January 2014. New Year’s Message from the Executive Director.
(East Mojave Indian Paintbrush by Chris Ervin)
Here it is the end of another year. We’ve had our ups and downs, but all in all, it has been a good year. Major accomplishments of the MDHCA include:
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American Boy Stamp Mill Thanks to the leadership, expertise, and hard work of Charlie Connell, the volunteers he has recruited, and the generosity of board member John Fickewirth, we have made major progress on the American Boy Ten-Stamp Mill during 2013. To the delight of all who were at Goffs, the mill was operated during the recent Mojave Road Rendezvous. Our goal for 2014 is to have this huge artifact fully on line and functioning by the time of the Spring Encampment in April. We plan to have a dedication ceremony for the mill at that time.
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Mojave Road During the year the MDHCA entered into an agreement with the National Park Service, Mojave National Preserve, to periodically patrol the Mojave Road to pick up trash and provide for early detection of any emerging problems. The terms of our agreement with NPS MNP are such that we can do these monitoring trips up to four times a year. These trips will be under the oversight of Dennis Casebier.
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Mojave Desert Archives Major progress has been made during the year organizing the collections of the Mojave Desert Archives. Our single most extensive collection is that of Harold and Lucile Weight. Much progress has been made by Loris Mitchell organizing materials and constructing finding aids. Other volunteers have put in many hours re-housing the Weight materials in archival quality sleeves.
I have nearly completed digitization of the hundreds of audio tapes of oral history interviews with desert old-timers done by the Weights years ago. Also, I sleeved nearly half of the thousands of Weight Collection photograph negatives and developed an electronic finding aid to them.
Also during the year, Jackie Ridge has continued her work organizing the massive collection formed over a period of many years by San Bernardino County historian Germaine Moon.
From June through September, Claire Dubois was an intern-in-residence. With our high-end scanner she digitized about 4,000 of our more than 100,000 historic photographs.
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Looking Back and Looking Ahead It has now been a little over year since I took over as Executive Director of the MDHCA at the 2012 Rendezvous, relieving Dennis Casebier, who had been in the role since 1993. Providing leadership and coordinating most MDHCA affairs at the Goffs Cultural Center is a challenging, yet rewarding, job.
Looking back over my 2013 accomplishments, I can report to you that I continue to work with the County of San Bernardino to gain the necessary permits to construct a new Exhibit Hall with a county block grant. This structure, measuring 24' by 40' will be located on the Boulevard of Dreams across from the Dennis G. Casebier Library. We expect to see it go up during the first half of 2014. It will be used to house artifacts that have been in storage for want of space.
Here at the end of 2013, the MDHCA is financially solvent. Thanks to you, our recent raffle fundraiser and Rendezvous were successful. We met our goal of $20,000. That sounds like a lot of money, but keep in mind it costs upwards to $100,000 a year to run the Goffs Cultural Center.
As is true with much of America, the Association has suffered financially through the economic downturn of recent years. For that reason, those of us on the board managing the purse strings are naturally frugal... we call ourselves "frugalites!" Therefore I should note that we need your financial support more than ever. Remember, your donations are tax deductible, as we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
Hugh Brown, Goffs
2013 MOJAVE ROAD RENDEZVOUS
September 28-29, 2013. Slideshow of the 34th Mojave Road Rendezvous held at the Goffs Cultural Center.
See the full story on the proceedings of the 34th Mojave Road Rendezvous in Mojave Road Report #296.
DENNIS CASEBIER: HISTORY OF GOFFS
July 2013. From the porch of the restored Goffs Schoolhouse, desert author and historian Dennis Casebier gives a talk on the fascinating heritage of the Eastern Mojave Desert.
Brief History of the East Mojave and the Goffs Cultural Center
Featuring historical and modern images, this series of six short videos encapsulates the rich history of Goffs at the "top of the hill" where old Route 66 and two railroads intersect.
June 2013. The MDHCA is pleased to announce two new books for sale:
Lieutenant Mark Hersey: The Final Days of Fort Mojave, 1887-1890
Calico Memories of Lucy Bell Lane.
Lieutenant Mark Hersey was assigned to the Ninth Infantry at Fort Mojave, Arizona. Author and historian Jere Baker draws upon Lt. Hersey’s extensive letters from 1887 until mid-1890 and official army records to chronicle Fort Mojave’s final years as a frontier army post. The publication is 106 pages long and is softbound. We are selling this book for $12.95.
Calico Memories is the story of Lucy Bell Lane’s memories of the silver mining town of Calico, California from the mid-1880s through the early 1960s. This 2013 publication is a revision to the 1993 book and has been updated with new pictures, end notes and index. It is edited by Phyllis Kolbly, Patricia Schoffstall, and Alan Baltazar. The publication is 173 pages long and is softbound. We are selling it for $20.00.
