Myers Ranch

Myers Ranch is a privately owned ranch located in Goler Wash in the Panamint Mountains of Death Valley National Park, California. The forty acre ranch is privately owned ranch and located about .5 miles from Barker Ranch.

 Myers Ranch, Panamint Mountain
Myers Ranch, Panamint Mountain

A Family Affair

Bill and Barbara Myers settled in Goler Wash in 1932, building themselves a comfortable house complete with such amenities as flush toilets, a swimming pool, an orchard, and of course, a garden. They raised three children there: Charles, Pat and Corky. The Myers family reluctantly moved to Fresno in 1960, so that their children could have a better education.

The ranch is built from wood ties used by the Searles Lake epsom salt monorail, it burned in 1999. The Myers ran a gas and food stop called Wildrose Station, which was demolished by the National Park Service.

Manson Family

Myers Ranch was the original destination for Charles Mason and his “family”. In 1968 he started to look for a desert location to move his “brood”. He choose the desert because “Out there, things aren’t so crazy”. One of his followers is Cathy (Cappy) Gilles is a grand daughter of Bill and Barbara Myers. “Cappy” obtained permission from the family matriarch for her and some girls to come up and stay at the ranch. He later received permission and based his activities at Barker Ranch.

From October 1968 to January 1969, Manson lived / camped in the area. In October 1969, CHP Officer Jim Pursell and a task force raided Goler Wash. Over the course of two days, they arrested seventeen people in the area. Charles Manson was arrested while hiding in a cabinet in the bathroom of Barker Ranch.

Myers Ranch Map

Myers Ranch Summary

NameMyers Ranch
LocationGoler Wash, Panamint Mountains, Death Valley, California
Elevation3700 Feet
Latitude, Longitude35.86162,-117.08227

References

Powell of the Colorado Nevada State Historic Marker 37

Powell of the Colorado Nevada State Historic Marker 37 is a marker commemorating the 1869 exploration of the Grand Canyon by Major John Wesley Powell. The marked is located overlooking Lake Mead, Nevada.

Powell of the Colorado Nevada State Historic Marker 37- The 1871 Powell Expedition preparing to depart Green River.  Photo NPS
The 1871 Powell Expedition preparing to depart Green River. Photo NPS

Marker Text

On August 30, 1869, Major John Wesley Powell landed at the mouth of the Virgin River, about 12 miles south of here, thus ending the first boat expedition through the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River.

The expedition left Green River City, Wyoming Territory, on May 24, 1869. For three months Powell and his men endured danger and hunger to explore, survey and study the geology of the canyons along the Green and Colorado Rivers.

Exhausted and near starvation, the Powell party was warmly greeted and fed by the hardy Mormon pioneers of St. Thomas, a small farm settlement about 11 miles north of here.

The original sites of St. Thomas and the junction of the Virgin and Colorado Rivers are now beneath the waters of Lake Mead.

This, and later Powell surveys, stimulated great interest in the water conservation problems of the Southwest.

Marker Summary

Nevada State Historic Marker 37
NamePowell on the Colorado
LocationLake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude36.30717, -114.42006

References

USGS

Millers Nevada State Historic Marker 101

Millers Nevada State Historic Marker 101 is located at a rest stop alone highway 6 a few miles west of Tonopah, in Esmeralda county, Nevada. Millers was a train station and watering stop for the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad

Charles R. Miller - Millers Nevada State Historic Marker 101
Charles R. Miller

NSHM Text

As a result of mining excitement at Tonopah in 1901 and subsequent construction of the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad, Millers was first founded in 1904 as a station and watering stop on that line.  The name honored Charles R. Miller, a director of the railroad and former governor of Delaware.  He was also vice-president of the Tonopah Mining Company and was instrumental in having its 100-stamp cyanide mill built here in 1906.  In 1907, the town boomed with the construction of the T. & G. R.R.’s repair shops and another large mill.  The population grew to 274 in 1910, when the town boasted a business district and post office.  By 1911, the railroad shops and a mill had been moved away, and Millers began to decline.  It was abandoned in 1947 when the railroad went out of business.

STATE HISTORICAL MARKER No. 101
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
AMERICAN LEGION, NEVADA DEPT.

Marker Summary

Nevada State Historic Marker15
NameMillers
LocationEsmeralda County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude38.14024, -117.45391

References

Tonopah Nevada State Historic Marker 15

Tonopah- NSHM #15 is a Nevada State Historic Marker Located in Tonopah, Nye County, Nevada. The rock marker is locate just off the highway in a park.

Photograph of a panoramic view of the Tonopah Mining Park (now a historic site) and Mount Butler in the distance, Tonopah, Nevada, ca.1904. -  - Pierce, C.C. (Charles C.), 1861-1946
Photograph of a panoramic view of the Tonopah Mining Park (now a historic site) and Mount Butler in the distance, Tonopah, Nevada, ca.1904. – – Pierce, C.C. (Charles C.), 1861-1946

Nevada State Historic Marker 15

Jim Butler, District Attorney of Nye County, is credited with the turn-of-century discovery, which ended a twenty-year slump in Nevada’s economy.  American Indians originally used the name Tonopah for a small spring in the nearby San Antonio Mountains, long before Butler camped in this area in May 1900.  Tonopah became the richest silver producer in the nation and replaced Belmont as the Nye County county seat in 1905.  The mines spawned a railroad, several huge mills, and a bustling population of approximately 10,000.

