By the 1910s attention had turned to Cerro Gordo’s zinc ores. In 1905, mining activity was revived in the Panamint region, and hope was seen for many of the old productive mines. However, an early group was attacked by Indians and three of the five prospectors were killed. Small scale mining persisted for many months and despite the clear abundance of rich ore, widespread attention escaped the remote district for some time. At its peak over 1,000 people lived here working in mines as the San Felipe and Union. ISU Extension in Cerro Gordo County serves Iowans through five program areas: Agriculture and Natural Resources, Business and Industry, Communities, Families, 4-H Youth Development. gcse.async = true; The remains of tramway structure at the Union Mine. By 1869 Cerro Gordo was being compared to the Comstock of Nevada. var gcse = document.createElement('script'); Ore Buckets From the Aerial Tramway. The financiers were impressed, and Belshaw left San Francisco as a third owner of the newly formed Union Mining Company, with enough capital to begin construction of a smelter to process the Cerro Gordo ores. Mining operations spanned 1866 to 1957, producing high grade silver, lead, and zinc ore. There is no public wifi and cellphone coverage is very spotty. It was the arrival of Mortimer Belshaw in April of 1868 that would transform Cerro Gordo into the booming mining town it was destined to be. Privacy. You will be required to sign a Liability Waiver before you explore the town. In 1915 a new tramway was built to ship zinc ore to Keeler. In 1866 Beaudry opened Cerro Gordo’s first store. From Mapcarta, the free map. ISU Extension in Cerro Gordo County serves as a resource to individuals and groups through publications, local workshops, and other programs. Today Cerro Gordo is a ghost town with a few part time residents and a handful of preserved buildings. By 1869, Americans had taken over the property and ultimately turned it into the largest producer of silver and lead in California, yielding ores that assayed at least as high as $300 per ton. After our visit to Cerro Gordo, we continued up into the Inyo Mountains. The principal mines at this time were the San Lucas, San Ygnacio, San Francisco, and San Felipe. .. A reported $500 million of minerals were blasted out of the mountain, but any miner worth his axe knows you never report the full value. All visitors must check in with our caretaker, sign a liability waiver and pay for admission before exploring the town. Cerro Gordo was unique in that the rich silver discoveries here did not result in an immediate rush to the area. He worked as a woodcutter at a nearby lumber camp during the late 1800s. They are not allowed in any Town buildings. In 1916 electricity reached the town and the mines of the district. Situated near the summit of Buena Vista Peak at an elevation of 8,500 feet, the isolated mining outpost became known as Cerro Gordo, meaning “fat hill”, the meaning, of course, that it was fat with silver. By the end of 1869, over 340 tons of silver bullion had been shipped from the Cerro Gordo mines to Los Angeles. The internet has much information on the area. s.parentNode.insertBefore(gcse, s); Although the town had gained a new lease on life, it never reached anywhere near the enormous production and resulting riches from the boom years of the 1870s. It can be mild in the summer, but very cold and snowy in the winter. 8500’, so many people can suffer slight altitude sickness. Item Information. The damage was repaired but the mine was left in debt. When state mineralogist W. A. Goodyear visited Cerro Gordo in July of that year, he reported “At the present time, there is altogether perhaps thirty or forty men around the site of the old town, getting their living the best they can.”. There may be insects, wild animals or snakes, so please do not allow your pet near wild animals or their dens or burrows. At the time the smelters were the best there were. The tractor cut the ore hauling time in half, but still could not keep the smelter in enough ore to be profitable. If you’d like to donate to our cause you may make a contribution to the Cerro Gordo Historical Foundation, a 501(c)3. taken from Owens Valley History site. The American Hotel was built in 1871 and it still stands today. Can I dig rocks or hunt for artifacts? In 1912 the Cerro Gordo group, whose property now consisted of tunnels and shafts and an aerial tramway connecting the mine with the narrow-gauge Southern Pacific Railroad at Keeler, which had absorbed the old Carson & Colorado Railroad, was acquired by Utah mining men. The road to Cerro Gordo is a hard one for man and car. The Cerro Gordo Mine isn’t a single mine, rather it is a collection of abandoned mines near Lone Pine. In April, 1866, the mine was included in the Lone Pine Mining District organized in April, 1866. Name * First. Four Metals Company Smelter & Tramway. It may be better to approach from the Cerro Gordo Mine. It consists of a number of wooden buildings, the most imposing of which is the two-story American Hotel, once the center of town. Season: All year, depending on weather and road conditions. Cerro Gordo Cerro Gordo, Inyo County. The “fat hill” produced silver, lead and zinc for a