Photographer Burton Frasher (1888-1955) combined a passion for automobile travel and photography into a postcard business that proved popular with motoring tourists. Frasher documented the remote Route 66 roadside businesses that sustained, and natural wonders that awed, anxious travelers across the Mojave Desert in the 1930s and 1940s. This selection of photographic postcards focus on the desert wayside stops and scenic vistas that motorists rushed through on the last leg of their journey west. (Curated by Chris Ervin)
JOSHUA TREES BLOOM ACROSS THE MOJAVE
March-April 2013. Lanfair Valley Joshua trees in full bloom. (Photo by Chris Ervin)
This spring has witnessed a profuse and wide spread blooming of Joshua trees and Mojave yuccas across the Southwest. Here is a sampling from the numerous reports in the media:
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Despite this winter and spring being relatively dry, the Joshua Trees found in the Mojave Desert and on the eastern slopes of the Tehachapi Mountains are blooming now, in the understated, non-colorful way that Joshuas flower. Like so many aspects of this distinctive plant, the Joshua Tree flowering is unusual and seems to defy the long odds against ever successfully producing new Joshua seedlings.
If you are looking for wildflowers this spring you’re in trouble. On the other hand this is one of the best years for Joshua trees in bloom. This past week, scattered across the Mojave Desert, Joshua trees everywhere were blooming in profusion. From Joshua Tree National Park to Red Rock Canyon State Park in the western Mojave Desert and from Walker Pass just east of Lake Isabella to Utah and Arizona, Joshua trees were in bloom. On Cima Dome, in the Mojave National Preserve, it is the best Joshua tree bloom in 25 years.
The Mojave Desert’s iconic Joshua trees are blooming like crazy and, although theories abound, there is little consensus about why it’s happening. From Joshua Tree National Park and into Nevada and Arizona, millions of the trees bear foot-long conical bundles of tightly packed, greenish-white flowers at the ends of their spiky branches. What’s remarkable this year, experts say, is that just about every tree has bloomed or is flowering now, with fragrant bundles at the tips of just about every branch. Biologists and others said they can’t recall a year when the Joshua trees had more abundant flowers.
Millions of the trees have been bursting into bundles of greenish-white flowers in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. Just about every tree has bloomed this spring when usually far fewer do and they produce fewer flowers, biologists said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon," Cameron Barrows, a research ecologist with the University of California, Riverside.
Desert ecologist Jim Cornett has been studying Joshua trees since 1988, and he has never seen them bloom the way they are this year. The trees have been blossoming profusely throughout their range from Joshua Tree National Park to Tonopah, Nev., and Wickenburg, Ariz., sprouting abundant cream-colored flowers from the tips of their branches.
Joshua trees on Cima Dome - Press-Enterprise video
RILEY'S TRUCK DONATED TO CULTURAL CENTER
18 December 2012. J. Riley Bembry's 1934 Chevy flatbed truck is an important East Mojave Desert mining artifact. (Photo by Hugh Brown.)
Bridget (Sandoz) Wilcox of Yucca Valley donated the truck she inherited from John Riley Bembry when he died in 1984. Riley used the 1934 1 1/2-ton Chevrolet flatbed pickup to travel between his many mining claims in the Ivanpah Mountains and his nearby home known as Riley's Camp.
MDHCA director Dave Taylor inspected the truck stored in Hinkley, reported it was in excellent condition, and made arrangements for transporting it to Goffs. Dave and his friend Mike Pike loaded the truck on a double-axle trailer and arrived in Goffs this same day. Riley's truck has been appropriately placed between the Stotts and American Boy stamp mills here on the grounds of the Goffs Cultural Center for all to admire.
You can read the entire article on Riley and the truck retrieval in the East Mojave Heritage section of the latest Mojave Road Report number 292.
CHANGE OF COMMAND CEREMONY AT GOFFS
13 October 2012. Hugh Brown takes over as MDHCA Executive Director. (Photo by Tim Augustine.)
One of the highlights of the 33rd Mojave Road Rendezvous was the change in leadership when Hugh E. Brown (right) relieved Dennis G. Casebier (center) as Executive Director. Speeches were made by Director John Fickewirth, San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, and Mojave National Preserve Superintendent Stephanie Dubois.
Outgoing remarks of encouragement were then made by Dennis Casebier followed by some from Hugh Brown about the MDHCA's future. Honorary plaques were presented by Mr. Brown on behalf of the MDHCA to both Jo Ann Casebier (left) and to Dennis in recognition and appreciation of their strong efforts and guidance over many years to ensure the MDHCA exists in perpetuity.
