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    Description

    [California Gold Mining] Randsburg 1897, Looking Northwest. 6.75" x 4.75". C. W. Tucker, Randsburg, CA studio stamp on verso. The Orpheus Theater appears to have been originally opened by Joe Petrich in 1897 and was under his management in 1898 when the two major fires swept Randsburg. Marcia Rittenhouse Wynn reports in her book Desert Bonanza that John Woodward built the Orpheum Theater after the two fires. However, the Bakersfield Californian in reporting the fire of May 9, 1898 stated that "...many thought that the fire would never get past the Orpheus Theater in an easterly direction, but it jumped over and was soon burning fiercely on the east side of it as on the west side of it." In addition, George McPherson shows on page 24 of his History of the Rand Mining District, published in 1899 that Joe Petrich was the proprietor of the Orpheum Theater. It is not known when Joe sold out to Louie Woodward. The author now believes that this establishment was called the "Orpheus" when Joe Petrich ran it and the "Orpheum" when Louie Woodward ran it. It is stated in Desert Bonanza that an oldtimer said that the Orpheum Theater was at its best in 1899, when each night a brass band was out front playing. Therefore it is quite possible that Louie took over in late 1899 after publication of Mr. McPherson's history. 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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