all touted a lifestyle unencumbered by overpopulation and congested highways. The interstates were new and could deliver you across the county in a Thunderbird flash. In fact, as an experiment, we went for the beach party movie trifecta of surfing, skiing, and racing the car, all in a single day (actually 24 hours), playing a little back seat banjo and guitar along the way. Though a little harder than we thought, we pulled off what now could only be accomplish with helicopters and a reality show crew. Granted, the Watts riots of 1965 were a grim reminder that all was not well in paradise, and Vietnam was soon to call and put the lights out on the party that held the promise that there was absolutely nothing you couldn’t do.

Los Angeles County, August 8, 1994

Oak of the Golden Dream

We head to Newhall for a two’fer, two plaques one monument at the corner of Lyons and I-5. If you have a little extra time and want to actually see the tree, it’s up Placentia Canyon Road off Hwy 14.

Everybody knows California gold was first discovered on January 24th, 1848, when James Marshall pulled a nugget from the American River while helping John Sutter build his sawmill, right? Wrong. The discovery by Jose Francisco de Garcia Lopez of gold clinging to the roots of wild onions in what is now called Placerita Canyon in Los Angeles County on March 9th, 1842 (his 40th birthday) predate that event by six years. 

Sometimes this find is attributed to simple dumb luck but that is not the case. Francisco Lopez studied mineralogy at a university in Mexico and systematically searched for gold while at the rancho. To graze his cattle, Lopez had leased the land from Don Antonio del Valle, a relative through marriage. 
This was indeed the first authenticated find, leading to the first gold rush. Also, it was the first attempt at a mining claim in California, leading to the first mining laws in the state

Since writing this song in 2003, it has turned out to be a great educational tool for 4th grade history-social science, as this important story gets little mention in text in relation to the 1849 gold rush. The chorus makes for great call and response.  

OAK OF THE GOLDEN DREAM  © Radio Flier Music  

In California history, this date remains a mystery
March the ninth of 1842
Out in Live Oak canyon, a man without companions
Came to where a giant oak tree grew

Tired and unrested, underneath it he’d siesta
A peaceful early California scene
In the shade and cool air, Francisco Lopez slept there
And had himself a most peculiar dream

(Chorus) Golden dream, golden dream
A pot of gold at the oak of the golden dream

The dream gave him a vision, to make the decision
To dig up wild onions nearby
And underneath the shoots, gold was clinging to the roots
To town with his discovery he did ride

News of the gold did grow, from LA to Mexico
To the oak of the golden dream prospectors came
At Francisco’s siesta, they named it Placerita
1300 pounds of gold they took away

So go and tell your mother, six years before John Sutter
This was California’s first authentic find
Francisco the rancher, dreaming underneath the branches
Six years before the days of forty nine

Plaque inscription: NO. 168 OAK OF THE GOLDEN DREAM - Francisco López made California's first authenticated gold discovery on March 9, 1842. While gathering wild onions near an oak tree in Placerita Canyon he found gold particles clinging to the roots of the bulbs. The San Fernando placers and nearby San Feliciano Canyon were worked by Sonoran miners using panning, sluicing and dry washing methods. Lopez's find predated James Marshall strike at Sutter's Mill by six years.
Location: Site: Placerita Canyon State and County Park, Placerita Canyon Rd, 4.6 mi NE of Newhall (Los Angeles)
Plaque: SE corner I-5 and Lyons Ave, Newhall     
Google maps for site: 34.378030,-118.467765
Google maps for approach marker : 34.370556,-118.522525

Friday, July 15, 2011

Randsburg - Rand Mining District

Kern County, August 30, 1993

It’s worth the extra mile. Just a mile west off 395 on the road that eventually winds up going to  Garlock, the Burro Shmidt tunnel and all points leading to Bakersfield, the still functioning mining town of Randsburg has architecturally stood still for over a hundred years as it awaits an ever-growing onslaught of photographers, car and motorcycle clubs, and those who seek unique bed & breakfasts. Johannesburg is a mile away via back roads with Red Mountain a little farther south on 395, but in this trio of isolated mining villages, it’s Randsburg that one really must see.


