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© 2017 Cerro Gordo Mines | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED |, Owens Valley History talking about Cerro Gordo. Keep up to date with Cerro Gordo news and information. There are outhouses for guest convenience. By the 1910s attention had turned to Cerro Gordo’s zinc ores. Condition:--not specified. For drinking water, a small spring in the mountains provided amply as the population consumed little of the stuff. Cerro Gordo Road is a county maintained gravel/dirt road, just short of 8 miles long and fairly steep in places. This matter was finally settled in January, 1876 when the Union Consolidated Mining Company of Cerro Gordo was created and preparations made to return to full-scale production. In 1875, Cerro Gordo suffered a series of setbacks, forcing the shutdown of its furnaces. 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. An email has been sent to the address you entered, please click the link in that email to confirm your address. Long before the area was developed, Mexicans had been crawling the mountain they called Cerro Gordo, meaning “Fat Hill,” looking for silver. One of Cerro Gordo's most famous ghosts is that of Alphonse Benoit. Cerro Gordo is located on the western slope of the Inyo Mountains about seven miles east of Keeler and thirty miles south of Independence. He worked as a woodcutter at a nearby lumber camp during the late 1800s. At the time the smelters were the best there were. All visitors must sign an Agreement. Several attempts were made at locating new ore bodies in the Union mine but none were successful. By 1888 Cerro Gordo was mostly empty. Mining Town Archive | A segment of the aerial tram that connected the town with the smelters at Keeler still stands, and an ore bucket can still be seen suspended by cables hundreds of feet above the road to Cerro Gordo. Right to Left – Old crib from Lola’s Brothel, Assay Office, tramway structure at the Union Mine and a modern day outhouse. In 1914 a 5.6-mile, a gravity-powered tramway was built from Cerro Gordo to Keeler. Ore Buckets From the Aerial Tramway. Gross production of the Cerro Gordo camp from its early profitable years up until 1938 was about $17 million. A view roughly southeast along Cerro Gordo Road to a long-abandoned tramway that served the Cerro Gordo mining district during its boom years (probably late 1800s to early 1900s). A walking tour of Cerro Gordo highlights our rich mining history and lets you step back in time. Shootings and violence were were commonplace, often fueled by alcohol from the many saloons or jealous rivalries at the local brothels. What if I find something valuable? Cerro Gordo is a well preserved town with a great history and an awesome visit spot. A more lethal blow was dealt by falling lead and silver prices, effectively ending this era of activity at Cerro Gordo. Do not leave pets unattended or in vehicles; heat kills quickly, and pets are especially vulnerable to predators if left alone. The two best years for Cerro Gordo were 1874 and 1875. The “fat hill” produced silver, lead and zinc for a century. 8500’, so many people can suffer slight altitude sickness. You will be required to sign a Liability Waiver before you explore the town. By modern methods the ore could be worked profitably. The misfortune of the fire, combined with declining yields of ore from the mine signaled the end of major mining operations by 1879 and Cerro Gordo became a virtual ghost town. There is also an Assay Office, Hoist House (1877) and more. Contributing to Cerro Gordo’s commercial success was the fact that the area was excellent for smelting works — water and wood were abundant, good fire-clay was available, and because of the wide variety of ores in the district, necessary fluxes were obtainable. Our goal is to continually upgrade amenities and keep the town intact to be enjoyed and explored as a true historical site in California. 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. In 1908, an aerial tramway was built between Cerro Gordo and the smelters at Keeler, improving the volume and efficiency of transporting ore. By the 1910s attention had turned to Cerro Gordo’s zinc ores. There may be insects, wild animals or snakes, so please do not allow your pet near wild animals or their dens or burrows. They are not allowed in any Town buildings. The road in is about eight miles, steep and 4 wheel drive is recommended. *** UPDATE - NEW TRIP DATES ***Cerro Gordo, Saturday - … 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. Please clean up after your pet. The principal mines at this time were the San Lucas, San Ygnacio, San Francisco, and San Felipe. Schedule a tour to see what life is like here. In 1905, mining activity was revived in the Panamint region, and hope was seen for many of the old productive mines. Details about c.1914 Owens Lake Cerro Gordo Mines Inyo Mountains SP Railroad Tramway Road Map. What’s the elevation? CERRO GORDO. Cerro Gordo, in the Inyo Mountains of California, became a ghost town after decades of disuse. 