NEW MDHCA LOGOS
12 October 2012. The 33rd Annual Mojave Road Rendezvous was the occasion for the unveiling of two new updated logos for the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association. MDHCA President Steve Mongrain led the execution of this effort and thus ensured that they would be available to the membership in the form of decals in time for the Rendezvous. Here is the text of Steve's presentation to the gathered audience:
Earlier this year, Dennis recommended that the Board of Directors develop a logo with a motto for the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association, what marketing types would call a “brand,” a picture that depicts who we are and what we are about. Here’s what we came up with.
The one above will be used for more formal needs; letterhead, envelopes, formal letters, items where we wish to express the historical aspects of the Goffs Cultural Center.
The second one here on the left will be used for more informal items; caps, decals, shirts. The creative folks tell me the maroon color has a close resemblance to red/brown associated with the color of the Earth, the beige with the sand of the desert itself.
The Joshua Tree symbolizes the Mojave Desert, what causes us all to be here. It symbolizes the Mojave Road, the East Mojave Heritage Trail, and the numerous historical sites throughout the East Mojave, our “boots on the ground” work.
The rendering of the Schoolhouse symbolizes our major goal, the preservation of the history and culture of the Mojave Desert and surrounding area. It speaks to the Mojave Desert Archives and the 19 collections housed here, the more than 120,000 historical photographs, the 6,000+ volumes, 5,000 maps, more than 700 oral and transcribed interviews, and numerous manuscripts, periodicals, pamphlets, digital databases, etc. And it speaks to the Dennis G. Casebier Library on the north side of the campus that houses much of this data. It further represents the Goffs Cultural Center campus, and all the wonderful historic antiquities on the grounds here.
The Latin phrase, Non Nobis Solum, was requested specifically by Dennis. Some years ago, a group of us were meeting at the Casebier residence across the way here. We were discussing then, as we continue to discuss today, PRESENCE here at the Goffs Cultural Center. You may have read in either the Goffsgram or Mojave Road Report that we are often in need of people to be here, generally at least four or more people all the time as this place is far too important to leave unattended at any time.
Anyway, someone at the meeting mentioned to Dennis that most people don’t have the passion he does regarding the MDHCA, and therefore not to expect lots of volunteers. I will always recall Dennis’ answer. He said that he didn't expect lots of volunteers because he had learned over the years that committed people show up “one person at a time.”
Dennis remarked that “many people have no passion for anything, and therefore why not be part of a movement far greater than just yourself? Why not pitch in and help an organization that records the history of Americans in the Mojave Desert for the benefit of generations to come? Do a little, or do a lot, but jump in. Give back and participate.”
Those were important words, and hence our motto, Non Nobis Solum, which translated means, “NOT FOR OURSELVES ALONE.” A special note of thanks goes to fellow Board member John Fickewirth and his associate, Jim Earley, for their design assistance.
NEW METAL BUILDING
29 March 2012. A Door Company puts the final touches installing the roll-up door on the new metal building. (Photo by Dennis G. Casebier)
Shane Brown, Jake Harmon and John Veria from H.S. Brown Construction erected a large metal Quonset hut-shaped building procured for us by MDHCA Director John M. Fickewirth.
Over the course of one month the construction crew got the building up. Starting the week of March 5, they worked on the intricate framing needed for the concrete base of the metal building.
On March 9, two work crews received two concrete trucks laden with 10 yards of concrete to pour the metal building slab. By March 29 the building was completed.
AMERICAN BOY STAMP MILL FRAME ERECTED
10 March 2012. Once again, the skyline of Goffs has changed. (Photo by Dennis G. Casebier)
Yesterday, the American Boy Stamp Mill crew from Phoenix, Arizona, were here for several days working on the mill. During the day they got the two battery boxes and the main frame of the mill set up on the foundation. It was a delicate operation because the battery boxes had to fit down perfectly over an array of threaded bolts sticking up out of the concrete. It worked perfectly, thanks for the careful measuring and positioning of the bolts prior to pouring of the concrete last October.
Then today, we were all out at the mill site early while the Rock’s Crane Service crew lifted the big bull wheels and cam shafts into place on the frame. That was another delicate operation that took a couple of hours. This is a major step forward but, as Charlie Connell cautions us, there is a lot of work yet to do. It will likely be a year or more before we’ll be able to throw a switch and operate this huge machine. But we got much of the heavy lifting done today.
The American Boy Stamp Mill crew, headed up by Charlie Connell with wife Kathy, were Morris Jackson, Roger Camplin, Jerry Ohlund, and Stuart Harrah, supported by Ed Ditmer, Gail Andress, Nance Fite, and Mickey Thompson. Rock’s Crane Service consisted of Dave Rock, Mike Rock, and Jimmy Howell, from Bullhead City, Arizona.