Later Mining History
of the Mescal Range, Ivanpah Mountains and south Clark Mountain.

Larry M. Vredenburgh


Except for the Mescal and Bullion mines, discussed in a separate paper in this volume, there is no other recorded mining in the Mescal Range and Ivanpah Mountain until the mid-1890s. A new era of opportunity was ushered in with the January, 1905 completion of the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, (now the Union Pacific). The completion of the railroad, which runs just south of the Ivanpah Mountains, and establishment of Cima as a station, provided cheaper supplies and transportation of ores. Completion of the railroad coincided with a surge of mining interest throughout the desert. In addition, the copper mines of the district probably benefitted from a spill-over effect from the 1906 Greenwater frenzy. The numerous base metal deposits were mined during the World Wars. The Morning Star mine, active between 1927 and 1942, was a significant gold producer between 1988 and 1993.


Paul Patchick in 1961 summed up the history of the Kokoweef Caves. His description is reproduced here in full:

In the 1920s a miner named E. P. Dorr explored a cave high-up the side of Kokoweef Peak. Later, in a sworn affidavit, Dorr reported an amazing discovery - and a lost mine legend was born. Deep under Kokoweef Peak, he said he found a swiftly flowing subterranean river; lining its banks were sands rich in gold.

The legend grew. "Facts" became scarce. The cave entrance was dynamited shut...there were stories of Dorr going insane, of murdered men, of men buried alive, of rich assay sheets.

Some sources say the main cave chamber has several entrances on the flanks of the peak. In his book, Adventure is Underground William R. Halliday reports that the Crystal Cave Mining Corporation now owns the property. Would-be lost mine hunters are not welcome. Besides, the danger to all but the best trained and equipped cave-explorer is extreme. Two persons lost their lives here in 1959.

In 1988 Bob Ausmus wrote a less cynical, updated history which appeared in The Friends of the Mojave Road, Guide to the East Mojave Heritage Trail, Ivanpah to Rocky Ridge. Although the Kokoweef Caves have not yielded the much advertized river of gold, a paleontological treasure has been uncovered. Bob Reynolds of the San Bernardino County Museum during the 1970s excavated remains of Pleistocene age animals including brush ox, dire wolf, large and small camels, horses, marmots, bats, shrews and birds.


In 1896 the California Mining Bureau reported that the Ivanpah Mountains were the scene of active prospecting for gold-copper ore. During this revival, the Excelsior Mine was located by Joseph Nelson and Gus Moore of Manvel, and eventually a 124-foot deep incline shaft was sunk. A mine camp known as Copper Camp was established here.

Nine years later in the summer of 1905 the mine was leased from Nelson for a 10-year period by the Standard Mines Company of Los Angeles. The mine from then on was known as the Standard Number 1 or the Standard and work soon began here and on the nearby Standard Number 2.

The company spent $25,000 sinking a two-compartment shaft and constructing a camp consisting of a bunk house and boarding house sufficient to house 100. The camp had a store and even telephone service. Wagons pulled by 16-horse teams hauled ore ten miles to the railroad at Cima, then the Salt Lake Railroad shipped it to smelters at Salt Lake City. The mine was productive 18 months, yielding 60 railroad car loads of ore, worth a total of $68,000, that averaged 9.2 percent copper and about $4 in gold and silver. By December 1906, the mine was tied up in litigation. The August 1907 American Mining Review reported, "The mine has been stripped of practically all ore that was developed, and is now closed down owing to exceptionally bad management."

Despite this bleak assessment, in September 1907 two shifts were again working the mine which continued to produce sporadically until 1919 when it was abandoned.


The Evening Star Mine, located 1 1/2 miles south of the Standard No. 1 began life in 1935 as a copper prospect by J. Riley Bembry. Within a year he sold the property to Trigg L. Button and Clarence Hammett of Santa Ana who began sinking the No. 1 shaft. In 1940 Vaughn Maynard of Santa Ana purchased the claims, and in 1941 the Tin Corporation of America leased the property. This company continued sinking the shaft, and shipped 25 tons in June 1942 to the Tin Processing Corporation in Texas City, Texas. In 1943 the mine was leased by Carl F. Wendrick, Jr., owner of the Steel Sales and Service Company of Chicago, Illinois. Wendrick secured a government loan, employed eight men, built a larger headframe, and constructed a mill at Valley wells. Over 400 tons of ore were processed. Several tons of tin concentrates were sold to the government stockpile in Jean, Nevada which contained 35.96 percent tin.

The claims just west of the Evening Star Mine were leased from 1939 to 1940 to W. W. Hartman of Los Angeles. Hartman shipped about 1,000 tons of tungsten ore to the mill at Valley View gold mine at Hart.


The Sextette mine, also known as the Standard Number 2, consisted of eight claims. The mine, situated north of the Copper King, shares similar geology and was developed for copper. The claims were located by Richard Bayley Gill and W. M. Fee. They bonded the mine to the Johnnie Consolidated Gold Mining Company of Nevada. By January 1906 the Johnnie Company had sunk a 256 food deep shaft, as well as other shafts and tunnels, and installed a new hoist. They shipped a total of four rail car loads of high-grade (22%) copper ore in 1906, each 40-ton car load returned $1,105. But apparently the mine did not pay, for in August 1907 Gill and Fee bonded the mine to a new concern.


