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    [California Gold Mining] Saloons, Gambling Halls and Prostitutes, Rand Street Looking North 1896. 6.75" x 4.75". Water may have been a problem, there was, however, no shortage of liquid refreshment in the early camp. In 1896 approximately twenty-one different saloon keepers were in business at one time or another. These thirst emporiums and gambling halls attracted a rowdy crowd. There were "ladies of the night" working many of the establishments. Amongst this crowd was a group called the "Dirty Dozen" who were involved in some lot "jumping" incidents and shooting scrapes. The first shooting in Randsburg that resulted in a murder was the shooting of Charley Richards who, in partnership with Ed Starkey, was a saloonkeeper. This shooting occurred in September of 1896. In the latter part of October of that year another shooting occurred as a result of a fight over a card game. The shooting which occurred in the Thompson's Saloon, ended the life of an innocent bystander several blocks away when a bullet passed through the wall of the building and struck the man as he was walking up the street. A third and fourth shooting occurred within a day of each other in December. The third shooting occurred in the Elite Theater when Frank Stevens, a member of the "Dirty Dozen", shot and killed J. F. Davis, a gambler, who became the first man buried in the local cemetery. The fourth shooting was the result of a tragic accident, which resulted in the death of A. J. Klein. Mr. Klein was sitting in the front of the Capital Saloon when Constable Bohannon accidentally knocked his .44 Winchester off the back of the bar, causing it to discharge when it hit the floor, with the bullet passing through the wall and hitting the victim. These shootings led to newspaper headlines such as "A Man For Supper" and "Another Man For Dinner". The Mojave News carried a story which said: "A man came from Randsburg Sunday evening, and told the people that a man had died in town from natural causes. He was asked if all the buildings in town had fallen down at the same time, and he said no. He was branded a liar and severely punished for trying to deceive the natives. We might believe that an airship passed over town, but no amount of argument will convince us that any one died in Randsburg from the effects of anything but a knife and gun wound." A clear, bright photograph in fine condition.

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    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
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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