Old Dale, CA

The people who populated this remote mining region were tougher than a tortoise shell and twice as dusty. To describe some of these hard scrabble miners as rugged individualists is like describing the Coen brothers as a couple of kids with cameras.

The miners defined the term colorful character, some of whom would made a cholla cactus seem cuddly by comparison.

Little is left but a grave

By April 1896, Dale had two small mills and an arrastra to process ore, a general store, an assayer’s office, a blacksmith shop, a saloon and a house of ill repute.

No structures remain in any of the settlements today. Everything has been salvaged, stolen, vandalized or burned to nothing but ash piles and rusty nails. Roofless adobe walls have melted back into the sands from which they rose.

Blow sand that had covered the arrastra at Old Dale has recently been excavated. Contrary to being pleased by the amateur archeological work, Wharff is wary, concerned that the people who did the digging may return to unearth the stones, looking for any traces of stray gold that may be left below the rock floor of the historical structure.

found here in a Hi-Desert Star article by Jimmy Biggerstaff, “Tracking the ghosts of Old Dale,” Feb. 27, 2008.



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