In the late 1970’s, we’d pop over from Ridgecrest when playing music there in the off season from Mammoth to the general store’s soda fountain for what was arguably the best chocolate malt in the world. Cokes were made the soda fountain way as well. Back then the town wasn’t quite as quaint and tidy (relatively speaking) and there pesky eighty year old issues with 1872 mining claim laws and land ownership that kept the town in limbo for just about all of the 20th century.

Linn Gum’s son called the other day with the news his father had passed in April and that they were to use my song. ‘Randsburg Solution’ in his memorial in Ridgecrest. Wow, what an honor! Luckily the story line and lyric was pretty accurate as it told of the old west reenactment of issue of land patents at the Randsburg General Store…"There's never been a patent issued anywhere but a state capital or Washington, so it's pretty significant, historically," – Linn Gum.

After he joined the Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey as an Environment Scientist in 1983, he transferred to the Bureau of Land Management and served 33 years as a gold mine patent examiner, renewable energy specialist, where his crowning achievement was the “Randsburg Solution.” In 1997, after several years of long weekends and hard work, he brought the entire mining town of Randsburg out of unlawful trespass and into legal ownership of their homes. This process has been duplicated in Alaska, Nevada and Texas. – Ridgecrest obit.

YouTube video:


Now the Fourth of July was underway, festivities were thorough
Spit watermelon seeds or the old dunk tank, or pet Cupcake the Burro

Old Hord Tipton from the BLM, ran up and said ‘Have you heard?”
A lone horseman rode into town, this mining town of Randsburg

Chorus) In his duster coat and Stetson hat, down Butte Road he went slowly
Dismounted at the general store, hitched his horse, then said lowly

“I’ve come here to settle up things, I’m a settling institution
Got a deal to offer to you, ‘The Randsburg Solution’

I’m a hired gun folks that’s for sure, but my guns are made of paper
Gonna end up all these trespass claims, five hundred bucks an acre

Mining law is fickle thing, law of 1872
Stop mining and ya’ lose your home, and be a trespassing fool

Land patents from the BLM, we’re doing for the very first time
Just give your money to Nancy Alex, and sign on the bottom line

 This compromise was well received, townfolk could start anew
Not the Old West we’re talkin’ about, it was 2002

Side notes to those days in the late ‘70’s of traipsing about the hills in and around Randsburg in ‘the Moose’ (’63 Willys 4WD station wagon) while playing Clancy’s Claim Company in Ridgecrest were that firstly, there were still a lot of miners working claims in what looked like the middle of nowhere, and didn’t think much of the Willys’ formidable off road capabilities. And secondly, Clancy’s Claim Company co-owner Frank’s old west reenactment of his own when he bought the Cocky Bull down in Adelanto. It was a ‘two rock escrow’. We stood in the dirt gravel parking in full western garb for the brief ceremony which consisted of the notarized documents were placed under one rock and the cash money 40 paces away placed under the second rock. Buyer and seller slowed walked to the middle and shook hands, completing the deal and picked up the goods at the opposite rock. Hmmm, if this transaction were to be used more often, this country might find itself in much better financial shape.

This is the last dispatch for the 1993 southbound trip from Siskiyou County down to Kern County via a meandering gold country and eastern California route.

Plaque inscription: #938 Rand Mining District
The Yellow Aster, or Rand, mine was discovered in April, 1895 by Singleton, Burcham and Mooers.The town of Randsburg quickly developed, followed by the supply town of Johannesburg in 1896. Both names were adopted from the profusion of minerals resembling those of the Rand MiningDistrict in South Africa. In 1907, Churchill discovered tungsten at Atolia, used in steel alloy during World War I. In June, 1919 Williams and Nosser discovered the famous California Rand Silver Mine at Red Mountain. Kern County Desert Museum, Butte Ave, Randsburg.
Google: 35.36809,-117.65356

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