The Dublin Gulch caves are located behind the town of Shoshone, CA. The caves were dug out of volcanic ash from a Lava Creek eruption in Yellowstone National Park, over 600 thousand years ago. It is unknown exactly when the caves were first dug out and inhabited, however it was likely in the late 1870s, during the silver boom at the Noonday Mines. The caves were home to many people over the years, most of them local miners in the early years. The caves remained occupied at some extent well into the 1970s.
Over the years the residents upgraded their dwellings to include gas stoves, ice boxes, wood floors, and shelving. When residents died, or moved on, other residents would quickly move to the empty cave if it was more spacious or had more amenities.
There is no official record of the residents who had lived in the caves, but a partial list includes:
- Jack Norman
- “Squaw Tom”
- “Dobie Charlie” Nels (Prospector / Miner)
- Joe Volmer (Miner)
- Jack Crowly (Miner)
- Jack Norman “Deafie Jack”
- Henry Ashford (Miner)
- Harold or Louis Ashford (Brother of Henry…unclear which brother lived here with Henry) (Miner)
- “Papa Jim”
- James F. Dallas (Miner)
- Johnny Sheridan (Miner)
- Joseph W. Allison
- James Frederick Belfield
- “Whitey” Staley
- “Shorty” O’Bannon
- Oscar Haskins
It has also rumored that Shorty Harris may have lived in the caves off and on during his years. Considering Shorty’s transient ways, the rumor has merit.
Today you can walk around the cave community, however all the dwellings are under lock and key. Most have windows allowing you the opportunity to take a look inside. Adjacent to the cave dwellings is the Shoshone Cemetery, where you will find past residents of the cave dwellings resting alongside many of the founding members of the Shoshone community.