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Settlement Begins Near Mecham's Road

Picture of the Verde Ranch / Kemper-Campbell Ranch, 2011, south of Narrows, North of Mojave River Narrows Park
Sometime between 1868 and 1870, John Jacob Atkinson built a structure located where Mecham's road crossed the river approximately at what is now Sixth and "D" Streets. The structure definitely was there prior to September 26, 1870, because it appears in a legal description written by J. L. Mathews, who filed a claim on adjacent property on that date.

Also on September 26th, two other claims were filed northwest of Mathews’, one by A. F. (Frank) McKenney and the second by Jesse W. Taylor. The reason for this interest in land along Mecham’s road was that the stage line had begun using the new shorter route.

McKenney and Taylor formed a partnership and combined their property, located about one-quarter mile downstream from where today’s I-15 freeway crosses the Mojave River. The place occasionally was called McKenney and Taylor's Ranch, but the name McKenney's Station was the most popular and it was referred to as such in most of the records of the time, probably because McKenney was the partner who resided there.

In that same month of September, Joseph Brown, who went into partnership with his brother James, filed on 160 acres of land about two and one-half miles upstream of the new crossing. This was adjacent to the 480 acres a third brother, John Brown, Jr., had purchased the year before. These two properties included the land on which Spring Valley Lake is now situated, James and Joseph's encompassing the north portion of the lake, and John's the south.

The Brown family increased their holdings over the course of time to include property extending to the vicinity of the upper narrows on the north, and Bear Valley Road on the south. The spread was known as the Brown Ranch during the family’s ownership. It later became the Verde Ranch, and eventually, the Kemper Campbell Ranch, which today is a well-known landmark.

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ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - map/sat - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - book store
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