The Historical Mining Towns of the Eastern Mojave Desert
Larry Vredenburgh, Alan Patera, and Phil Serpico have provided important information.
Two books offer the most extensive coverage of mining in the Mojave Desert: Larry Vredenburgh, Gary Shumway, and Russell Hartill, Desert Fever : An Overview of Mining in the California Desert (Canoga Park, 1981), and volume 2 of David Myrick's Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California (Berkeley: Howell-North Books, 1963).
The material on the post offices appears in Walter N. Frickstad, A Century of California Post Offices, 1848 to 1955 (Oakland, 1955), and H. A. Salley, History of California Post Offices, 1849-1876 (La Mesa, Cal., 1977).
The San Bernardino County of Supervisors created and abolished voting precincts, court districts, and road districts; granted liquor licenses; approved townsites; appointed justices of the peace and constables; and held elections and certified the results. Their actions appear in their minutes (also called records), which are available in the county archives.
The statistics on the school districts appear in the annual reports of the county superintendent of schools. Few counties kept them. I used the official copies in the California State Archives, in Sacramento.
The most important periodicals were the Mining & Scientific Press , published in San Francisco, from 1860 to 1922, and the Los Angeles Mining Review , of which broken files exist from 1901 to 1913.
This chapter is based on an article that I wrote: “Ivanpah—Pioneer Mojave Desert Town,” Heritage Tales (City of San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society, Annual 7), 1984, pp. 36-58.
Larry Vredenburgh wrote a 14-page account in Desert Fever: An Overview of Mining in the California Desert (Canoga Park, 1981).
The Piute Company of California and Nevada (San Francisco, 1870) is a promotional booklet, which contains several lithographs of the area. Also of interest is a short biography by Roman Malach, Adventurer John Moss . . . (Kingman, 1977).
Several writers profiled the McFarlane brothers: Illustrated History of Southern California (Chicago, 1890); J. M. Guinn, A History of California . . . (Los Angeles, 1907); and Fred Holladay, Odyssey , March, 1979. ( Odyssey is the bulletin of the City of San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society.)
A member of George M. Wheeler's survey visited the district: Annual Report Upon the Geographical Surveys West Of The One Hundredth Meridian . . . (Washington, 1876), pp. 53-54.
Richard Lingenfelter described the problems of the Ivanpah Consolidated in The Hardrock Miners: A History of the Mining Labor Movement in the American West, 1863-1893 (Berkeley, 1974). D. F. Hewett studied the district in the 1920s: Geology and Mineral Resources of the Ivanpah Quadrangle, California and Nevada (United States Geological Survey, Professional Paper 275, 1956).
Several visitors described the camp at several stages of its life: “Jottings by the Way En Route to Ivanpah, Clark District,” San Bernardino Guardian , Sept. 30, 1871; Frederick Dellenbaugh, “Record of a Sketching Tour to N. Arizona & S. Utah, 1875-1876,” (extract from diary in the Arizona Historical Society); William Vale, “Log of Trip to Ivanpah & Resting Springs” (typescript copy in California Room, San Bernardino Public Library); Frank Williams, autobiography (typescript, Special Collections Department, University of Nevada, Las Vegas).
The only references to Ivanpah's newspaper appear in two articles by Karl Shutka, both of them in the Journal of the West : “ ‘Humbug Bill' Frazee and the ‘Green-Eyed Monster,' ” October, 1962 (v. 1), pp. 215-218, and “ ‘Humbug Bill' Frazee: His ‘Canteen Fish' and Other Tall Tales,” July, 1964 (v. 3), pp. 369-374. Frazee and his partner are listed as registered voters.
The most important sources were the broken files of the Colton Semi-Tropic , 1877-1880, and the following newspapers in San Bernardino: the Guardian , 1870-1874; Weekly Argus , 1876-77; Weekly Times , 1876, 1878-1879; and Valley Index (also called the Weekly Index ), 1876, 1880-1881. Two articles appeared in the Mining & Scientific Press in1887.
Information on the Copper World appears in The Copper Handbook . . . (Houghton, Michigan, 1903), compiled by Horace Stevens, and Lewis Aubury, The Copper Resources of California (California State Mining Bureau, Bulletin 23, 1902), which was revised as Bulletin 50 (1908); and John Ervin Brinley, Jr.: “The Western Federation of Miners” (dissertation, University of Utah, 1972), listed the local of the miners' union. Some news appeared in the Redlands Citrograph , 1898-1899. The Needles Eye and Searchlight Bulletin , 1908, reported on the fire at Ivanpah station.
