Desert Fever
An Overview of Mining History of the California Desert Conservation Area

Riverside County



Riverside, the fourth largest county in California, has been known for sporadic, small-scale mining of gold, silver, lead, copper, uranium, fluorite and manganese. However, there have been sizeable, sustained mining operations at Midland for gypsum and in the Eagle Mountains for iron. The Mule Mountains became the site of the first gold discovery in the desert portion of Riverside County in 1865. It also appears that the iron ore in the Eagle Mountains was discovered in 1865. Man Palen's 1880 discovery of copper in the Palen Mountains was followed by a modest amount of mining activity, but the gold-silver discoveries in the Chuckwalla Mountains in the late l880s caused the most substantial gold rush to Riverside County in its history. Dry placer gold mining in the Eagle Mountains and at Chuckwalla Spring seems to have begun in the 1890s with some interest continuing until today. During this century there have been new discoveries, the reworking of old mines, the mining of iron at Eagle Mountain since 1948, and of gypsum at Midland between 1925 and 1968.



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© Larry M. Vredenburgh, Gary L. Shumway, Russell D. Hartill