Doble California

Doble California is a gold mining town and ghost town which is located off the western shore of Lake Baldwin in San Bernardino, California. The town began life as Bairdstown in 1873 when the Carter brothers filed a gold mine claim. The original town was named for Samuel Baird who was instrumental in securing financing from San Francisco and the capital to establish larger scale mining operations. Baird purchased the two richest claims from the Carter brothers in December of 1873 for a sum of $30,000. This “buyout” served as an impressive buyout for the short run of the Carter brothers.

One of these capitol investors was Elias Jackson “Lucky” Baldwin (April 3, 1828 – March 1, 1909)  and known as was “one of the greatest pioneers” of California business, an investor, and real estate speculator during the second half of the 19th century.

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Raven ( Corvus corax )

The Raven ( Corvus corax ) is one of eight subspecies of Ravens distributed throughout the world. Also known as western or northern raven, this large black bird is a member of the Corvidae family of birds which also contains crows, jays and magpies. This bird is a rather large and features solid black feathers which offers a dramatic and ominous appearance.

Raven ( Corvus corax ) sitting on a coral fence at the Grand Canyon Western Ranch.
Raven ( Corvus corax ) sitting on a coral fence at the Grand Canyon Western Ranch.

The raven is a large bird, known to average 25 inches in length and 2.6 pounds in weight and heaviest of the passerine or perching birds. This species is renowned for its intelligence and commonly used to test animal problem solving ability. This species has a world wide distribution and can thrive in a large variety of climates. The bird is an opportunistic omnivore finding sources of nutrition, feeding on carrion insects, grains, berries, fruit, small animals, other birds, and food waste. The are common features around campgrounds for the food sources left by human activity.

The raven has a long history with man in culture, literature and superstition. Many Native American tribes cultures regard the bird as a trickster or a cosmic messenger. Edgar Allen Poe’s infamous poem forever linked this bird with ominous overtones and symbolism for in western culture. The National Football Team even has a football team named for this special mischievous bird.

Classification

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyCorvidae
GenusCorvus
Speciescorax

References

Oreana Nevada

Oreana Nevada is a milling town which was active from 1865 – 1885 in Pershing County Nevada and home to the Montezuma Smelting Works. The townsite is located on Interstate 80 / U.S. 95 about fourteen miles north east of Lovelock.

 Smelting Works. Oreana, Nevada. ca. 1857 by Timothy H. O'Sullivan - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Smelting Works. Oreana, Nevada. ca. 1857 by Timothy H. O’Sullivan – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

In 1865 a five stamp mill was relocated from Trinity and located on the eastern bank of the Humboldt River. This mill is used to process ore from the nearby Montezuma mine and the Arabia district.

In 1857 the Montezuma Smelting Works is built in Oreana, Nevada by the Trinity and Sacramento Company. The location of the smelting works is a bold choice for its Superintendent A. W. Nelson, who built the factory, which contained eight furnaces if a location with little fuel. The nearby mining districts of Arabia and the Trinity mining district were the primary source of ore to supply the plant with raw materials.

Montezuma Silver Works. Oreana, Nevada. ca 1857 by Timothy H. O'Sullivan - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Montezuma Silver Works. Oreana, Nevada. ca 1857 by Timothy H. O’Sullivan – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

A hotel, boarding houses, post office, restaurants, meat market and general store kept the citizens feed and houses. In addition to mining and smelting, a livery and blacksmith and kept them working. The Oreana Jockey Club kept them entertained by sponsoring horses races. So long as the mines produced ore, the smelters processed it 24 hours a day.

At the time, Oreana is the largest in the Humboldt Valley. This title would later be taken by Lovelock, Nevada. Despite its solid foundations, Oreana found itself in financial trouble. Debt and Taxes caused a shutdown in 1869. And again in 1871. Today not much remains to indicate a town.

