Description

    [California Gold Mining] Dry Washing for Gold at St. Elmo, Randsburg - Glass Plate Negative. 8.5" x 6.25". An excerpt from an article in the December 16, 1896 edition of The Los Angeles Daily Times: "Quartz mining here does not, wholly engage the attention of the miners, as is evidenced by the hundreds of acres being taken as placer diggings by the dry-washing process. Out at the famous St. Elmo and on top of that fabulously rich mine a Los Angeles company calling itself the Stein Mining and Milling Company, of which J. D. Stein is superintendent, has leased 100 acres from the St. Elmo, and have taken as much more. This company has on the ground in process of erection a costly dry-washer and an immense pulverizing cylinder, to be run with a powerful gasoline engine, the estimated capacity of which is for handling 300 tons of dirt per day. The company expects first to plow the ground then to bring it with scrapers to the pulverizer, where it is raised by an elevator and passed through the pulverizer, going direct from there to the dry washers, three in number, all connected to one shaft. The company expects to realize $1 per ton from the dirt. The machine will be operational today or tomorrow." In addition were many independent operations by individuals and teams of men who with their standard dry washers soon made the area look like a bombing range with piles of dirt and rock all over the place. This area was worked again during the tungsten boom to recover the tungsten that the previous miners had thrown away as useless heavy rock that clogged up their dry washers. 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.


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    Auction Dates
    Nov-Dec, 2011
    30th-1st Wednesday-Thursday
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