Like the nearby Standard Mine, the Teutonia Mine situated on Teutonia Peak two miles northwest of Kessler Springs was first worked in 1896. One 50 foot deep shaft was sunk but was shortly abandoned due to lack of transportation. On May 14, 1906, Charles Toegel discovered the old mine, interested some investors and formed the King Thebaw Mining and Development Company. The company set to work building roads and erecting a small camp known as Toegel City. The camp consisted of residences, a general store and blacksmith shop. From the fall of 1907 until at least 1909, about 100 tons of ore running up to 150 ounces per ton silver was shipped from the mine. By the 1920s the shaft had caved in and filled with water.


During the summer of 1907, the east side of the Ivanpah Mountains were alive with mining activity. Perhaps a dozen mines were being worked, and two small camps sprang up. At the Casa Grande Mine, a place called Meadsville was established after the discoverers Dr. J.S. Mead and his son. Then, Robert Williams discovered gold-silver-lead ore north and slightly west of the Casa Grande mine, and about one-half mile west of the Morning Star (at that time known as the Clansman). William's named his discovery the Sunnyside mine, and Sunnyside Camp was soon established. A correspondent for the newly established Barstow Printer reported the comings and goings of the families.

By summer 1908, the Meads' discovery had been renamed the Kewanee Mine, and the camp, Kewanee Camp. Between 1907 and 1911, Dr. Mead and the Kewanee Gold Mining Company ambitiously developed the property, hiring 50 miners, and installing a mill. The small quartz veins were richly mineralized with gold. An unsuccessful attempt was made in 1952 to reopen the mine.

The Sunnyside Mine was intermittently active until 1912 when the Los Angeles based Palm Hill Mining Company sank a shaft, installed a hoist, and constructed new buildings. In 1913 a mill was planned. But apparently never constructed.


The Morning Star mine situated on the east slope of the Ivanpah Mountains, north of Kewanee camp was first active in 1907, at which time it appears to have been known as the Clansman mine. Between 1927 and 1933 the deposit was extensively explored. In 1931 two men were employed at the mine. Between 1937 and 1938 Richard W. Malik of Los Angeles optioned the property from the claim owners, J. B. Mighton and H. T. Brown. During Malik's operations 17,000 feet of crosscut drifts were driven and winzes were sunk on the tunnel level. In April, 1939, E. P. Halliburton, owner of the Halliburton oil service company, began operations. Halliburton employed ten men until the property was shut down in 1942 by War Production Board's Order L-208, closing gold mines.

The Vanderbilt Gold Corporation acquired the property in 1964, the company drilled and sampled the property. In late 1979 they had raised sufficient capital to begin development. In the early 1980s the Morning Star was reactivated as an underground mine using trackless mining equipment. Ore was processed at Vanderbilt's mill at the site of the 1890s townsite of Vanderbilt, seventeen miles away. The ore was processed by flotation with concentrates shipped for smelting. With the drop in the price of gold, mining ceased in 1982, but exploration by underground long-hole drilling continued. In 1983 the mill circuit was converted to cyanide carbon-in-leach. This allowed doré bullion to be produced at the mill, eliminating the expense of having concentrates smelted. Drilling during this period established an 8 million ton ore reserve averaging .062 ounces of gold. In the fall of 1984 one million tons of overburden were moved and a $500,000 heap leach facility was constructed. Full-scale leaching began October 1987, and by year end 10,000 ounces of gold and 15,000 ounces of silver had been recovered. Production of ore was 75,000 tons per month. The operation was initially plagued by inadequate water supply, and lower than expected recoveries. This dilemma was solved by abandoning the spray leaching to drip - this doubled the amount of solution leaching through the heap, by using less water. Two heaps were ultimately constructed. The operation suffered from environmental violations including bird and animal deaths in the cyanide ponds, and cyanide solution leaking from the heaps into the adjacent drainage. Mining had ceased by 1993, however the company has submitted a new Plan of Operation to the U. S. Park Service which is under review.


The Mohawk Mine, owned by the Ivanpah Smelting Company, was probably first worked in conjunction with the Copper World Mine. In 1900 the mine was surveyed for patent, at which time there were several hundred feet of underground workings. L. D. Godshall and the Cocopah Mining Company owned the mine by 1908. The company operated it during World War I, until at least 1921. In 1918 the claims were resurveyed and patented as was the Rosalie millsite. During this period 2,893 tons of lead-copper-silver-zinc ore was produced which had a value of $70,000. The ore was hauled to the railroad at Cima. Only ore which ran over 16 percent lead was shipped. The mine remained idle until 1942 when the property was leased from Godshall by Emerson Ray and S.D. Greenwood. The mine produced continuously between 1944 and 1952.


Aubury, L.E., 1908, The Copper Resources of California: California Mining Bureau Bulletin 50.

Casebier, D.G., 1988, Guide to the East Mojave Heritage Trail, Ivanpah to Rocky Ridge (Tales of the Mojave Road Publishing Co.: Norco, CA.) 304 pp.

