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Names in History
Pete AguereberryDeath Valley prospector/miner.
Pete Aguereberry was born in 1874 into a Basque family in France. At an early age he read about the wonderful gold discoveries in California and begged his father to let him come to the United States. When he turned 16 his father relented, and Pete sailed for America in 1890.
For the next several years he struggled to learn the language while taking on a number of jobs. He worked as a handball player, sheepherder, cattle driver, milk truck driver, ice delivery man, ranch hand and stage driver until he wound up in Goldfield around 1902.
He came out to this area in 1905, and in June of that year he almost died trying to cross Death Valley in summer heat. He was found and nursed back to health by Oscar Denton, the caretaker for the Greenland Ranch, and just a month later was headed up to Ballarat with Shorty Harris. Along their journey Pete found a ledge that looked promising, and indeed it contained free gold. Pete filed claims for himself on the north side of the hill while Shorty took claims on the south side.
By August, at least 20 parties were working in the area and samples of the gold were assayed as high as $500 a ton. Three hundred men and women settled into the camp which became known as Harrisburg. Originally Pete and Shorty had agreed to call it Harrisberry, but Shorty changed the name in telling the story about it. Water was brought in from Emigrant Spring, Blackwater Spring and Wild Rose Spring.
By 1907 the Eureka mine was tied up in a litigation battle that ended in 1909 when Pete got control of the claims. Pete worked at the mine from 1907 until the early 1930ís when his health was failing him. Except for some help from his nephew in his later years, the Eureka mine was built and worked by Pete alone. Pete died on Nov. 23, 1945 and he is buried in Lone Pine, California.
To reach the area where Pete Aguereberry lived and worked for over 40 years, take Hwy. 190 past Stovepipe Wells and up Emigrant Campground. Turn left following the signs to Wildrose. In about 10 miles there will be a turn off for Aguereberry Point. When you turn here you will come to the Aguereberry camp a mile down the road. At Aguereberry camp you will find Peteís original cabin built in 1907. It is a two room structure containing a gas stove and refrigerator. Pete lived here from 1907 until his death in 1945. The middle cabin was built in 1941 as a guest house and the cabin to the left was built around 1946 for an unknown reason.
Around the corner is the site of the Eureka gold mine. The tunnels have all been stabilized with netting and are safe to enter but you will need a flashlight. In the winter the mine is closed with a bat gate due to hibernating Townsend's long eared bats. The mine opens again in spring.
In his later years Pete would take visitors on a tour of his mine and what he called "The Great View" of Death Valley. If you follow the road further on, you will reach this view. It was later named Aguereberry Point in honor of Pete.
source - NPS
Pete Aguereberry emigrated from the Basque region of France at the age of 16 in 1890, with the goal of experiencing the California gold region. Beginning in 1905, he prospected in the Death Valley region, where he and Shorty Harris made the gold discovery that led to the Harrisburg camp. From 1907 to the 1930s, Aguereberry worked the Eureka Mine, almost single-handedly. Aguereberry died in 1945 and is buried at Lone Pine. His cabin at the Eureka Mine, built in 1907, remains standing; the cabin and the Eureka Mine are interpreted by the U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service. He is representative of the many prospectors who, arriving decades after the Gold Rush, explored the California deserts, making a few notable discoveries and working small-scale mines as a source of income.
Mining in the Southern California Deserts: Swope and Gregory
Aguereberry CampOld-time prospector Shorty Harris and greenhorn Pete Aguereberry found a promising looking ledge in the Panamint Mountains. Pete stayed behind and started ...
Aguereberry PointIt is easy to see why Pete Aguereberry enjoyed sharing this spectacular view with others. From this point in the Panamint Mountains on the west side of ...
Shorty HarrisOld-time prospector Shorty Harris and greenhorn Pete Aguereberry found a promising looking ledge in the Panamint Mountains. Pete stayed behind and started . ...
Roads in Death Valley21.5 mile paved road. RVs, trailers, and buses over 25 ft. not allowed due to narrow canyon and roadway. Provides access to Skidoo, Aguereberry Point, and ...
Death Valley EcologyThere is temporary ponding on playas, or dry lake beds. < previous - Mojave Desert - next >, Looking east across Death Valley from Aguereberry Point in the ...
Timeline of History of the Mojave Desert1893 C. Hart Merriam conducts a biological study of Death Valley 1905 - Pete Aguereberry and Shorty Harris discover what turns out to be the Eureka mine.
Jack KeaneMining in Death Valley, Prospectors & Miners Pete Aguereberry ∑ Shorty Harris ∑ Jack Keane ∑ Johnny Lang Sunrise on Clark Mountain across the Ivanpah Valley ...
Death Valley PhotosAguereberry Camp. 40 year residence of Pete Aquereberry. Aguereberry Point. Scenic views from above Death Valley in Panamint Mountains.
Eureka Mine - Death ValleyPete Aguereberry nearly died trying to cross Death Valley in June 1905. He was found and nursed back to health and lived to work his claim in the Eureka Mine ...
Scenic view points in and around the Mojave DesertDesert Scenic Views & Vistas. Aguereberry Point ∑ Death Valley - North Mojave ∑ Dante's View ∑ Death Valley - North Mojave ∑ Padre Crowley Point ∑ Death Valley ...
Prospectors in the MojaveMining in Death Valley, Prospectors & Miners Pete Aguereberry ∑ Shorty Harris ∑ Jack Keane ∑ Johnny Lang Sunrise on Clark Mountain across the Ivanpah Valley ...
Ballarat Ghost TownPete Aguereberry. He was found and nursed back to health by Oscar Denton, the caretaker for the Greenland Ranch, and just a month later was headed up to ...
Death Valley Ghost TownsNevertheless, Pete Aguereberry, one of the original strike finders, spent 40 years working his claims in the Eureka gold mine. Harrisburg was a tent city that grew ...
Aguereberry Point Area GeologyEn route from the pavement, you will travel over Quaternary gravels, past outcrops of the Mesozoic Skidoo granite and then through upper Proterozoic sediments of ...
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