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    [California Gold Mining] Saloons and Stage Office - Intersection of Broadway and Butte Avenues Randsburg 1897. 6.75" x 4.5".
    Richard Callaghan - Los Angeles Hotel: The Los Angeles Hotel was a thirty room establishment that appears in photographs to have set on the location of the present day White House Saloon before the 1898 fire. Hotel construction and sign painting is taking place and according to a sign on the front was newly furnished and had a large parlor.
    Mansion House - The Mansion House which set on Butte Avenue between the Los Angeles Hotel and Anderson's General Merchandise Store both of which were victims of the May 1898 fire.
    Col. R. F. Hafford - Hafford's Liquor Store: Col Hafford arrived in Randsburg sometimes in late 1896 and opened his liquor store that became one of the most popular saloons in the camp. When as a result of the killings and general lawless attitude of the "Dirty Dozen" and others, in late 1896, a Citizens Committee (Vigilante Committee) was formed Col. Hafford appears to have been one of the founders. In addition to his efforts in keeping the camp peaceful he also supported activities such as the Fourth of July Celebration in 1897. In August 1897 Hafford and his partner in mining a Mr. A. G. Bowman sold the Hafford Claim in the State Range to Captain J. A. Black of Salt Lake City for $18,000. They also bonded the Bowman claim to George Montgomery for one year for a sum of $40,000. He was also the owner of the Ruby Mine which had bonded to Charles Koehn in 1899. According to an article describing the May 1898 fire, the fire started in a house next to Hafford's Saloon on Butte Avenue. This would place the saloon between Rand and Broadway (Burma Road) on the south side of Butte Ave. He immediately rebuilt and conducted business until late 1899 or early 1900. It is known that when he returned to Randsburg in May of 1900 that he had been gone for some time for health reasons. Despite his efforts at improving his health Col. Roderick Ferdinand Hafford died on the 21st of December 1900 in Bakersfield. Col. Hafford was previously in the saloon business in Tombstone, Arizona, and it was at his saloon that Wyatt Earp and his friends gathered before going to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
    Walter B. Broadwell - The Big Stone Store: Broadwell & Company which had previously been in business in Lancaster and Garlock, California came to Randsburg in October of 1897. Mr. Broadwell purchased a lot next to Col. Hafford's saloon and constructed a 20x40 foot building. It is believed that their original store was wiped out in the January 1898 fire. They then erected a large stone building that although not completed, was occupied, when it was again burnt out in the May 1898 fire. Later, when it was rebuilt, iron doors and shutters were placed on the building and it was considered fireproof. This building and business are thought to be the ones acquired by C. A. Asher when he came to Randsburg sometime in early 1900.
    P. J. Hartt - The Kramer Stage Company: A stage line from Kramer to Randsburg was first established in October of 1896. It was 26 miles from the connection with the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad. P. J. Hartt was the manager of the Kramer Stage Company. Mr. Hartt played a significant role in the founding of the town of Randsburg, as he was on the original Vigilante Committee that was accredited with stabilizing the camp so that it could attract the capital investment needed to grow.
    The Club Saloon: No information available.
    Vinton Mitchell - Commission House: A letter in the collection of the Rand Desert Museum shows that Vinton Mitchell who had been in business in Randsburg as a Wholesale Produce and Commission house had given up his business in Randsburg by March of 1898, probably due to being burnt out in the January 1898 fire.
    This important 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.

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