Description[California Gold Mining] Randsburg - Spring of 1897 - Glass Plate Negative. 8.5" x 6.25". A wonderfully detailed photo of Randsburg nearing the height of her boom. The photo, starting in the left foreground and moving right shows: the J. I. C. Mine, the Wedge Mine, the Kinyon Mine, and the Little Butte Mine across "Fiddler's Gulch"; on the left is the Tehachapi Milling and Lumber Yard, across the street and to the right is a large wood building which is the skating rink, the scene of many celebrations and weddings. To the left of the skating rink is W. A. Coon & Company, Palace Billiard Parlor & Bar, later to become Morgan & Rogers, the Randsburg Fuel & Oil Company, and across the street and a bit downhill is a large two-story building, the Rand Lodging House. Across the street the two story building is the Illingworth home (known locally as the Jewell House). Moving on down the street on the same side as the Rand Lodging House, past a few wood buildings and tents is a brown and white building with a false front. This is the Mountain View Saloon. The fourth building down from that is the Illingworth Miner's Supply store, then McGinnis Boarding House, and the next large building is Phillip's House which was destroyed in the May, 1898 fire. Across the street is the Orpheus Theatre (a house of ill repute). Everything on Butte Avenue to the west of the Orpheus Theatre and Phillips House was destroyed in the January, 1898 fire. Most of the rest of the business district on Rand and the west side of Broadway was also destroyed. Fine condition.
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 Youngas 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.
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