Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin

The Mojave Desert has hundreds of abandoned buildings and shacks that are left over from the late 1800s to as recent as the 1970s. These buildings provide a look at a bygone era, an era when men (and sometimes women) took to the desert wilderness in the search of gold and other precious metals and minerals.

Many of these cabins are looked after today, by the desert rats (hikers, 4×4 clubs, off-roaders, modern day prospectors) that still use them to lay their head at night after a rough day of playing in the desert. Sadly, many of them are disappearing from the landscape either by accident, arson, or BLM removal. The Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin appears to be in good hands however. Dan Yahro adopted the cabin in 2003 as part of the BLM’s Adopt-A-Cabin program. Himself, his friends and co-workers have worked throughout the years to restore and maintain the cabin, keeping it in as good of condition as the elements allow.

A mystery that surrounds the Boxcar Cabin, is that no one is sure when or how it got here. The first mining claim filed in the immediate area was in the 1930, by J.D.G. Marble. A little investigation reveals that the claim was roughly a half mile southeast of the cabin, but there is no evidence of digging.

Inside the Boxcar Cabin is a synopsis of the cabin, and suspected claims in the area. There is a reference to a boulder up the wash with, “Oct. 17, 1956 – Fluorite by Koch” painted on it. This boulder is assumed to be a claim marker, but no such claim information had been documented with the county. Further research on my end indicates that there was a scientist in the 1920s – 1950s by the name of Koch, he published multiple papers on the subject of Fluorite. I’ve concluded that the inscription likely is making reference of Koch’s work.

In 1958, William Carpenter placed four load claims under the names Buckhorn 1-4. In 1961, Mi-Jo Mines placed four placer claims, and four extension claims. It is most likely that the Boxcar Cabin appeared here sometime between 1958 and the early 1960s.

A character by the name of “Crutch Bill” is said to have lived in the cabin in the 1980s, but little is known of him and his association to the cabin or mining claims.

Whatever the story may be, the Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin remains a piece of living history. If you happen to find it, use it, but respect it. Leave it in better condition than you found it.

 

Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin - The front door is welcoming and inviting.

Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin – The front door is welcoming and inviting.

 

Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin - The kitchen area.

Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin – The kitchen area.

 

Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin - The cabinets are well stocked with essentials.

Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin – The cabinets are well stocked with essentials.

 

Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin - Wood burning stove for those chilly winter nights.

Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin – Wood burning stove for those chilly winter nights.

 

Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin - Cozy sleeping and entertainment area.

Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin – Cozy sleeping and entertainment area.

 

Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin - A good book, a smoke...and apparently Taylor Swift.

Buckhorn Boxcar Cabin – A good book, a smoke…and apparently Taylor Swift.

 

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.

3 Comments

  • Was the boxcar disassembled, moved, and reassembled, or moved as one piece? It would take a pretty substantial tractor to haul that thing around.

    • It is boxcar-shaped but does not appear to have ever been a boxcar. In the first half of the 20th century a lot of knock-down worker housing was built in that general size and shape, it was convenient for shipping the panels in actual boxcars, and the foundations were generally put together from railroad ties. The panels and railroad ties were generally hauled to the site and assembled there. But whether this cabin is one of those knock-down cabins is unknown.

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