The Calico Print was the main source of news. Few issues exist, but the Mining & Scientific Press reprinted its articles, 1885-1887. D. F. Hewett visited the Mescal Mine (then known as the Cambria) in the 1920s: Geology and Mineral Resources of the Ivanpah Quadrangle, California and Nevada (United States Geological Survey, Professional Paper 275, 1956).
The most detailed study is Larry Vredenburgh, Gary Shumway, and Russell Hartill, Desert Fever : An Overview of Mining in the California Desert (Canoga Park, 1981).
William B. Vickers and others profiled Wilson Waddingham and Thomas Ewing: History of the Arkansas Valley, Colorado (Chicago, 1881). But they proved to be swindlers, as Stanley Dempsey and James E. Fell show: Mining the Summit, Colorado's Ten Mile District, 1860-1960 (Norman, Oklahoma, 1986).
The main source of news was the Calico Print , which the Mining & Scientific Press quoted, 1882-1887. The magazine also published the mint returns.
The ruins remained in good condition when Aaron Dudley and Alvin Fickewirth visited: “Ghost Town of the Mojave,” Westways , November, 1941 (v. 33), pp. 22-23.
L. Burr Belden wrote two accounts in the San Bernardino Sun-Telegram : “Vanderbilt Ranks High on List of Rich, Wild Camps,” November 30, 1952, p. 20, and “It's Gold: We're Rich as Vanderbilts!” January 19, 1964, p. B-7.
Fred Holladay, with whom I worked closely, stressed the social and cultural life of the district: “As Rich as Vanderbilt,” Heritage Tales , City of San Bernardino Historical Society, Annual Publication 2), 1979, pp. 1-16.
David Myrick also described the mining boom in his second volume of Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California (Berkeley, 1963). Both he and Stanley Paher found several stunning photos of the town: Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of Nevada (Berkeley, 1970).
Frank Williams visited the camp in its tent stage: typewritten autobiography, Department of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. O. J. Fisk told Philip Johnston about his days there: “Treasures from Vanderbilt,” Westways, June 1952, pp. 22-23.
When Nell Murbarger visited the townsite, several buildings still stood, including Virgil Earp's saloon: “Sleeping Ghosts in the New York Mountains,” Desert Magazine , October, 1957, pp. 24-28. Norton Allen contributed an excellent map.
The main sources of news were the Needles Eye , 1891-1894; Saturday Review (San Bernardino), 1895-1896; Pioche (Nevada) Record , especially for 1893; and Mining & Scientific Press , 1893-1896. The Mining & Scientific Press also reprinted news from the Vanderbilt Shaft , of which no issues exist.
David Myrick described Manvel's rise and decline in Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California (Berkeley, 1963), volume 2; his maps are excellent. Stanley Paher, Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of Nevada (Berkeley, 1970), concentrated on the pictorial history.
Edgar A. Brown, the son of a merchant, recalled his boyhood there: “The Manvel I Knew,” Westways , October, 1956, pp. 22-23.
The main sources of news were the Pioche (Nevada) Record , 1893, and the Searchlight Bulletin and Needles Eye , 1902-1911.
A brief history appears in Ronald Dean Miller, Mines of the Mojave (Glendale, 1976). L. Burr Belden wrote a concise account, “Hart, Gold Camp On Nevada Line, Folded in 1918,” San Bernardino Sun - Telegram , September 30, 1956.
Extensive coverage appeared in the Searchlight Bulletin , Los Angeles Mining Review , and Mining & Scientific Press , 1908-1913. The Mining Review also reprinted news from the Hart Enterprise , of which no files seem to exist. The Needles Eye carried occasional articles.
Some details of the union local appear in John Ervin Brinley, Jr., “The Western Federation of Miners” (dissertation, University of Utah, 1972), and the Western Federation of Miners, Official Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Convention (Denver, 1909).
The main source is Larry Vredenburgh, Gary Shumway, and Russell Hartill, Desert Fever : An Overview of Mining in the California Desert (Canoga Park, 1981).
Index to "The Historical Mining Towns of the Eastern Mojave Desert"