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    Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association

MOJAVE ROAD DEEP RIVER CROSSING DETOUR

Spring 2019: Recommended Alternate Route for Afton Canyon River Crossing

Mojave River Deep Water Crossing in Afton Canyon 2019

April 19, 2019. Mojave River, Afton Canyon, Deep Water Crossing. [Photo By John Marnell]

From time to time the water level in two places along the Mojave Road within Afton Canyon has become deeper than some people are comfortable driving through. There have been reports of the water running as high as 30+ inches. These two crossings are described in the Mojave Road Guide as at miles 120.5 and 121.5 – a quarter mile south of the BLM Campground.

Coming from the east, you can follow the below directions thus avoiding these potential problem areas. Those driving the Mojave Road from west to east would simply reverse the instructions. The historical and cultural significance as well as the special beauty of Afton Canyon can be enjoyed but may require a bit of backtracking. A PDF of the road log is available for download here.

2019 Afton Canyon Alternate Route

A map of the above route is available for download here.

MDHCA Publishes Two Books

Thursday, February 14, 2019 by Larry Vredenburgh

Mojave Road 1863 Front Cover18Since September 2018, the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association has published two new books; The Mojave Road in 1863 edited by Jeff Lapides and Postcards from Mecca edited by Ann Japenga and Warner V. Graves III.

The book by Jeff Lapides, The Mojave Road in 1863: The Pioneering Photographs of Rudolph d’Heureuse, highlights photographs taken by d’Heureuse in 1863-1864 during his travels along the Mojave Road—from Drum Barracks at the Port of Los Angeles to the mines of Eldorado Canyon on the Colorado River. These are the first photographs of the Mojave Road and of the Mojave Desert. Also included are never-before-published maps drafted by d’Heureuse.

Contemporary newspaper accounts complement the images and maps. This large format, full color book was delivered by the printer in September 2018. Jeff has given several public presentations outlining d’Heureuse’s life since the book was published. You can find it in our online bookstore at: Mojave Road in 1863

Mecca cover2Ann Japenga and Warner V. Graves III, also bring us a wonderful collection of photos. Postcards From Mecca: The California Desert Photographs of Susie Keef Smith and Lula Mae Graves, 1916-1936.

Susie Keef Smith, who was the postmaster in Mecca, California, with her cousin Lula Mae Graves, set out during the 1920s and 30s, to photograph the last of the prospectors, burro packers and stage stops in the desert east of Mecca. Susie sold their photos as postcards from the Mecca post office. Besides the photos, there are chapters authored by Robert B. Smith, Ronald V. May, Steve Lech, Russell L. Kaldenberg, Buford A. Crites, Warner V. Graves III, and Ann Japenga. The photos are on display at the La Quinta Museum, 77885 Avenida Montezuma, La Quinta, until May 11, 2019. The book has been highlighted in these online articles:

These Adventurous Women Photographed the California Desert in the 1920s

Postcards From Mecca: How to Save a Desert Artist

Into the Chuckwallas: Rediscovered Desert Photographs of Susie Keef Smith and Lula Mae Graves

Call of the Wild

Postcards from Mecca website

Postcards from Mecca arrived from the printer in January. You can find it in our online bookstore.

For the love of history -
Our third Crush(er) is resurrected!

Sunday, April 22, 2017 VOLUNTEERING AROUND GOFFS. NOT JUST A JOB, IT'S AN ADVENTURE

Gibson Gyratory Crusher
The Gibson Gyratory Crusher demonstrated for the first time by Charlie Connell on April 22, 2017.

Mining minerals from the earth is a labor-intensive endeavor, and the Mojave Desert has a rich past of tenacious wealth-seekers; some of them succeeded, but most of them were not anything more than “prospectors”.  Extracting riches from the earth involves much more than simply digging a hole, you have to have a way to reduce large rocks into smaller rocks. Smaller rocks, in turn, need to be crushed and refined from ore into dust or powder before the precious metals can be separated from the rubbish. In order for mining to be a profitable endeavor, the work needs to be done more efficiently than by using simple hand tools; thus, many kinds and styles of rock crushers have been invented for this purpose throughout history.  As part of the ongoing mission of MDHCA, we have not only preserved some examples of authentic rock crushing machinery that were used locally by miners, but we have succeeded in restoring them into working order so that they can be run and demonstrated.  This has been achieved by and through the hard work and determination of our volunteers.