century. © 2017 Cerro Gordo Mines | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED |, Owens Valley History talking about Cerro Gordo. Children: (5-12), FREE The plan was to drive to the Saline Valley Salt Tram Summit Station where we would spend the night. Tours are available by reservation and can be guided or self-guided. * Indicates required field. In 1908, an aerial tramway was built between Cerro Gordo and the smelters at Keeler, improving the volume and efficiency of transporting ore. However, given Cerro Gordo's remote location, the scarcity of essential commodities like wood for smelter fuel and water, and the difficult freighting routes to deliver bullion to markets, the town’s prosperity relied on a complex array of enterprises all working in harmony. The district remained prosperous for several years. Belshaw’s first challenge was linking Cerro Gordo, situated high on Buena Vista Peak at an elevation of 8,500 feet, with Owens Valley far below. We are not responsible for ruts, holes, rocks or the overall condition of the road. Keep up to date with Cerro Gordo news and information. On the shore of Owens Lake, the town of Keeler was laid out and a mill was constructed to process some of the lower grade ores. Cerro Gordo, California 2 commodity had to be hauled up the grade from artesian wells in the valley. By 1929 the new discovery was in production and Cerro Gordo was once again saved from becoming a ghost town for a few more years. By the fall of 1907, the Four Metals Company acquired the Great Western Ore and Reduction Company’s holdings in Cerro Gordo and Keeler. Cerro Gordo is a well preserved town with a great history and an awesome visit spot. By 1888 Cerro Gordo was mostly empty. Please clean up after your pet. The road in is about eight miles, steep and 4 wheel drive is recommended. From the lakeside port of Cartago the bullion was loaded onto Remi Nadeau’s freighters and hauled into Los Angeles… Go to their full site. What’s the elevation? Cerro Gordo is a privately owned Mining Town located in the Owens Valley near Lone Pine, California. Cerro Gordo Mining in the 1900's Part Two. These problems resulted from a scarcity of ore in the mine, which had lasted for several months, and the temporary drying up of its water supply. A 200 ton smelter was erected east of Keeler. However, after Fort Independence was established and the Indian activity subsided, the Mexicans came back in 1862. In 1912, the Cerro Gordo group, whose property now consisted of tunnels and shafts and an aerial tramway connecting the mine with the narrow-gauge Southern Pacific Railroad at Keeler, was acquired by Utah mining men. By December of 1868, silver shipments from Cerro Gordo began reaching Los Angeles. How about bathrooms? Silver was roasted and formed into bullion, sent down the Yellow Grade road by mule team, then shipped across Owen’s Lake by steamboat. 9am-4pm standard time, 9am-5pm daylight savings time. Two were held captive and when they were released, were required to promise never to return. The ownership changed hands four times during this period. There are the prostitutes in the cribs, the starving Indians whose pinion crops were destroyed for firewood, and the miners who broke their spirits on hard rock and unfulfilled dreams. You’ll see and visit the many buildings still standing in Cerro Gordo. Dates and hours of operations: Monday through Sunday during daylight hours. He then built two modern smelters and continued acquiring mining rights from debtors until he soon owned a majority of the richest and most productive mines in the area, which eventually included a partial interest in the Union Mine. There are outhouses for guest convenience. By 1875, Cerro Gordo’s water supplies had ran out and water had to be hauled in continuously by pack train. Bier and Underwood's offer was accepted on June 20th and the deal … Cerro Gordo Road is a county maintained gravel/dirt road, just short of 8 miles long and fairly steep in places. Cerro Gordo is located on the western slope of the Inyo Mountains about seven miles east of Keeler and thirty miles south of Independence. We recommend a 4WD as the safest way, but non 4WD vehicles can make the trip as well. These two documents provide interesting reading: The Incredible Saline To Swansee Salt Tram (PDF) - The Saline Valley Salt Works (PDF>. Numerous stone foundations indicate the extensive size of the mining operation. The mill at Keeler was not performing as hoped and mine in the area were not producing the same high grade ores that were typical of previous decade. Please note that there is no overnight camping allowed. The surface ores were very rich and less complex than silver ores of other districts, and the miners were able to extract significant quantities of silver with nothing but hand labor and crude roasting ovens made of adobe. var cx = 'partner-pub-9736755019159052:xpuzw9d2li5'; Cerro Gordo saw a return of mining activities in 1907 when high-grade zinc ore was discovered at the Union Mine. Welcome to Cerro Gordo. What Los Angeles now is, is mainly due to it. Gross production of the Cerro Gordo camp from its early profitable years up until 1938 was about $17 million. 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