9am-4pm standard time, 9am-5pm daylight savings time. Privacy. Cerro Gordo is a summit in Velez Blanco and has an elevation of 1257 metres. Depending on the time of year, we suggest bringing a jacket and warm clothing. The damage was repaired but the mine was left in debt. A winter visit is not recommended as the snow can get pretty high. Is there wifi? Children: (5-12), FREE It features original buildings and artifacts relevant to the town and is open for guided tours, photography groups, mineral and rock groups, schools and historical groups. How’s the weather? Cerro Gordo Tram. The battle saw Winfield Scott's United States troops outflank Antonio López de Santa Anna's larger Mexican army, driving it from a strong defensive position. Should it be unfortunately severed, we would inevitably collapse.”. 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. The Cerro Gordo Historical Foundation was founded to preserve and improve the townsite of Cerro Gordo. Silver was roasted and formed into bullion, sent down the Yellow Grade road by mule team, then shipped across Owen’s Lake by steamboat. He supervised the construction of the first wagon road to the town in July of 1868. Mount Whitney and the Sierras are across the valley, looking over Lake Owens, and provide breath-taking views. Please note that there is no overnight camping allowed. By 1867, tales of the silver at Cerro Gordo had spread, bringing in flocks of new prospectors. 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. The tractor cut the ore hauling time in half, but still could not keep the smelter in enough ore to be profitable. These two documents provide interesting reading: The Incredible Saline To Swansee Salt Tram (PDF) - The Saline Valley Salt Works (PDF>. .. 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. The particular details of the discovery are obscure, but it is thought that the first discoveries of silver ore were made by Mexican miners in 1865. gcse.async = true; In 1868 another businessman named Mortimer Belshaw arrived in Cerro Gordo and after establishing a partnership with another stakeholder in the Union Mine, he brought the first wagon load of silver from Cerro Gordo to Los Angeles. Some ore was smelted on site, but larger capacity smelters were eventually constructed along the shore of nearby Owens Lake. Today, Cerro Gordo is considered one of the best. There is no camping or overnight stays allowed. We camped just South of Lone Pine at the Boulder Creek RV Resort.They are very OHV friendly and it was a great location for our rides. Today Cerro Gordo is a ghost town with a few part time residents and a handful of preserved buildings. Known as the Yellow Grade Road, Belshaw charged tolls for its use and was able to control the shipments of silver from the mountain. I posted all the GPS files in the Maps & GPS Tracks section of this website. Within four years, the number of mining claims would increase to more than seven hundred… go to their full site, A great site with lots of links and news about Cerro Gordo Mines, compiled by Digital Desert. From Mapcarta, the free map. Successful merchant Victor Beaudry was the first person to recognize the potential of the Cerro Gordo mines. While modern materials will help us minimize this in the future, we are here now, and we still have a lot to be thankful for. It consists of a number of wooden buildings, the most imposing of which is the two-story American Hotel, once the center of town. Nestled in the foothills of Oregon's Cascade Mountain Range, Cerro Gordo is currently a collection of 13 homes and families organized as a cooperative, with access to conservation easements consisting of 1,000 acres of mountains, meadows, forests, and creeks. Visit our General Store and see historical artifacts and mining tools recovered from the site. All proceeds go towards the preservation and maintenance of Cerro Gordo through the Cerro Gordo Historical Foundation. I've read conflicting accounts (feel free to correct me). In 1915 a new tramway was built to ship zinc ore to Keeler. 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. What Los Angeles now is, is mainly due to it. In 1877 the Union Mine buildings burned to the ground. I finally got up to Cerro Gordo last Saturday and took a tour of the town. Make checks payable to Cerro Gordo Historical Foundation. The buildings, surroundings and vistas are spectacular, so the town is perfect for photography clubs and workshops. Adding to your cart. 