Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Lively Ghost Town

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

Randsburg, a small town on the western edge of the Mojave Desert, hangs on the side of a mountain and is sometimes described as a living ghost town. Like Jerome, Arizona, it retains most of its old west, mining town character while holding on to life. There are shops open on weekends and the General Store, along with a bar called The Joint, stay open on weekdays.

Randsburg is one of a trio of towns that were part of the mining district in the Rand Mountains of Kern County. Gold was first discovered in the area in 1896 and, just as the gold was becoming more scarce, miners discovered silver and tungsten. The mining continues to this day with several mines still producing.

A small amount of tourism contributes to the economy of Randsburg. (I have yet to visit on a weekend when the antique stores and the museum are open.) Many residents still prospect; others work in mining operations nearby. The Rand Mining Company, as well as the Twenty Mule Team Borax Mine in Boron, employ their share of Randsburg residents, while some folks commute to the nearby salt flats, for example.

There is enough to see in town to motivate several trips. However, it is not looking good for my return until after summer is done. June is another surgery month for me, then by July and August no one in their right mind will want to be that close to the Mojave Desert. At least not in my humble opinion.


  1. All the money that was made from the mines probably went to build skyscrapers in New York and Chicago. But there is a certain picturesque beauty to these towns that makes one want to take a look. This is a very nice photo, Anita, full of the type of charm we don't see in this part of the country. I don't know if I would want to live there, but it's beautiful country.

  2. Ken - Thanks for the comment. I think I read somewhere that the three guys who first found gold did extremely well, but it is safe to bet that investors made hay off the area. I am attracted to these places with all their history; but, like you, I wouldn't care to live in this one. The scenery is indeed grand and I never tire of it. Still, Bear Valley Springs is about as far out in the boondocks as I care to hang my hat.

  3. Anita, this scenery is grand but in a rugged unassuming way -- perhaps the beauty in the simple act of survival. I was a fan of all the classic TV Westerns growing up so there is a soft spot in my heart for places such as this. Your lovely photo captures the landscape well. I love the look of the flats and mountains beyond the town.

    My thoughts and prayers for your surgery this month. What's so amazing with this Internet and blogging business is over time sharing common interest and personal accounts you develop friends in far places.

  4. No Country for Old Men.

    Very nice image that gives the for the place. We have wondered around Boron, never made it to Randsburg. . The locals must be a hearty bunch.

  5. Earl - Yes, that is what comes up for me in these places. I am awed by the strength and determination of the people who clawed out a living in these desolate areas. These people weren't soft.

    I wasn't much of a tv watcher, so I missed those old classics. But, I am a big fan of western movies. By the way, AMC has a new western series starting up this fall called "Hell on Wheels". The trailer gives one hope for some outstanding cinematography.

    Thank you for your kind thoughts. The surgery is a minor one, but because it is on my right hand (dominant one), it makes me anxious. I never would have imagined that I would become so attached to friendships with people I have never met. What a lovely surprise.

  6. Steve - You summed it up perfectly with that first sentence.

    I think you would get a kick out of Randsburg. And, yes, I think the locals are indeed "a hearty bunch". Maybe next time you are over this way you will check out Randsburg and let me know you are in the area. We aren't so far away.

    Thanks for the thoughts on the photo.

  7. Oh, this must be a wonderful place to visit. I looked closer at this photo and the other lovely ones you made, and the place truly seems to be a treat for a photographer. I just love old wood and rusty mechanics. :-)

  8. Ove - You are so right—"a treat for a photographer." If I were a strong and vigorous photographer, I would likely be found in Randsburg every few weeks—at least for a while. There were more riches of weathered wood and metal than I could digest on that first visit. You would have a wonderful time there.

    Thanks for your comment.


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