Our newest success was the restoration of the Gibson Gyratory Crusher. This crusher was formerly located at the Golden Queen Mine in the Soledad Mountain area (Mojave Desert) , California vicinity where it languished until it was purchased by the MDHCA in 1999.  Member Bill Fullerton, along with a crew of volunteers, recovered and relocated the Gibson Gyratory Crusher to the MDHCA at Goffs, where it remained as a static display until recently.  It was decided to try and bring the crusher back into operational conditions in 2016 by Charlie Connell and his dedicated crew. Connell’s crew did successfully restore the Stott’s Stamp Mill (two stamps)  and The American Boy Stamp Mill (ten stamps), both of which have cam-shafts and tappets that pound ore like a hammer. The Gibson Gyratory Crusher is a smaller scale machine which operates simply by rotating a huge metal pestle. To the knowledge of the MDHCA, there are no Gibson Gyratory Crushers that are still operating or functional.  The Gibson was evaluated and scrutinized to find out if the present condition of the mill had adequate structural integrity and to identify any missing parts.  The Gibson did not come with the benefit of any written instructions, so one of the first tasks for the crew was to seek out resources and self-educate themselves by studying the actual patent documents.   It was determined that there were some parts missing from the machinery, but the device would still function as designed whether the parts were replaced or not.  The wooden structure that anchored the Gibson was fortified with additional timbers for strengthening. All of the bolts were tightened up until the mill structure was rigid and stable.  Finally, the crew needed to set up a device that could catch the concentrated fine material as it was washed out of the crusher. A replicated sluice table was fabricated and mounted on the front of the crusher, and the crusher was at last ready for a working demonstration.

After over 80 years of inactivity, Charlie Connell and his crew ran water through the mill and crushed our first ore on Saturday, April 22, 2017. We are proud of this monumental accomplishment, as we do not know of any other operating gyratory crusher in the USA.


To learn more about this project, visit this link

MOJAVE ROAD DETOUR OVER PIUTE RANGE

3 August 2018: Mojave National Preserve announced the Mojave Road Between Piute and Lanfair Valleys through the Piute Range has been repaired and reopened.

25 April 2016. From the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association

Leiser Ray Detour Map

Map of 14.2 mile detour around Mojave Road closure. Click image to download. [Chris S. Ervin 2016]

As of April 19, 2016, the National Park Service has closed the Mojave Road between Mile 27.0 and 30.5 in the Mojave National Preserve. This closure is due to a washout on the old underground telephone cable road connecting Piute Valley with Lanfair Valley. No date has been set for completion of repairs to the road.

The National Park Service recommends a 29-mile bypass on their Web page. We, the publishers of the official Mojave Road Guide have developed an alternate 14.2-mile detour for Mojave Road travelers who would prefer a shorter, more historic and scenic route. A PDF with a map and road log is available for download here.

SPRING IN The MOJAVE 2016

March 2016. Thanks to some well-timed rainfall, the East Mojave is experiencing a beautiful spring.

2016 Spring Mojave Yucca 540Mojave Yucca blooming in front of the Goffs Schoolhouse. Click image for more (Photos by Chris and Leslie Ervin)

At the end of March we had a local "superbloom" of wildflowers just down the road from the Goffs Schoolhouse (click on attached photo). In addition to the very obvious yellow brittle bush everywhere, we identified another dozen or so desert plants blooming.

Click here or on the photo for an album of East Mojave spring 2016 photos.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY —  2015

July 2015. From the Mojave Desert Archives

Flag on the Depot 7-4-2015

The Dennis G. Casebier Library was built in 2008 in the image of the Goffs Santa Fe Railway depot (1900-1956) with funding from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) and the membership of the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association. This wonderful repository houses the research collections of the Mojave Desert Archives. (Photo: Leslie Ervin)