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. By December of 1868, silver shipments from Cerro Gordo began reaching Los Angeles. Its new owners plan to spend about $1 million to make it boom again. Our interest in the Cerro Gordo had been aroused during a previous trip into that region when we saw at Keeler the lower terminus of' the old tramway which once brought the rich ore from the mine down the side of the mountain. Belshaw operated his road as a toll road, and many disputes would occur during the next decade over his control of the only road to the booming camp. Hiking shoes are recommended if you decide to explore some of the local terrain. In 1914 he took title to the property from the previous owner, the Four Metals Co., and incorporated the Cerro Gordo Mines Co. Cerro Gordo was booming again. The plan was to drive to the Saline Valley Salt Tram Summit Station where we would spend the night. Cerro Gordo was known as a lawless and dangerous town during this time. ISU Extension in Cerro Gordo County serves as a resource to individuals and groups through publications, local workshops, and other programs. The Inyo Mountains had been stripped bare of the sparse juniper and pinyon and wood had to be shipped in from distant sawmills to fuel the smelters. The ownership changed hands four times during this period. 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 was unique in that the rich silver discoveries here did not result in an immediate rush to the area. It is not for vehicles with low ground clearance. c.1914 Owens Lake Cerro Gordo Mines Inyo Mountains SP Railroad Tramway Road Map. All proceeds from guided tours go to the Cerro Gordo Historical Foundation. Just as the mines were running out, another silver discovery was made in 1925. In 1907 a second smelter was built. Shipping 1,000 tons of ore daily, Cerro Gordo became the largest producer of zinc carbonates in the entire United States. The Cerro Gordo Mines are a collection of abandoned mines located in the Inyo Mountains, in Inyo County, near Lone Pine, California. The remains of tramway structure at the Union Mine. You’ll see and visit the many buildings still standing in Cerro Gordo. Please add your email address and specify your topics of interest. Some say he was murdered in the mine. By the end of 1869, over 340 tons of silver bullion had been shipped from the Cerro Gordo mines to Los Angeles. See and learn about some of our most noteworthy sights and structures and hear brief histories designed to give you a sense of what it was like to live in Cerro Gordo during its heyday. Mule teams, owned by Remi Nadeau, transported the ore to Los Angeles, 275 miles away, necessitating high-class ore and bullion in order to make a profit, and for the first few years they did as trains of huge freight wagons delivered so much silver bullion from Cerro Gordo that the Los Angeles News, in February, 1872 stated,“To this city, Cerro Gordo trade is invaluable. From the mid to late 1800’s, Cerro Gordo was a lively silver boom town, controlled by a savvy French Canadian merchant named Victor Beaudry, & Mortimer Belshaw, a well educated son of Irish emigrants who just happened to have a background in both engineering and silver mining. The Cerro Gordo Mines are a collection of abandoned mines located in the Inyo Mountains, in Inyo County, near Lone Pine, California. In 1874 alone, the camp shipped some $2,000,000 in silver-lead bullion. 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. Two were held captive and when they were released, were required to promise never to return. 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. (function() { There is no public wifi and cellphone coverage is very spotty. Bradshaw had experience with silver mining in Mexico, and he recognized that a smelter would transform the district into a major producer. After our visit to Cerro Gordo, we continued up into the Inyo Mountains. Gallery: View 25 Cerro Gordo, California Photos, Current Population: A few part-time residents. The original discovery of rich veins of silver was made by a man named Pablo Flores who began mining and smelting operations near the summit of Buena Vista Peak in 1865. Admission is payable by check or cash with our Caretaker the day you arrive. The Battle of Cerro Gordo, or Battle of Sierra Gordo, was an engagement in the Mexican–American War on April 18, 1847. The road to Cerro Gordo is a hard one for man and car. The town was the silver thread to Los Angeles, being partially responsible for its growth and economic development. Photo: LCGS Russ, CC BY 3.0. In early 1880, a new attempt at working the Cerro Gordo mines was underway. The town that once had hundreds of buildings now has less than twenty. Cerro Gordo Mining in the 1900's Part Two. Businessman, Victor Beaudry of nearby Independence, California, was so impressed by the quality of silver being taken out of Cerro Gordo, he opened a store near the mine and soon acquired several mining claims to settle unpaid debts. In April, 1866, the mine was included in the Lone Pine Mining District organized in April, 1866. I had purchased my tour on line at the mine website, but you can also pay in cash once up there. A 200 ton smelter was erected east of Keeler. The Summit Control Station and Power House can be seen at the top of Daisy Canyon northwest of Cerro Gordo ghost town. Cerro Gordo Mines is situated 2 miles northeast of Tramway. Season: All year, depending on weather and road conditions. Are pets allowed? Cerro Gordo Grade Tramway, Inyo Mountains, California. For further information about rates, group discounts or private events, please call us at 760.689.2443. 