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

San Bernardino County


Author's Note: Greatly expanded versions of this chapter can be found by following these links:




The Bullion Mine, on the north end of the Ivanpah Mountains is reported to have been discovered and first worked in the 1860s with the rich silver ore shipped to Swansea, Wales, via the Colorado River. In March, 1880, large quantities of ore were coming in “regularly every other day” from the Bullion Mine to Ivanpah for milling. 150

About 1905 Jim Connolle and a Salt Lake City company mined several carloads of ore. After lying idle for 4 years, in May, 1909, George Bergman, an Eldorado Canyon mine owner, leased the mine and posted a $50,000 bond. At that time the mine was owned by “the Monahan Brothers of Victorville and Heber Robinson.” At the mine were “fair mine buildings and a whim.” It was developed by a half dozen shafts the deepest being 250 feet with levels every 50 feet that were driven 100 feet through the rock. There were about 250 tons of lead-copper-silver ore produced from the mine in 1916-1917 but it apparently has not produced any since. 151

The Standard Mine on the west side of the range was discovered in 1904 and was in continuous operation between 1906 and 1910. With additional production between 1917 and 1919 the mine produced almost 700,000 pounds of copper and 20,000 ounces of silver. In 1908 there was a substantial camp near the mine consisting of a bunkhouse and a boarding house sufficient for 100 men, a small store and an assay office. 152

The Kewanee Mine, discovered about 1901, was most active between 1907 and 1911. In July, 1908, it was reported that “fifty miners have been employed for nearly a year,” and a mill had recently been erected. A small camp was situated near the mine. An unsuccessful attempt was made in 1952 to reopen the mine. 153

The Morning Star Mine, west of the Kewanee was also first active about 1901, but was mainly active between 1927 and 1939. Since 1970 the mine has been intermittently active, developing the 100,000 ounces of gold the property was estimated as containing in 1953. 154

There has been and continues to be activity at the New Trail Copper Mine and the Carbonate Mine in the Ivanpah Mountains. Near the Carbonate Mine in the 1920s a miner named E. P. Dorr discovered the Kokoweef Caves, and claimed that he found a river of gold. However, it seems that much of the legend about these caves is of recent origin. 155

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