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Mining History
Desert Fever - San Bernardino County:

Vanderbilt

At the same time that all of Blake's energy and money was being poured into the Eastern Mojave, the ephemeral but thriving town of Vanderbilt literally sprang up overnight. The gold at Vanderbilt was discovered by Bob Black, A Piute Indian, about 1890. However, he “had the usual experience of great discoverers and inventors, ...no one wanted to go with him and see the prospect.” Eventually, he interested M. M. Beatty, who had an Indian wife, a member of the same “family group” as Bob Black, and after whom Beatty, Nevada is named. It was Beatty who staked the first claim. 169

In 1892, Beatty was joined by Mr. Allen Green Campbell of Salt Lake City in developing the Boomerang Mine, and they had a 100 foot shaft sunk by the end of the year. Joe Taggart, George Hall and James Patton owned the Chippy and the Gold Bronze. That fall Campbell, Patton and Taggart announced that both groups would erect ten-stamp mills and not long after, a rich strike by Taggart sent people flocking to Vanderbilt. On March 18, after only ninety days had elapsed, the town had swelled to 200 men, with but 18 regularly employed. The camp was recorded as being located in a narrow wash “with about a dozen tents, consisting of one lodging house, three boarding houses, two saloons, one general merchandise store and a Chinese laundry.” There was also a Chinese restaurant. One of the saloons, the only two-story building, was run by Virgil Earp, the one-armed brother of Wyatt Earp. The general store was run by William McFarlane and housed the post office after it was established on February 1, 1893.170

In March, 1893, two transactions were made, although accounts are not consistent. It appears the Gold Bronze was bonded to William S. Lyle of Los Angeles, and John W. Mackay and J. L. Flood of San Francisco for $40,000. At the same time, the Gold Bar Mine was sold, and the California Mining and Development Company was incorporated by these three men, along with G. R. Wells and J. E. Walsh, for $10,000,000 to work the mines. 170

In April, William McFarlane was elected district recorder for a year. During this time, the township of Vanderbilt was formed with a justice of the peace and a constable and a newspaper named the Vanderbilt Shaft. By June, 1893, the town had gown to include “four saloons, three restaurants, four general merchandise stores, a lumberyard, lodging house, drugstore, butcher shop, post office, two doctor shops, and a population of over 400.” Mr. Will A. Nash ran a “Justice Shop besides.” 172

In January, 1894, Mr. Campbell's mill was moved from Utah.

Great excitement was stirred up when about January 12, a blast in the new Gold Bronze Mine opened a big cave of crystallized quartz, which ran up to 60 ounces per ton in free gold. By February, another ten-stamp mill had arrived for the Gold Bronze. Campbell's mill started up March 15, 1893, and the first day yielded a neat 25 ounce bar of gold. In March the Boomerang shaft was down to 260 feet, and the Gold Bar, also known as the St. George, was down to 250 feet and had hit water. Not just the big companies were at work, but the majority of the population was opening up holes all over the place. The Vanderbilt Mining and Milling Company, working the Gold Bronze, finally had their mill running about May, 1894, and the first of June announced they would devote half of the capacity of the mill to custom milling of ore, a break for the number of men simply digging holes. 173

In the meantime, beginning in May, Pat Flynn had been working 7 men on his Queen of the Night Mine. The Queen of the Night had a 75-foot shaft and a 180-foot shaft, and ore was raised from the shaft with a horse whim, sorted and shipped to eastern reduction works. Messrs. Marrs and Congdon and Mr. Ewing, had leases on the Chippy. 174

In the beginning of June, 1894, it was announced the Boomerang had hit water at 375 feet, the Gold Bronze had hit water in April at 280 feet, thus all three major mines in the district had hit water. In September, 1894, the Gold Bronze employed 25 men, and the Boomerang was down to 500 feet, working 3 eight-hour shifts a day. However, after hitting water, the character of the ore changed and, unable to recover the gold in the ore, the Gold Bronze mill shut down in 1895. Mr. Campbell leased the Gold Bar and was hauling the ore a mile to his mill on the Boomerang. Eventually, in 1895, the Boomerang reached a depth of 550 feet, but it shut down also. 175

In August, 1896, it was reported that Mr. Campbell had ordered heavy hoisting machinery to sink the Boomerang to 1,000 feet, with great hopes of riches below the water level, but it does not appear this scheme was ever carried out. In 1899 Campbell purchased the St. George (Gold Bar) Mine, and in mining it, uncovered a 10 foot wide vein. In June, 1899, he was taking out 20 tons a day, and was offered $300,000 for the property. 176

About a year later, a cyanide plant was being built by Karns and Eckins of Manvel (Barnwell) to work the tailings of the Campbell mill, of which there were 10,000 tons supposed to carry $6 in gold per ton. These operations were all part of a quiet, but substantial, revival of mining in and near Vanderbilt. In the 1900 census, there 329 people living in the Vanderbilt Township, 96 of which were miners. In 1902 there were an estimated 150 to 200 men in the camp. In December, 1902, the St. George and Gold Bronze were leased to the Federal Mining Company which was working 30 men. Mr. Campbell died in 1902, however, his estate continued to manage the property. 177

After laying idle for about 7 years, the Gold Bar and Gold Bronze mines at Vanderbilt were leased in 1909 by A. L. White and associates of Ohio. They put the ten-stamp Gold Bronze mill into shape, and it was again running in mid-July. 178

In July, 1910, Mr. C. C. Porter had put in a big cyanide plant and began treating some 7,000 tons that were in the ore dump at the Campbell Mine. He expected to gross about $5 a ton in gold. The next year, in April, a Mr. Sharp, with five others purchased the tailings from the Campbell mill and started treating them. These operations lasted off and on for much of 1911. In the first week of January, 1912, the Pomona Mining and Milling Company began installing a three-stamp mill at Vanderbilt. This company may be the same group represented by Mr. Sharp. By April it was reported they were mining at the Vanderbilt mines, and their mill was running. 179

In March, 1924, the Vanderbilt Mining Company had built new bunk and boarding houses and a completely equipped assay office at Vanderbilt. In addition, a 75-ton ball mill sat on the ground ready to be installed, and two shifts of men were employed sinking the main shaft. 180

In 1929, the property was again leased, and this company shipped about 800 tons of ore which averaged .7 ounce of gold and 3.5 ounces of silver per ton. Another company leased the property in 1934 and 1935 and, upon installing a twenty-five ton flotation plant, began shipping concentrates to the Garfield, Utah smelter. Smaller scale operations continued until 1942. 181

In 1965, Heavy Metals Corporation began drilling the property to determine the extent of the orebodies. Satisfied at their findings, they proceeded to erect a huge mill with a capacity of 500 tons a day. In production from 1969 to 1970 and during 1974 and 1975 about 100,000 tons of ore were treated in the mill from this mine. On February 24, 1978, Transcorp Coporation leased the property and is preparing to mine it. 182



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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