Mojave Desert History: Pioneer of the Mojave
DESERT LAND AT BARGAIN RATES
Lane had moved to the Mojave at a time when desert land was being offered by the government at very low prices. In the spring of 1858, it had been announced that on instructions of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, there was to be a sale of public land in the San Bernardino area, including thousands of acres on the desert.
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Despite the fact that the sale included some very desirable farmland, not one bid was received by the government, and not one person showed up for the auction. The problem apparently stemmed from a lack of maps. Prospective buyers had gone to the Land Office to determine which properties were being offered, but without maps they were unable to do so and they left in disgust.
Word was then leaked that land could now be obtained at bargain rates by "enterprising individuals." Without doubt, Lane fit that description, and since the San Bernardino valley climate did not suit him, he used the opportunity to lay claim to property at the upper crossing in Sections 30 and 31, Township 6 North, Range 4 West, San Bernardino Meridian. He also probably took advantage of the "swamp and overflowed land" act of California, which allowed settlers to purchase land on a credit of five years.
1863 D'Heureuse photo, courtesy Bancroft Library
THE ORIGINAL STRUCTURES BUILT AT LANE'S CROSSING IN 1858