Goldome Mill

The heavily vandalized Goldome Mill outside of Ivanpah, California
The heavily vandalized Goldome Mill outside of Ivanpah, California

The Goldome Mill is an abandoned modern mill site in the New York mountains of San Bernardino, California just off of the Ivanpah Road. The site was abandoned in the 1998 following the formation of the Mojave National Preserve by the California Desert Protection Act in 1994 and has slowly fallen into a state of decay. The mill site is currently classified as a Superfund Site by the Environmental Protection Agency which means that the site is known to contain hazardous waste which is improperly contained.

The mill was named Goldome, meaning “an abnormal growth of gold” out of an optimism as to the fortunes of those who invested in this venture. The construction of the site is very modern and industrial in appearance. All of the buildings are of metal construction and probably built during the late 1970s or early 1980s. All of the milling equipment, such as the trommel and sluice boxes appear to silently rest in state. This site was likely the mill site of choice for near by mines of its era, such as the Morning Start Mine or the

A gra

In 2017, political vandals posing as “street artists” decided on their own to deface the site as part of their environmental message and forever changed the face of this site. The mill at Goldmine is heavily vandalized and at the time of our visit during the riots following the murder of George Floyd gave the site an uneasy felling. It is not too far a reach to understand that they vandals who defaced this site could be burning our cities down.

At the Goldome Mill, the work of vandals is undone by the harsh Mojave Desert.
At the Goldome Mill, the work of vandals is undone by the harsh Mojave Desert.

During our visit to the site, a large swam of bees built a hive in the main building. This prevented me from entering and exploring further, however, I will return to do so, at some point.

Goldome Mill Map

icon-car.pngFullscreen-Logo
Goldome Mill

loading map - please wait...

Goldome Mill 35.329586, -115.262246

Additional Reading

Vanderbilt California

A metal headframe marks a vertical shaft in the mining district outside of Vanderbilt California.
A metal headframe marks a vertical shaft in the mining district outside of Vanderbilt California.

Located in the New York Mountains, Vanderbilt California was an short lived gold mining town which lasted just a few short years, from 1891 to 1895. The mining district is found in the northeastern section of San Bernardino County, right at the California and Nevada Border and almost within sight of Primm, Nevada.

Gold was discovered in the New York Mountains, in January 1891 by a Piute Indian named Robert Black. Soon after, the news of the strike traveled quickly and there were several mines in operation, including the Gold Bronze, the Sagmore and the Boomerang. The district was named for the the Vanderbilt Family, in the hopes the gold strike would prove as rich as the Vanderbilt Fortune. A small camp was built to support the operation and with additional gold veins found in the fall of 1892, word got out and the rush started.

Two years later, in 1893, the small mining camp has attracted 150 people and boasted two stores, one saloon, three restaurants, stable, lodging house, a blacksmith shop and about 50 tents. The post office was added in February of 1893 and a Justice of the Peace, W. A. Nash was appointed. A weekly newspaper, the Shaft was soon published. A railway line and water works were planned, but never completed.

A population of about 400 was found in the small town in 1894. In addition of adding more buildings and saw more saloons and businesses followed to service the town. Two ten-stamp mills were constructed at the two large mine sites, however the service was short lived. Almost as soon as the mills were built, the mines struck water and the ore changed and made it such that the mines could not recover gold. The town died with the gold production in 1895. 1895 also saw work on the railroad to Vanderbilt ceased. The school closed in 1898 and the Post office closed in 1910.

Perhaps the towns biggest modern claim to fame was one of its famous citizens. Virgil Earp, older brother of Wyatt Earp and survivor of the infamous gunfight at the O. K. Coral, owned and operated a two story building which was served as saloon and hotel in the small town of Vanderbilt. It should be known that there were a lot of Earp Brothers, and there was a lot of migration during this period as populations moved quickly from town to town looking for fortune and opportunity.

Virgil Earp 1843 -1905
Virgil Earp 1843 -1905
icon-car.pngFullscreen-Logo
Vanderbilt, California

loading map - please wait...

Vanderbilt, California 35.330500, -115.251000

Further Reading

Desert Fever – An overview of Mining History of the California Desert Conservation Area

The Historical Mining Towns of the Eastern Mojave Desert

Morning Star Mine

Located in the Ivanpah Mountains, the Morning Star Mine is a gold / silver mine located near to California / Nevada border near Mountain Pass. The mining district enjoys amazing views and lots of wild life and wild flowers during the spring of each year, which are easily accessible from a grade dirt road. Numerous lower traffic side trails will allow access of other places to explore.

