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Mining History: Desert Fever

Kern County: El Paso Mountains

COALDALE (1894-1898)

The El Paso Mountains are also the scene of one of Kern County's few coal boom towns. Coaldale was a small settlement of about 75 men situated 2 miles south of Black Mountain in Colorado Gulch. The coal camp sprang up in 1894. The quality of coal was poor, which led to the rapid decline of the camp. Coaldale apparently died during the rush to Randsburg in the early summer of 1895, but not due to any depletion of mineral values. Just 5 miles away, Randsburg was booming and the men employed by the coal company found it more attractive to dig for the yellow metal.

An electric power plant was originally planned to provide Coaldale with electricity. Poles were placed to hold the line but the enterprise never became a reality. The steam boiler never arrived in Garlock due to an unpaid freight bull. The total coal production for the mines in this area, flow known as the Colorado group, is unknown, but 220 tons of coal, worth slightly more than $1,000 was reported in Kern County production figures for 1898 and probably came from Coaldale mines.15



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