Garlock, CA

Garlock, CA - Unknown building in foreground, post office is in the distance.
Garlock, CA - Unknown building and water tank

Garlock, CA – Unknown building and water tank


Garlock, CA is located on the southern side of the El Paso Mountain Range.

The town of Garlock has had many names, El Paso City and Cow Wells being the earliest two dating back to the 1880s. In 1896 the newspaper, The Californian began calling the town Eugeneville, and a 1898 Los Angeles Daily Times article would call the town Garlock. Both Eugeneville and Garlock are named after the Tehachapi business man Eugene Garlock who erecting an eight-stamp mill at the location in 1895.

The mill at Garlock opened in 1896, and in a short time there was enough demand that five additional mills were built. During this period the Rand Mining district was going strong and there wasn’t a mill located in Randsburg, the ore from Randsburg was shipped nine miles down the mountain to Garlock for processing.

In 1899, Garlock reached it’s peak with several hundred residents. There never were many buildings in Garlock, they did however have a school-house which also doubled as a church, and meeting place for social groups. A post office operated in Garlock from 1896-1904, and again from 1923-1926. The original Garlock post office still stands.

By the end of 1903 Garlock was coming to an end, all the residents had packed up and moved on. The mills at Garlock still processed small amounts of ore until 1907. The addition of the mill at the Yellow Aster Mine in Randsburg was ultimately the cause of death for Garlock.

At the Garlock town site today you will find that a majority of the buildings have been fenced in to keep vandals out. One of the most impressive buildings still standing is the original post office, which was built out of railroad ties. The flag pole is still attached to building, all that is missing is the good old red, white and blue.


Arrastre at Garlock - A mill comprising a circular, rock-lined pit in which broken ore is broken by stones, attached to horizontal poles fastened in a central pillar, which stones are dragged around the pit (usually by horses or mulls).

Arrastre at Garlock – A mill comprising a circular, rock-lined pit in which broken ore is broken by stones, attached to horizontal poles fastened in a central pillar, which stones are dragged around the pit (usually by horses or mulls).


One of the most interesting artifacts at Garlock is an arrastre, it is the oldest known tool for removing gold from ore. The arrastre consists of low rock wall banked around large, flat and level stones. In a hole in the center is an upright post, and on this pivots a long beam. A donkey or mule was harnessed to the end of the beam providing power by walking in a circle around the outside walls. A chain bolted midway on the beam pulled a heavy drag stone. The ore was crushed between the stones.

Here are some interesting newspaper quotes I found while researching Garlock:

Eugene Garlock, the Tehachapi capitalist, is erecting a ten stamp mill at Cow Wells (eight miles from the camp), with a capacity of twenty tons per day.”

THE CALIFORNIAN, February 11, 1896:
“Eugene Garlock is rapidly pushing his eight-stamp mill to completion at Cow Wells and will be ready to haul and crush ore by the 20th of this month.”

THE CALIFORNIAN, February 18, 1896:
“The new eight stamp mill of Eugene T. Garlock, at Eugeneville, near Goler, under the supervisor of Mr. Lovejoy, the contractor, is rapidly being built. The building proper is 50 x 75, with other additions adjoining. The concentrator and sulphuret rooms are completed and ready to receive their machinery. The large battery blocks are all framed and will be placed in the battery pit in a day or two. The ore bins are about completed and will hold 600 tons. The stamps weigh 900 pounds each, which is a sufficient weight to do good work, in crushing the rock of that district. Mr. Garlock informed your correspondent that he expected to have the mill completed by the first of March. There is not the slightest doubt but what twenty-five more stamps will be added next year, as the Randsburg company alone have enough ore in sight to keep a 100 stamp mill running steadily for the next fifty years. This is a fact. With the completion of the mill, Eugeneville will become one of the best mining camps in the State.”

THE CALIFORNIAN, March 13,1896:
“RANDSBURG REVALATIONS: The great snow storm which began a week ago last Monday somewhat retarded operations, however. Mr. Garlock found on firing up the engine last week that the timbers were too light to hold it in place, and went over to Tehachapi to haul out heavier ones. This will necessitate perhaps a fortnight delay, and Messrs. Burcham, Mooer and Singleton have gone to pounding up rich rock in the 180-pound mortar furnished by the Utica mine at Angels.”



