Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert
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Mining History: Desert Fever

San Bernardino County: Baker Area

Stone Hammer Mine

The Baker area is not only the site of the oldest mine worked by Anglos in the California Desert, it may be the site of the oldest mine worked in the desert by anyone. With the exception of quarries used by Indians to obtain obsidian or other materials for tools and weapons, the turquoise mines north of Halloran Springs are among the few, and may be the only confirmed California Desert mines worked in prehistoric times. These mines were rediscovered in 1897, and ‘two aboriginal stone hammers were met with, as is usual at all the turquoise localities in the southwest and from this circumstance the location was named Stone Hammer Mine. 1

Two companies, known as the Himalaya Mining Company and the Toltec Mining Company set to work on the property. The Himalaya Company sank a well and erected bunkhouses, working until March 1903. In the beginning of that year, 6 men were working. The Toltec Company operations were spread across 6 miles of desert and centered at 3 camps known as East Camp, Middle Camp and West Camp. They found it necessary to haul water a mile to the nearest camp. Stone hammers were found at a depth of 18 feet in their operations. Most of the turquoise from the operations was sent to New York. In 1900, it was estimated $28,000 worth of turquoise was shipped. Both companies' operations have been idle since 1903, and today this is a favorite collecting locality for rock hounds. 2



ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - glossary
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - comments

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