The mines faltered in the 1920s, but Tonopah achieved long-lasting fame because of the prominent financial and political leaders it produced.  Many camps and communities followed in the wake of Tonopah’s boom, most of which have become ghost towns.

NEVADA CENTENNIAL MARKER No. 15

STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE

Tonopah Marker Summary

Nevada State Histori Marker15
NameTonopah
LocationNye County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude38.06700718559682, -117.2291111314593

References

Barker Ranch

Thomason/Barker Ranch is a five-acre property within Death Valley National Park. This historic site is located off of Goler Wash in the southern Panamint Range in the southwestern portion of the park. Barker Ranch is commonly referenced as being the location that mass murderer Charles Manson was arrested after the Tate – La Bianca killings in 1969.

This image, taken circa 1940, shows the main residence, workshop, retaining walls, and ornamental vegetation. Note the windmill located behind the workshop. View north (DEVA collection) - NPS
This image, taken circa 1940, shows the main residence, workshop, retaining walls, and ornamental vegetation. Note the windmill located behind the workshop. View north (DEVA collection) – NPS

Thomason Era (1937 – 1956)

In 1937, Blouch Thomason, a retired Los Angeles County detective, recorded three quartz lode mining claims named
“Tommy Group,” “Tommy Group No. 2,” and “Tommy Group No. 3” and a mill site located. The original structures consisting of three tent shelters is built in 1939.

In 1940, major improvements are made to the land. Thomason built the main ranch house, windmill, workshop, chicken coop, corral, fences, entry road, fences, water conveyance system, and planted ornamental and fruit-bearing vegetation. He also built a single rock building for “shop and storage” at the ranch. Later, a guestroom and garage are added to the shop. The Thomas ranch is inhabited full time by Blouch and Helen Thomason. They ceased mining operations due to poor yield

In 1950, Blouch passes away while visiting relatives in the Trinity Alps. Following his death, Helen moves away from the ranch, but still maintained the property as a vacation retreat.

Barker Era ( 1956 – 1971 )

James and Arlene Barker, from Oklahoma, purchased the Thomason Ranch, in 1955. In 1956, the Barkers recorded the “Chespa Mill Site” with the Inyo County Recorder’s Office. The Barkers built a 5,000 gallon water reservoir ( swimming pool ) and a 14 foot by 20 foot bunkhouse, sometime during 1957.

In 1968, Arlene Barker gave Charles Manson permission to occupy the Ranch in exchange for a Beach Boys Gold Album. After Manson’s arrest, the Barkers continued to maintain the property. In 1971, the Barkers ceased filing mining reports with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on the family’s mining activity. The land (and improvements) then reverted to government control. In 1976, the ranch became part of the California Desert Conservation Area.

In 1994, Barker Ranch is incorporated into Death Valley National Park.

Manson Era ( 1968 – 1969 )

Barker Ranch - The building complex was heavily vegetated with trees, with a sparsely planted understory. Note the Manson bus in the left hand side of the image. View northwest, 1969 (DEVA collection). - NPS
Barker Ranch – The building complex was heavily vegetated with trees, with a sparsely planted understory. Note the Manson bus in the left hand side of the image. View northwest, 1969 (DEVA collection). – NPS

The Thomason / Barker Ranch history was stained forever, in October 1968, when Charles Manson obtained permission from Arlene Barker to occupy the ranch. Paul Watkins, a Manson Family Member, stated the Mason agreed to watch over the place in exchange for maintenance and work on the Ranch. Manson and his band of opted to stay and Barker Ranch over the Myers Ranch which is located about .5 miles away. A total of 19 Manson followers performed a phased relocation to the property over time. Manson family members are known to drive to Los Angeles or Las Vegas to bring in supplies.

On October 10 and 12, 1969, CHP officer Jim Pursell and the INYO Sheriffs Department along with California Highway Patrol and NPS Rangers raided Barker Ranch. Actually, they raided the area around Barker Ranch. A raid is executed in search of vandals of earth moving equipment which repaired damage to the playa in Racetrack Valley. Over the coarse to several days, the task forced hunted down Family members who were scattered about the area. The diminutive Manson is arrested when found hiding under the sink in the bathroom at Barker Ranch.

To this day, Barker Ranch is the subject of investigation into the crimes of Charles Manson.

Barker Ranch Map

NPS

Barker Ranch was built by “recreational ranchers” who moved to the desert to enjoy the solitude and simplicity of living far from civilization. Bluch and Helen Thomason moved into the area the the late 1930s to try their hand at gold mining. Around 1940, the constructed a small stone cabin and outbuilding, with electricity. provided by a wind mill and generator, and drinking water from a nearby spring

In 1955, the ranch was sold to Jim and Arlene Barker, who moved to the desert from Oklahoma. To accommodate their family gatherings, the Barkers enlarged the house and constructed more building.

The ranch became infamous when Charles Manson and members of the “Manson Family” were captured at the site. Family members attracted the attention of local law enforcement when they were suspected to burning a piece of road maintenance equipment. Detectives later discovered that the vandalism suspects were responsible for a series of murders in the Los Angeles Area.

Barker Ranch became part of Death Valley National Park in 1994. Tragically, the main house and workshop were destroyed by an accidental fire in May 2009.

National Park Service – Barker Ranch

Sources