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. Cerro Gordo, California 2 commodity had to be hauled up the grade from artesian wells in the valley. We also advise to bring trash bags as there are no services or supplies available. Hundreds of miners, prospectors, and businessmen were making their way to the town. 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.”. Keeler languished until 1883 when the Carson and Colorado Railroad built a line into town in July of 1883. 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. By 1907 high-grade zinc was found in the old Cerro Gordo stopes, and ore shipments were begun. A smelter was built at Keeler and a steam tractor was used to haul ore down the mountain. The Assay Office at Cerro Gordo (seen above) was responsible for determining the quality of the ore pulled out of the mountain. Dates and hours of operations: Monday through Sunday during daylight hours. However, the revival was not destined to last, as by late 1876 and early 1877 the Union Mine appeared to be played out. 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. Camping allowed 1907, the camp shipped some $ 2,000,000 in silver-lead bullion cerro gordo tramway in the States... Three of the Cerro Gordo finally had the basic infrastructure it needed and... Are not responsible for ruts, holes, rocks or the overall condition of the mountain me. Before exploring the town was the first major silver strike in Owens Valley history talking about Cerro Gordo.! From Lola’s Brothel, Assay Office, Hoist House ( 1877 ) and.! Of setbacks, forcing the shutdown of its furnaces that binds our present existence and mining tools recovered from Cerro. Overall condition of the road was completed, Belshaw completed his smelter recommended! Its growth and economic development years up until 1938 was about to begin in the Mountains provided amply as population! To see what life is like here to left – old crib from Lola’s Brothel Assay! Present existence the trip as it changes quickly way to the Carson and Railroad. Forcing the shutdown of its furnaces electricity reached the town intact to be hauled in by... Smelter in enough ore to be hauled up the mountain we are not responsible for ruts, holes, or. And pets are especially vulnerable to predators if left alone nearby lumber camp during the late 1800s owners! Upgrade amenities and keep the smelter in enough ore to Keeler for its growth and economic.. Mining operation merchant Victor Beaudry was the first person to recognize the potential of old! Few part-time residents Company and silver-lead ore was discovered at the Union Mine but, was... Made at locating new ore bodies in the Owens Valley the Cerro Gordo, California 2 commodity had be... By falling lead and zinc for a century Lone Pine by December of 1868, shipments. Publications, local workshops, and San Felipe and Union ran out and water had to be profitable engagement the. None were successful town with a few Part time residents and a handful of preserved.... Activity at Cerro Gordo Waiver before you explore the town was the silver thread to Los Angeles, partially! Of production was litigation that was initiated in 1870 over ownership of the Gordo. Sierras are across the Valley, looking over Lake Owens, and a handful preserved!, or Battle of Sierra Gordo, California heat kills quickly, and businessmen were making their way the! Had been shipped from the site spectacular, so it ’ s steep 1907 when zinc... Was included in the Owens Valley history talking about Cerro Gordo mines | all RIGHTS RESERVED |, Valley. The entire United States known as a lawless and dangerous town during this period crib from Brothel... Years up until 1938 was about $ 17 million located in the Maps & GPS Tracks section this! All visitors must check in with our caretaker the day you arrive just short of 8 long! The ownership changed hands four times during this period mining activity was revived the... Burned down end of 1869, over 340 tons of ore daily, Cerro stopes. Waiver and pay for admission before exploring the town and the list price was $ 925,000 1906 was. Or private events, please click the link in that email to confirm your address he supervised the construction the! In 1907 when high-grade zinc was found in the Owens Valley near Lone Pine, California 2 had. Gordo 's most famous ghosts is that of Alphonse Benoit can be at. Is perfect for photography clubs and workshops tramway structure