THE CALIFORNIAN, March 18, 1896:
“The Butte Mining Company of Randsburg has a force of 16 men at work and is making great headway toward taking out ore, which is being milled at present at Cow Wells at the Garlock mill.”

CALIFORNIA STATE MINING BUREAU, Thirteenth Report of the State Mineralogist for the two years ending September 15, 1896:
Garlocks Custom MillIt is at Caldwell, 30 miles North of Mojave, at 2420 altitude, and has 8 stamps of 750 lbs. weight, using No. 9 slot screens. Only 4 stamps are running about two hours per day, for want of water. Water is obtained from a bored well 200 deep. A shaft is being sunk to provide water enough to run the full mill night and day. Wood is hauled 60 miles from Tehachapi. U. S. Garlock, of Mojave, owner.”

THE RAND MOUNTAIN: The ore from the Rand, which is milled at Garlock by the Henry, Garlock, and Visalia mills, averages considerably over $30 to the ton. Plans are now being drawn for a big mill to be part of the Yellow Aster plant. Thirty stamps will be the first capacity of the mill, and steam power will be used. It will be arranged to add more stamps up to 100 is that number can be used. The ore is said to be getting richer with depth.”

RANDSBURG MINER August 30, 1906:
“The Garlock quartz mill, which had been running on tailings for some time, closed down a few days ago.–Tomahawk”

RANDSBURG MINER December 26, 1907:
Although we have no certain knowledge of the fact we copy from the Californian of Bakersfield the notice of Mr. Garlocks death and burial at Santa Anna on the 24th inst. Mr. Garlock has resided in Kern County for the past twenty years and was prominent a farmer at Tehachapi and as a miner on the desert.

The fact is that he was taken seriously ill with sore eyes at Garlock some six weeks ago and when the Masonic Club at this place discovered his condition the editor of the Miner drove down to Garlock with a team furnished by Mr. Burcham and brought him here to the Yellow Aster Hospital where he was cared for and treated by Dr. Sabichi for five weeks, the club furnishing a night nurse. On the 12th of this month his troubles increased by a stroke of paralysis and he became unconscious. On Friday evening the 12th he was sent to his brothers in Los Angeles, Walter Mattingly, a young man from here being sent with him. And now it appears that he is dead and buried. It is better so, being blind and helpless, the once strong and active man was source of sympathy to all who knew him. We feel glad that we were able to help him even a little.”



Garlock, CA - Post Office

Garlock, CA – Post Office



Garlock, CA - This building is said to have once housed a church and later a brothel.

Garlock, CA – This building is said to have once housed a church and later a brothel.


Garlock, CA - Unknown building in foreground, post office is in the distance.

Garlock, CA – Unknown building in foreground, post office is in the distance.




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.


  • Jim –

    It never ceases to amaze me how quickly and constantly things change in the desert.

    I have attached two photographs taken in Garlock from April of 2011. Compare and contrast with your photos.

    The outhouse had a white door in front of it on the ground, and the other building had a homemade sign which read: “WE THE PEOPLE SAY IMPEACH ALL OF THEM”

    8 months later, and things are different. Now, I know that Garlock is right off of a main paved road, but still. I am finding this same pattern again and again wherever I go. It is somewhat worrisome to me, because none of these structures were make to stand the tests of time.

    • I remember the sign, I’d see it when driving by. I’m ashamed to say that I never actually stopped and looked around Garlock before I stopped to take these photographs. I always took it for granted since I drive past it almost weekly when I run to Ridgecrest for supplies. But you are right, things change a lot in short periods of time. That’s one of the main reasons I decided to start this website, to keep record of how things are during this current time period.

  • do you know anything more about the barnums in the picture? my grandfather was eugene raymond barnum and his father was joesph eugene raymond barum. they were ranchers near tulare so i’m wondering if there was a connection.

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