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    [California Gold Mines] First Wedding In Randsburg. 6" x 8", mounted to a studio mat to an overall size of 8.5" x 10.5". Photographed by C. W. Tucker, Randsburg, California. "First wedding in Randsburg - Gala event in the famed mining camp on the desert. Entire population, headed by a band. Parades behind the principals. Free-hearted citizens give liberally of town lots, furniture, and provisions." Randsburg, California, April 13, 1898. During the brief history of this flourishing mining camp all sorts of important events have taken place, including births, deaths and a wedding, but the historian of the camp was compelled to wait patiently until the evening of the 12th of April, 1898, for the opportunity to record an event of the latter nature. "Some time ago Edgar Scott fell a victim to Cupid's dart and a few days ago it was announced in camp that he would lead Miss Louise Van Norman, one of Randsburg's fair ones, to the alter to make her a blushing bride. This being the first wedding in the camp preparations on a scale in proportion to the importance of the event were at once begun. The skating rink, the largest hall in the camp, was engaged, and, though it is in the heart of the Mojave Desert, it was converted into a veritable bower of loveliness. Wild flowers in profusion decked the walls on all sides. A railed platform at one end of the hall was converted into an altar and flowers were piled in profusion around and upon it, while suspended overhead hung a large floral bell. To spread far and wide the news that Randsburg was to have a wedding, the following posters were printed and scattered about:" [the consignor has included a typed copy of one of the posters]. The mat is slightly toned and is missing the lower right corner; the top right corner of the mat is slightly cracked, otherwise the image is in fine condition.

    More Information:

    Clarence W. Tucker Photograph Collection

    Randsburg, California - Mojave Desert, Circa 1896 - 1898


    Simply spectacular! This collection consists of twenty-seven studio-mounted photographs and ten glass plate negatives taken by pioneer California photographer Clarence W. Tucker (1874-1964). The archive represents the most important and rare grouping of mining camp images to come to market in many years. The photos were found at the bottom of a mine in the Mojave Desert in the 1950s by amateur prospector William Young as documented by a series of articles in Westways Magazine in 1971 and 1972. Not a great deal is known about C. W. Tucker's early days in photography. He was born in Indiana on September 22, 1874 and in 1893 he became a photographer's apprentice in Warsaw, Indiana. In 1895 he came to San Jose, California to visit a cousin and ended up staying in California and working as a photographer until his death in 1964. Tucker settled in the rough mining camp of Randsburg around 1896 and remained there until about 1898. During that time he met and married Grace Doughty and she worked as his assistant from thereafter. In the early 1900s the Tuckers moved to Covina, California where they ran a photography studio until 1950. Tucker could not have avoided being affected by the raw energy of the mining camp at Randsburg and his keen photographer's eye fortunately chronicled its rise from a tent city to a small but booming mining town. His images are possibly the only photographic record extant of Randsburg's glory days as an Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) search shows no images by Tucker taken during his time in Randsburg in institutional holdings.


    Randsburg's decade-long boom began in 1895 with the discovery of rich gold and mineral deposits in the El Paso mountains in the northwestern Mojave Desert. John Singleton, a hard-rock miner, in a last attempt at striking it rich, got lucky with the discovery of rich gold deposits which would become the famous Yellow Aster mine. The claim was named the "Rand" giving a nod to the rich mines of South Africa and the early mining camp was called "Rand Camp". The discovery touched off the inevitable flood of prospectors and a crude tent camp was hastily established. By the end of 1895 there were thirteen buildings, most of them canvas but by the next year the population had swollen to 1,500 and more permanent wooden structures began to appear. The town suffered a series of devastating fires and as mining played out in the area, the town effectively reverted to ghost town status.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Nov-Dec, 2011
    30th-1st Wednesday-Thursday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 8
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