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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:

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)

SNOW IN GOFFS! — LOOKING AHEAD TO 2015

January 2015. New Year’s Message from President Steve Mongrain.

2015-Goffs-Schoolhouse-Snow-Greeting31 December 2014. Wednesday. A storm came in yesterday evening. On the last morning of 2014 the ground was covered with about half an inch of snow. That is the first time in the 25 years the Casebiers have been in Goffs. Flurries in the air will occur once or twice most years, but this is the only time it has stuck on the ground. (Goffs Schoolhouse photo by Hugh Brown)

The Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association (MDHCA) enters 2015 financially sound, goal-oriented, and strengthened in volunteer support.

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Schoolhouse Centennial - 2014 saw the very successful celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Goffs Schoolhouse. Reaching this goal was a culmination of some fifteen months of planning and coordination. A big thank you to Board Member and Centennial Chair, Jacqueline Ridge.

*     *     *

Mojave National Preserve - The MDHCA also strengthened its relationship with National Park Service (NPS). Superintendent of the Mojave National Preserve, Stephanie Dubois, has been very supportive of our goals during her tenure, and it is with great reluctance that we witness her departure from NPS, but most certainly wish her well in her retirement.

*     *     *

Goffs Cultural Center - We launched the Memorial Brick program to assist in moving the GCC into perpetuity. We improved security to the grounds, worked within our budget, successfully ran the American Boy 10-stamp mill, oversaw a Cal Humanities grant, and produced a number of Goffsgrams. Our goals for 2015 include the continuing recruitment of oral history interviewees, the publication of at least one of the desert-related histories we have in works, and the continued organizing of the collections.

*     *     *

Mojave Desert Archives - 2015 will see the addition of two new residents to the population of Goffs. Long time MDHCA members, Chris and Leslie Ervin, will be moving to the GCC in the early part of the year. Chris has been an active member since 1988, has served as a director and president of the Board and was instrumental in acquiring the original funding and the actual building of the $1M Dennis G. Casebier Library.

Chris recently completed his master's degree in Archival Science and will become Archivist of the Mojave Desert Archives. Leslie manages our social media presence, does the set-up and artwork for the Mojave Road Report, and manages our mailing lists and membership. We could not accomplish what we do without the two of them and they will be most welcome additions.

Looking forward to a successful 2015, and thank you for your continued support.

Steve Mongrain, President

MOJAVE ROAD RENDEZVOUS 2014 and GOFFS SCHOOLHOUSE CENTENNIAL

November 2014. Thank you to our members for a special and memorable celebration.

2014 Rendezvous-Centennial
2014 Mojave Road Rendezvous and Goffs Schoolhouse Centennial. (Photos by A. Cohrs and C. Ervin)

On October 10-12, the MDHCA held its 35th annual Mojave Road Rendezvous and the 100th anniersary of the Goffs Schoolhouse at the Goffs Cultural Center.

The full story on the celebrations are detailed in the latest issue of the Mojave Road Report, #301. Also, an album of Rendezvous and Centennial photos is here.

GOFFS SCHOOLHOUSE CENTENNIAL

September 2014. The Goffs Schoolhouse Turns 100.

Goffs Schoolhouse Centennial
Join us Sunday, October 12 to celebrate the Schoolhouse Centennial

History, Fun, and Food for the whole family

Join us to step back in time and learn about life during the early 1900s at this unique one room desert schoolhouse in Goffs, California.

  • Visit the schoolhouse and see our collections of historical artifacts
  • Hear stories of life as a student in the 1930s from a former Goffs student
  • Watch TWO historic ore crushing stamp mills operate as they did in the heyday of mining in the Mojave Desert
  • Hear how the U. S. Army brought camels to the desert in the 1850s
  • Prizes to children for identifying historic "mystery" objects
  • Learn the games children played at the Goffs School in the 1900s
  • A special keepsake publication about the students, teachers, and events of the time collected from interviews and newspapers
  • Huge book sale, specializing in Western Americana
  • Lunch to be served from 12:00 - 1:00 (Donations appreciated)

Please phone (760-733-4482) or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. your reservation for lunch including the number in your party.

Goffs is located 30 miles NW of Needles, California, on historic Route 66. DIRECTIONS

Hosted by the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association.

THE MOJAVE PROJECT

June 2014. The MDHCA is a proud partner of The Mojave Project.

The Mojave Project
The Mojave Project Web Site

The Mojave Project is an experimental transmedia documentary by Kim Stringfellow exploring the physical, geological and cultural landscape of the Mojave Desert. The Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association and KCET Artbound are project partners.

The Mojave Project reconsiders and establishes multiple ways in which to interpret this unique and complex landscape, through association and connection of seemingly unrelated sites, themes, and subjects thus creating a speculative and immersive experience for its audience. It will explore the following themes:

  • Desert as Wasteland;
  • Geological Time vs. Human Time;
  • Sacrifice and Exploitation;
  • Danger and Consequence;
  • Space and Perception;
  • Mobility and Movement;
  • Desert as Staging Ground;
  • Transformation and Reinvention.

The expected launch of the completed project is 2017. Stay tuned.

SPRING ENCAMPMENT 2014

April 2014. What our volunteers were up to at our annual working weekend.

Debbie Miller-Marschke
Debbie Miller-Marschke adds new paint to a numbered signpost. (Photo by Scott Braley)

On April 11-13, the MDHCA held its 25th annual Spring Encampment at the Goffs Cultural Center.

The full story on the working weekend is detailed in the latest issue of the Mojave Road Report, #299. Also, an album of Encampment photos is here.

Do you have a great photo to add to the album? Add it to the Google+ Photos of Mojave Desert Archives. Be sure to "tag" it with "Mojave Desert Archives" so we see it. Or, just send your image to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we'll post it.

NEW BOOK – CLAUDE COMPTON, INDIAN TRADER

February 2014. The MDHCA is pleased to announce a new book:

Claude-Compton-Trading-Post-.80

  • Claude Compton, Indian Trader: Fort Mojave, Arizona 1899-1904

ClaudeCompton-143

Claude Compton, Indian Trader is a fascinating historical account of the activities and developments around the trading post at the Fort Mojave Indian School in Arizona Territory from 1899 to 1904.

Compton headed west at the age of 23 to find his fortune, eventually becoming the Post Trader and Post Master at Fort Mojave on the east bank of the Colorado River, just below today's Bullhead City. Rich in historical detail, the book contains over 70 early photographs and is illustrated with maps and drawings.

Free-lance writer and historian Jere Baker has written several works on early life in Arizona. Jere is a particular authority on this subject as Claude Compton is his grandfather. The publication is 132 pages long and is softbound. We are selling this book for $15.95.

Jere's books can be purchased from our online book store.