Potholes California – Colorado River Steamship Landing

Potholes California is a former gold mining camp and ghost town located in Imperial County, California. The town is located on the western side of the Colorado River near the present day Laguna Dam. The location was first mined by Spanish Miners in 1871. These early workings and miners were lost during the Yuma War, 1850 – 1853.

Potholes California

From 1852 through 1909, Colorado Steamships ferried people and supplies up and down the Colorado River to mining camps and outposts. Following the discovery of gold in California, westward expansion of the United States was on the mind of most people seeking their fortune of livelihood. Wagon trains, horses and trains all brought people deep into the new county seeking their fortune. Lesser known is the role of the steamships, which brought supplies and people up the Colorado River from Baja California to the Green River in Wyoming.

There has been some little excitement in this part of the, country, caused by the discovery of new gold fields on the Rio Colorado, some fifteen miles above Fort Yuma, on the California side. I have just returned from the diggings, and find, after a careful examination of three days, that gold exists there in paying quantities, for many miles on both sides of the river. While at the newly discovered diggings, a considerable quantity of the oro has been taken out, considering the short time- they have been worked. From the claim of Messrs. Crandell & Co., $200 per day have been dug daily for the past six days. The manner of working is the same at at Jila city, heretofore described. The earth must be carried on the back a distance of one mile, and washed in a cradle. It is said that the total amount of the gold taken from Crandell & Co ‘s claim is about $4,000. – They have now constructed a cart-road from the mine to the river, and hereafter will be able to work at better advantage. Several other claims in the vicinity are paying from $10 to $16 per day; but most of the claims — for a good manner have been located — will not pay more than $2 per day to the hand, by the present process of working. If water could be obtained and sluice* used, from $40 to $100 per day might be washed. [We had news of these diggings in oar San Diego correspondence, published this morning, and the corroborating testimony of .our Fort Yuma correspondent is of much value, as confirmatory of the reports from San Diego. — Eds. Alta.]

I think, however, that the Gila mines are much more valuable, or will yield much more gold than these new diggings on the Colorado. Th« former have the advantage of being easily supplied with water, works for that purpose being now in progress.

Mining operations resumed again in 1859 with the rediscovery of gold. Placier mining operations proved successful in the 19th century. A steamship landing was established to ferry people and supplies to the location 15 miles up river from Yuma, Arizona.

The town of Potholes California was established during the building of the All American Canal and Laguna Dam.

Daily Alta California, Volume XI, Number 42, 12 February 1859

Town Summary

NamePotholes, California
LocationImperial County, California
Latitude, Longitude32.8289329, -114.5046713
Elevation160 feet
Post Office1905 – 1909, 1920 – 1922

Potholes California Map


One Reply to “Potholes California – Colorado River Steamship Landing”

  1. Pingback: Colorado Steamships - Opening the Desert Southwest - Destination4x4

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