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2020 - Trip Reports - Getting Our Desert Fix

Getting Our Desert Fix

By Lindsay Woods

Growing up in Hesperia, I spent a lot of time out in the Mojave with my father and grandfathers. This taught me to appreciate the many things the desert has to offer. So, it’s that time of year when I enjoy being out in the desert. So, what’s a guy to do? Get a group of friends together and GET OUT THERE!

In early October I invited a few of my friends to join me in getting out and about for an overnight experience. I expected to have about 20 takers but was surprised when 51 people decided to join in. We headed out to an undisclosed facility in the Newberry Springs area on Friday, October 9th, had dinner and hung out with each other. Saturday after breakfast, we packed up and headed out in the general direction of the Alvord Mine for some exploring.

After helping some of our less experienced off-roaders to get unstuck and troubleshooting a few minor vehicle issues, we made it to Alvord Mine. According to

“The Alvord Consolidated Quartz Mining Company, in February, 1881, agreed to issue 75,000 shares of stock to raise money to develop their newly found mine, located about 20 miles east of Calico.

By April, 1885 work had begun. Ore was being hauled daily to Camp Cady where the existing Huntington Centrifugal Mill had recently been augmented with the addition of the Huntington five-stamp mill. Later reports indicate an arrastre was used to mill the ore at the very beginning. Ore was treated at Hawley’s, in addition to Camp Cady in the late 1880s.

In the early 1890s, a mill was built, probably at Alvord Well, at the mouth of the canyon below the mine, which ran until it burned in September, 1891. Alvord Mine figures for July and August, 1891, showed an assay of between $6 and $18 a ton in gold. During the last 10 days before the mill burned, $1,430 in bullion was produced. Total production of gold from the Alvord Mine up to that time was placed at $50,000.

The mine changed owners several times before a group of Pasadena businessmen, incorporated as the Carter Gold Mining Company, gained control of the property and operated it from 1885 until late 1891. This company owned the water rights for Paradise Springs, 9 miles north of the mine, and for Mule Spring 1 mile east. The water at Mule Spring is weakly saline and was used only for camp purposes. In 1895, considerable prospecting was done on the property and in order to test the ore, the Alvord Mining Company of Pasadena erected a five-stamp mill 2 miles from the mine, probably at the site of the burned mill.

From 1906 to 1910, the Alvord Mining Company of San Diego operated the mine and installed as six-stamp Nisson mill near the mine. The Tintic Bonanza Mining Company of Salt Lake City operated the mine from 1916 to 1920. Mr. McCormick, a resident of Yermo, was the owner in 1923 and planned to open the mine. In 1925, the Dell ‘Osso Gold Mining Company acquired the property and 6 claims were patented in 1931. The property was active for several months during 1932 and 1933, and was under lease to Roy Waughtel of Manix from December, 1950, to January, 1952. Since 1952, the property has been idle. The mill has been removed and one of the wooden buildings and a small bridge were burned in the early 1970s. Two stone buildings remained in the early 1970s.”

When we arrived at the mine after a few hours of exploring the surrounding area, we had lunch and the majority of the group headed into the mine for some underground exploration. I am always surprised how many of our local residents do not know much about our local history and the fascinating things do and see in the Mojave. It is always fun to introduce new people to the desert.

We returned to our camp location where we then did a little, well actuallyA LOT, of shooting before ending our day with an AWESOME tri-tip dinner. Following dinner we hit the road and returned home after another great time getting our desert fix. ~ Lindsay