Chemung Mine

Located off the Masonic Road between Bridgeport, CA and the Masonic town site, are the remains of the Chemung gold mine.  The Chemung gold mine operated from from 1909 to 1938 and produced over one million dollars in gold.  In the 1920s, the Chemung mine was producing low grade and high grade ore.  The ore was processed onsite, and then shipped to near by Bodie for smelting.

The Chemung Mine located just outside of Bridgeport, CA. Photograph by James L Rathbun

The Chemung Mine located just outside of Bridgeport, CA. Photograph by James L Rathbun

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Rawhide, Nevada

Rawhide was a mining town located approximately 55 miles south of Fallon, and 22 miles down a dirt road south of highway 50.  The town was founded in 1906 when gold and silver deposits were discovered by prospector Jim Swanson in the hills surrounding Rawhide.  Charles  B. Holman and Charles “Scotty” A. McLeod soon join him and also found gold on nearby Holligan Hill.

Rawhide, Nevada - 1915

Rawhide, Nevada – 1915

Rawhide is an example of a town that existed on the promise and promotion of gold rather than the production of gold.    Fueled by rampant speculation the population swelled.  Rawhide boasts four churches, three banks, twelve hotels, twenty eight restaurants, thirty seven saloons, a theater and a school to support a population of 7,000 in 1908.  However, the over promise and under delivery of gold doomed the town, at its glory began to fade.

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Kokoweef Mine

The Kokoweef Mine and in fact all of the trails and mines located in the Ivanpah / Mountain Pass area represent exactly why I started Destination4x4.  My wife and I routinely drive between our home in Las Vegas, NV and Los Angeles, CA to visit family and friends.  One trip we decided to jump off the 15 and just investigate the Mountain Area off of Bailey Road.  After a few nice discoveries, we continued our drive home and that night I opened up Google Earth and started investigating the area.

Kokoweef Mine from below - 2015

Kokoweef Mine from below – 2015

One of my discoveries was Kokoweef.  Immediately upon exiting the I-15 at Baily road was a sign for Kokoweef.  Little did I realize that I had just walked into a legend of the “Kokoweef River of Gold”.  Obviously, I don’t think I have discovered anything, but rather learned more of the desert history which surrounds us all and seldom seen or learned about.

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Evening Star Mine, Mojave National Preserve

The Evening Star Mine first came to our attention in the winter of 2014, while researching the mining history of the Mountain Pass located in California near the border with Nevada.  On a whim, while driving home we did a little exploring in the Mountain Pass area just inside of the California border outside of Primm, Nevada.  We frequently drive past this area, marveling at the Wild Burro population, but just did not stop to investigate.  Our brief stop opened the flood gates as we “discovered” gold fish in a water trough.  After some investigation the mining districts of the Ivanpah mountains were exposed, at the Evening Star Mine is principal among them.

Evening Star Mine, Mojave, California - 2015 Photo by James L Rathbun

Evening Star Mine, Mojave, California – 2015 Photo by James L Rathbun

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Columbus first saw activity in the area in 1865 when a quartz mill was opened at what was considered a prefect location, due to the proximity with adequate water.  In 1871 borax was discovered and developed by William Troop.  Columbus peaked in 1875 when the site boast about 1,000 people, a newspaper “The Borax Miner”, post office, and businesses to support the population.  As with many such mining towns, the end came quickly when borax mining ceased in 1881.