A remote side road leading a old mine site in the Ivanpah Mountains near the Morning Star Mine.
A remote side road leading a old mine site in the Ivanpah Mountains near the Morning Star Mine.

The location was first worked in 1907 and was known as the Clansman mine. Operations were initially quite small and in 1931 only two miners were on location. In 1937 the owner J. B. Mighton and Brown optioned the property to Richard Malik, who worked the location significantly until 1938.

The Morning Star Mine Cutoff Road.
The Morning Star Mine Cutoff Road.

Erle P. Halliburton worked the mine with ten men, starting in April of 1939. Halliburton known today, as the founder of his name sake company, Halliburton Oil. Mr. Halliburton made his fortune in Duncan Oklahoma where he borrowed a wagon, a team of mules and a pump, he built a wooden mixing box and started an oil well cementing business. The Halliburton efforts at this site where forced closed in 1942 by the War Productions Board order to close gold mining for the war effort.

Erle P Hallibuton 1940 - SMU Central University Libraries @ Flickr CommonsSouthern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library
Erle P Hallibuton 1940 – SMU Central University Libraries @ Flickr CommonsSouthern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library

Following Halliburton’s death in 1957, the property was acquired by the Vanderbilt Gold Corporation in 1964, where upon the location was drilled and sampled. Fifteen years later, in 1979 the company finally complete a capital raise the in Morning Star mine was again on operation as an underground mine utilizing trackless mining equipment and the ore processed in nearby Vanderbilt, California. Due to the time period, this was probably the Goldome Mill and not within the town of Vanderbilt.

The modern Morning Star Mine site is not much to look at and a locked gate prevents access.
The modern Morning Star Mine site is not much to look at and a locked gate prevents access.

After just three years of operations, mining operations were again halted in 1983, due to the dropping price of Gold, however underground explorations continued with long hole drilling and testing. From 1984 – 1993 saw increased gold and silver production to the amount of about 75,000 tons per month. Water supply problems plagued the operation, however, with the price of gold between $350 and $500 per once the Vanderbilt operation made a return.

A vertical mine shaft is protected by a metal grate.
A vertical mine shaft is protected by a metal grate nearby the Morning Star Mine.

The mine was finally closed in 1993 after the gold prices dropped and several environmental violations and animal deaths caused by cyanide poisoning. With the creation of the Mojave Nation Preserve in 1994 from the California Desert Protection act, the NPS inherited an environmental problem and it slowly continues to clean up the site. At this point, access to the location is blocked with a locked gate. It was noted that several building and a milling foundations remain from this relatively modern mining endeavor.

A horizontal shaft in the Ivanpah Mountains.
A horizontal shaft in the Ivanpah Mountains.

Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva)

Blown by wind, and ravaged by time, the Bristlecone pine tree is a silent sentinel of the White Mountains in eastern central California.  Only growing high in subapline mountains, Bristlecone pine trees are among the oldest living organisms, reaching ages of 5000 years old, with on specimen being documented at 5,067 years old by Tom Harlan who aged the tree by ring count.  That calculation confirms this one individual tree to be the oldest living non-clonal organism on the planet.

A Bristlecone Pine (not the oldest) located in the White Mountains, CA
A Bristlecone Pine (not the oldest) located in the White Mountains, CA

The Bristlecone pine groves are found between 5,600 and 11,200 ft of elevation on mountain slopes with dolomitic coils and can be reached using the White Mountain Road.  This harsh alkaline soil gives the Bristlecone a competitive advantage because over plants and tree are unable to grow.  The trees grow very slowly due cold temperatures, arid soil, wind and short growing seasons.

Continue Reading →

Gold Mountain 3N69

The Gold Mountain 3N69 Trail can be found in the San Bernardino National Forest near Big Bear Lake. The favored direction of travel is from South to North starting on Hwy 18 near Baldwin Lake. Starting immediately from the trail head, the trail climbs steeply up the mountain via a series of switch backs. Amazing views offer those who choose to drive this trail.

The trail is available to street legal vehicles only.

Continue Reading →