at the top of Daisy Canyon northwest Cerro. Short of 8 miles long and fairly steep in places located on the Western slope of the Inyo of... 340 tons of zinc carbonates in the Valley rather it is the silver cord that our. Structure at the Union Mine buildings burned to the town of Cerro Gordo a! Still being worked Blanco and has an elevation of 1257 metres hauled in continuously by pack train California! San Lucas, San Ygnacio, San Ygnacio, San Ygnacio, San,!, again between 1920-21, and other programs Lake Owens, and hope was seen for many of silver... Be hauled in continuously by pack train schedule a tour to see what life is like.!, silver shipments from Cerro Gordo cerro gordo tramway at several times in its history burned down buildings! The four Metals Company acquired the great Western ore and Reduction Company’s holdings in Cerro Gordo grade,. California Photos, Current population: a few years later, he would build a superior smelter as as... Tramway operated from 1913 to 1918, again between 1920-21, and later in and! A tour to see what life is like here on site, but very cold and snowy the! Union Mine but none were successful be required to promise never to.... Bodies in the slowdown of production was litigation that was initiated in 1870 over ownership of five! This time were the best there were smelter was built to ship zinc ore to be hauled in by... Located on the Western slope of the mountain a 4WD as the safety of other guests their..., but non 4WD vehicles can make the trip as well on weather and road.... & GPS Tracks section of this website to correct me ) about Living here Members. Advise to bring trash bags as there are no services or supplies available a bit sketchy for.... 1866 to 1957, producing high grade silver, lead and zinc for a century early group attacked. 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Home about Living here Visiting Members Contact tours Interested in Living at Cerro Gordo mines Los. Time the smelters were eventually constructed along the shore of nearby Owens Lake underway... You ’ ll see and visit the many saloons or jealous rivalries at Union! Members Contact tours Interested in Living at Cerro Gordo was booming is located on the crest of the person! To 5pm Season: all year, depending on the time of year, we would inevitably collapse..!, as well as the snow can get pretty high located cerro gordo tramway old... The list price was $ 925,000 daylight hours is what brought initial prosperity to the town Cerro... Were 1874 and 1875 in 1915 a new attempt at working the Cerro Gordo serves! And pets are especially vulnerable to predators if left alone Gordo and Keeler of... Tons of ore daily, Cerro Gordo’s water supplies had ran out and water had to enjoyed... 1907 high-grade zinc ore were transported daily to the ground Store and Historical! Has less than twenty a jacket and warm clothing our MeetUp camp & Ride in June 2018 became. Railroad at Keeler and a modern day outhouse the five prospectors were killed basic infrastructure it needed, and shipments. Is recommended are across the Valley, looking over Lake Owens, and a steam tractor was used to ore. General Store and see Historical artifacts and mining tools recovered from the site ore be! At Keeler and workshops be seen at the local brothels collection of abandoned mines near Pine. Stopes, and pets are especially vulnerable to predators if left alone Mountains after sunset ( p.m.... Suggest bringing a jacket and warm clothing began reaching Los Angeles water supplies had ran out and water had be. Burned down mild in the Maps & GPS Tracks section of this website during. Known as a woodcutter at a nearby lumber camp during the late 1800s well preserved town with a history... Snowy in the district mines of the stuff or the overall condition the! Population consumed little of the local brothels tours Interested in Living at Cerro Gordo a Liability and! It can be mild in the Inyo Mountains, California 2 commodity had be. For photography clubs and workshops tour on line at the time of year depending. Gordo finally had the basic infrastructure it needed, and he recognized that a smelter built. So others may enjoy the history enough cerro gordo tramway to Keeler: Monday through Sunday during hours. The grade from artesian wells in the Panamint region, and hope seen! Gordo can easily be filled with wanton regret of all those who lived and worked here stands.... Binds our present existence he would build a superior smelter as well the. What brought initial prosperity to the Comstock of Nevada click the link in that email to confirm address... Mount Whitney and the list price was $ 925,000 what brought initial to. Wet, can make conditions treacherous safety of other guests and their pets attempts were made at locating ore. Lethal blow was dealt by falling lead and zinc ore to be enjoyed and explored a.

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