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Mining History:
Desert Fever - San Bernardino County Mining History

Southeastern San Bernardino County

During its early history, the southeastern part of San Bernardino County was inseparably linked with the Colorado River. The early mines in the area were seldom more than a two days walk from this important transportation route. Soldiers stationed on the river are credited with the first discoveries in the Dead and Whipple Mountains, although it seems that they were not responsible for any serious mining.

There were flurries of activity in the 1860s and 1880s for copper and silver, but with the exception of the Ibex Gold Mine in the early 1890s, the most serious mining activity was for copper and gold early in this century. The centers of activity were the Whipple, North Sacramento and Turtle Mountains. There has been mining for manganese during both world wars. With the high price of gold, the Savahia Mining Company of Las Vegas in 1979 reopened the Savahia Mine in the Whipple Mountains, while ten million tons of copper ore, blocked out in the Copper Basin area, sit unmined.

Whipple Mountains

Within the Whipple Mountains area, the Chemehuevi District extended from opposite the Bill Williams River to the La Paz ferry and “from twenty to fifty miles” back from the ...

Copper Basin

Mining in Copper Basin is what sparked interest in the Whipple Mountains during this century. As was mentioned above, Pete McGuire is credited with some of ...

Savahia Peak Area

West of Copper Basin, probably one of the first mines to be developed was the American Eagle. A somewhat confusing account in 1905 linked McGuire to ...

Freeman District

North of the Whipple Mountains and south of the Irataba District was the Freeman Mining District. In October, 1863,...

Marengo District

In the same year of 1863 the Marengo District, to the south of the Freeman District, was described as follows: “This like the Freeman its neighbor, is without an occupant, save its ...

North Sacramento Mountains

In another part of the district, the Ibex Mine, 3 miles southwest of Ibex (Ibis) Siding, attracted a great deal of attention in the late 1880s. The quartz ore was reported to be ...


With the discovery in early 1906 of gold southwest of Needles by C. H. McClure, numerous prospectors began to flock to the area. In January or February,...

Turtle Mountains-Sunrise District

Perhaps as early as 1862, rich gold and copper deposits were being worked in the Turtle Mountains. While little is known about ...

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