Oreana Town Summary

NameOreana Nevada
LocationPershing County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude40.310833, -118.370556
GNIS
Elevation4160 Feet
Post OfficeFebruary 1867 – July 1869
February 1870 – September 1873
October 1873 – March 1883

Oreana Map

References

Darwin California

Darwin is a unincorporated community, gold mining town and ghost town located in Inyo County, California about 22 miles from Keeler. The town was named for Darwin French, who lead a party of prospectors into Death Valley in 1860 looking for the mythical gunsight lode. This prospecting eventually lead to the wash, canyon and town named in his honor.

The site which became Darwin was formed in 1874 following a discovery of lead and silver. The overall grwoth of the town was limited by its water supply which is piped from over eight miles away. This discovery coincided with near by Panamint, although the rush to Darwin was more muted. Darwin has a population of about 700 at this time.

The Coso Mining News published weekly from 1875 – 1878 by T.S. Harris. The newspaper closed in September 1878 and the publisher moved up north to Bodie. The moved of the newspaper is symptomatic and followed by many others including miners seeker greener pastures. The town of Darwin had a remaining population of about 250 people. Despite the plunging population the town still supported six saloons, four stores, three restaurants and a drug store. Between the years of 1874 and 1877 newspapers reported at least 80 murders.

Darwin is a rarity and survived its original boom. The town remained viable until World Was I, when larger mining operations could profit of lower yielding ores. A post office opened in 1875 and closed in 1902. Eventually, the post office reopened and remains open today.

The Darwin Store run by Reynolds and Etcharren Partners, 1906.  |  Photo: Courtesy of the Eastern California Museum.
The Darwin Store run by Reynolds and Etcharren Partners, 1906. | Photo: Courtesy of the Eastern California Museum.

Darwin Today

In 2011, a documentary called Darwin is available on Amazon Prime. The documentary is described, “Propelled from society by tragic turns, the isolated community of Darwin, Death Valley (population 35) must now find ways to coexist in a place without a government, a church, jobs, or children.” I did watch the documentary and found it interesting. However, its focus was on the people living there now and not much on the history.

Recently, Brent Underwood, owner of Cerro Gordo featured Darwin on his youtube channel. He was scrounging old boards from buildings in Darwin to help rebuild Cerro Gordo. I am not sure how I feel about damaging one old town to rebuild another…

Darwin Town Summary

NameDarwin, California
LocationInyo County, California
Latitude, Longitude36.268056 -117.591667
Elvation4,790 ft ( 1460 m )
GNIS241269
Population3500
Post OfficeOpen
NewspaperCoso Mining News ( Nov. 6, 1875 – Sept. 4, 1878 )

Darwin Town Map

Resources

Fort Churchill Nevada

Fort Churchill is a Civil War era United States Army Fort, Pony Express Station and overland stage stop located in Lyon County, Nevada just West of Buckland’s Station. The fort was commissioned to protect early settlers from the east from Indian attacks. The garrison was the largest, most elaborate fortification in the Nevada Territory at the time.

A lithograph drawing of Fort Chuchill, Nevada Territory created by Grafton Tyler Brown in 1862
A lithograph drawing of Fort Chuchill, Nevada Territory created by Grafton Tyler Brown in 1862

The discovery of gold in California caused a massive rush of people across the United States. Some of these early settlers came into the Nevada Territory and setup stage stops and mining operations. The arrival of settlers in their territory threatened the the Northern Paiute people. The increase populations of settlers increased the competition for local resources, such as game. These tensions, along with kidnapping and of rape of two young Paiute girls by prospectors from Williams Station erupted into Pyramid Lake War in 1860.

The U.S. Army fort was build along the Carson River and construction of Fort Churchill started on July 20, 1860. The base was named in honor of Sylvester Churchill who was the Inspector General of the Army. The fort is completed in early 1861 and home to some 200 soldiers charged with protecting settlers and mail routes. The post is abandoned in 1869.

On October 6, 1932, Nevada took control of the 200 acre fort and took steps to preserve the ruins as a state park.

Fort Churchill Map

References