Cloudman, H.E., Huguenin, E., Merrill, F.J.H, 1919, San Bernardino County: California Mining Bureau Report 15.

Hewett, D. F., 1956, Geology of the Ivanpah Quadrangle, California and Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey, Professional Paper 275.

Mendenhall, W. C., 1909, Some Desert Watering Places in Southeastern California and southwestern Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 224. p. 56;

Patchick, P. F., 1959, Economic geology of the Bullion Mining District, San Bernardino County, California: University of Southern California, unpublished M.S. thesis, p. 172;

Patchick, P., 1961, "A geologist's notes on the Ivanpah Mountains," Desert Vol. 24, No. 5, p. 8-11.

Tucker, W. B., 1921, Los Angeles Field Division, San Bernardino County: California Division of Mines Report 17.

Tucker, W. B., 1931, Los Angeles Field Division, San Bernardino County: California Division of Mines Vol. 27, No. 3.

Tucker, W. B., 1943, Los Angeles Field Division, Mineral Resources of San Bernardino County: California Division of Mines Vol. 39, No. 4.

Wright, L. A., Stewart, R. M., Gay, T. E. Jr., Hazenbush, G. C., 1953, Mines and mineral deposits of San Bernardino County, California: California Division of Mines Vol. 49, Nos. 1 & 2.

Vredenburgh, L.M., Shumway, G.L., Hartill, R.D., 1981, Desert Fever, an overview of mining in the California Desert (living West Press: Canoga Park, CA).


Casebier, 1988, p. 239 - 244.

Hillinger, Charles, Legendary River of Gold Not Forgotten Section II, Los Angeles Times Dec. 5, 1976;

Halliday, William R., 1959, The Cave of Gold in Adventure is Underground (New York: Harper and Row) p 27-35.

Patchick, 1961, p. 8;


Engineering and Mining Journal: Jul. 16, 1898, Jun. 2, 1900;

Los Angeles Mining Review: Nov. 18, 1899; Oct. 10, 1904; Jan. 20, Feb. 24, Dec. 1, 1906; Jul. 27, Aug 3, Aug. 17, Sept. 21, 1907;

Mining and Scientific Press
: Apr. 9, 1904, Aug. 5, 1905;

Pacific Miner
: Apr. 1908;

Redlands Citrograph: Jun. 9, 1906, Oct. 5, 1907;

The Mining World
: Dec. 2, 1905; Jul. 28, Nov. 3, 1906; Jun. 1, 1907


Thompson, D. F., 1978, The geology of the evening star tin mine and surrounding region, San Bernardino County, California, unpublished MS thesis University of Missouri, Rolla. p.59. Tucker, 1943, p. 498


Barstow Printer: Aug. 5, Aug. 12, 1910; Aug. 26, Nov. 11, Nov. 18, Nov. 25, 1910; Jan. 27, Jun. 16, Aug. 11, Dec. 8, 1911; Jan 26, Apr. 12, May 3, 1912; Sep. 19, Nov. 28, 1913


American Mining Review: Sep. 21, Oct. 26, 1907; Mar. 28, May 30, Sep. 4, 1908.

Barstow Printer
: Jul. 15, Aug. 5, Nov. 25, 1910; Jan 16, Jan. 27, Apr. 21, Dec. 15, 1911; Mar. 1, 1912;

Mining and Scientific Press: Apr. 3, 1908;

Salt Lake Mining Review
: Jul. 15, 1908;

Yale, C., 1908, California in Mineral Resources of the U.S., Calendar Year 1907: U.S. Geological Survey p. 221.


Barstow Printer: Aug. 5, Aug. 12, Aug. 26, Nov. 11, Nov. 18, Nov. 25, 1910; Jan. 27, Jun. 16, Aug. 11, Dec. 8, 1911; Jan 26, Apr. 12, May 3, 1912; Sep. 19, Nov. 28, 1913.


Britton, Vickie, "Bright Future Projected for Vanderbilt's Morning Star Mine," California Mining Journal, March 1987, p. 4-6;

Patchick, 1957, p. 168.

Tucker, 1931, p. 304;

Tucker, 1940, 71;

Tucker, 1943, p. 456;

Wright, 1953, p. 49;

Mining Engineering:Nov. 1984, p. 1509,


Aubury, 1908, p. 328;

Tucker, 1921, p. 363;

Tucker, 1943 p. 485;

Wiebelt, F. J., 1949, Investigation of the Mohawk lead-zinc mine, San Bernardino County, California: U. S. Bureau of Mines Rept. Inv. 4478, 7 pp.

United States Mineral Survey 3794, 5372A and B.

Wright, 1953, p. 110;

This paper was published as:

Vredenburgh, Larry M., 1996, Later Mining History in the Mescal Range, Ivanpah Mountains and South Clark Mountain, in Robert E. Reynolds and Jennifer Reynolds eds. Punctuated Chaos, in the Northeastern Mojave Desert, San Bernardino County Museum Association Quarterly Vol. 43 nos. 1 and 2, pp. 73-76,