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    Description

    [California Gold Mining] Saloons and Prostitutes - Rand Street Looking North, January 1898 - Glass Plate Negative. 8.5" x 6.25". It appears that the entire population of the camp has turned out for C. W. Tucker's photograph. Photo shows the Mojave Saloon which had previously been the Capital Saloon. As this purchase was made in September, 1897 and another photo shows the Capital Saloon with a snow-covered street, it is assumed that that photo was taken in the winter of 1897. Snow usually only stays on the ground in Randsburg for a couple of days. The building on the left in the foreground of the photo is the Elite Theatre, a know house of prostitution. On the roof and on the false front of the saloon there appears to be two pair of pants. It is not known if these were Levis or not, or why they were there. 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.


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    Auction Dates
    Nov-Dec, 2011
    30th-1st Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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