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Cerro Gordo, California Ghost Town

Cerro Gordo, perched at 8500 feet, was a silver mining city located high in the Inyo Mountains of Owens Valley. After the discovery of silver in 1868, the town grew to a number of 4800. Its major development took place in the early 1870s primarily by Mortimer Belshaw and Victor Beaudry. By 1872, the town was producing 100 to 150 83-pound bars of silver and lead, each day. These bars were shipped in large wagons to the port of Los Angeles which was also booming with shipping traffic.

As most “boomtowns,” Cerro Gordo was a wild place, with countless saloons and dance halls, not to forget a lively and well-frequented red district.

Today, some of the buildings are still standing and carefully preserved.
Cerro Gordo includes the 1871 American Hotel, a restored 1904 Bunkhouse (you can actually stay there. Call for reservations), and the Belshaw House.

At your leisure, stroll through town and visit the artifacts in Beaudry's General Store, now a museum, the assay office and several remaining historical structures.

Cerro Gordo features hundred thousand tons of dump materials from the main area of the working mine and therefore, is an attraction to rock and mineral collectors. It is my understanding that the townsite was closed to rock collectors for over two decades.

What a great place to visit!

Maryvonne CM Martin
All rights reserved

Maryvonne Martin
Poetry Sharings Journal

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The following comments are for "Cerro Gordo, California Ghost Town"
by MM

A factual and well written piece (except the misspelling of 'leisure' *grins*), but I felt it was lacking the spark of some of your other travel pieces here - you've described the place in detail, but somehow you haven't said anything that grabs the reader and makes them want to go there (well, not this reader, anyway). There's nothing in the article that makes this place sound special and different from any similar towns.
Here's a few ideas off the top of my head: You could say a bit about the sorts of rocks that can be found. And why was it closed? Or describe the experience of what it's like to stay in the bunkhouse. A paragraph about the scenery and views, either in the town or on the road (and at 8500 feet, there must be some good ones)...
As it stands, it's descriptive, but not enticing.

( Posted by: Spudley [Member] On: February 6, 2003 )

Thanks for the comments, Spudley. I agree that there is a lot more I could say , especially about the different minerals found in this ghost town and why it was closed. However, Cerro Gordo does not wish to advertise these facts. It's lacking "spark" on purpose. Being a journalist I discover a lot of facts and some, but sometimes cannot disclose them.

This was not one of my favorites places to write about, although, there is so much more that I could say. Maybe you'll enjoy reading my next article, when I post it.
I try to keep my head above water and keep up with my deadlines as well. :-)

( Posted by: MM [Member] On: February 6, 2003 )

Cerro Gordo
As a frequent visitor and one of the Friends of Cerro Gordo, I am wondering how much time you actually spent in the town. All one has to do is drive up the Yellow Grade Road, drop in to the Victor Beaudry General Store/Museum and pick up a list of all of the minerals that are available. In fact that list is readily available on the internet, you don't even have to drive up there. Check out my website and look under Cerro Gordo Mines for a copy of that very list.

Town owner Mike Patterson, and caretakers John & Roxie Bowden are happy to talk with visitors, and share all they can about Cerro Gordo's colorful past as a silver mining town, and it's present as the only bed and cook your own breakfast ghost town in the the world, when they are available. Cerro Gordo, the town which helped make Los Angeles what it is today, has no secrets that I know of, except for what is left in the depth of the mines.

( Posted by: CCV [Member] On: March 15, 2003 )

Thank you for the info. CCV. It's kind of you and I appreciate it.

Actually , my visit to Cerro Gordo was far from being recent and not under the best conditions at the time I wrote this short article.

When I get back to that area, I'll make sure to contact
the folks you mentioned above for additional information and write another piece.

Yes, it is a fact that Cerro Gordo played a big part in making Los Angeles what it is today.

( Posted by: MM [Member] On: March 16, 2003 )

Re: Cerro Gordo
I'm curious when you were up there. We closed the town a week last May to prepare for owner Jody Stewart's Memorial Service - if that was when you came up - that would make sense. If you ever need more info about the town, I can help you, or get you in contact with Mike or John & Roxie who I previously mentioned. If you have never had the opportunity to stay up there, you should arrange an overnight visit in the bunk house or the Belshaw House. The ghosts up there usually behave themselves!

( Posted by: ccv [Member] On: March 16, 2003 )

Thanks again...
I don't remember, it was that long ago!

As far as the "ghosts" are concerned I think that after hearing some of the stories about ghosts in the UK ( and elsewhere) I'd be most happy to meet one in Cerro Gordo! :-)

Thanks again!

( Posted by: MM [Member] On: March 16, 2003 )

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