Lester Dale Mine

Lester Dale Mine

Lester Dale Mine

 

The Lester Dale Mine overlooks Johnson Valley from the northern slopes of the San Bernardino mountain range. Behind the mine sits the now-defunct Partin Limestone Quarry, which ceased operation in 2003.

Historic details of the Lester Dale are scant, but it is know that the mine operated from the 1920s thought 1952, with the 1920s being its largest production years. Some believe that the Spanish mined gold here many years before white settlers made their way west. Other reports indicate the Spanish never set foot in Johnson Valley due to its extreme remoteness.

 

A handful of crumbling stone buildings remain at the Lester Dale Mine.

A handful of crumbling stone buildings remain at the Lester Dale Mine.

 

The day of my visit, it was overcast and raining, adding an eeriness to the atmosphere.

The day of my visit, it was overcast and raining, adding eeriness to the atmosphere.

 

Today all that remains is the housing complex that housed the miners and possibly their families. A larger building stands among several smaller structures, likely a commons area, or the mine headquarters. The roofs have long collapsed, but the stone buildings remain standing as a testimony to the past.

 

Lester Dale Mine - The "big" house at the Lester Dale.

Lester Dale Mine – The “big” house at the Lester Dale.

 

 

Lester Dale Mine - Chimney in the Lester Dale "big" house

Lester Dale Mine – Chimney in the Lester Dale “big” house

 

Lester Dale Mine - Ore bin

Lester Dale Mine – Ore bin

 

 

 

Interested in visiting this site?

BOOK OPTION: The Lester Dale Mine is featured in Secret Places in the Mojave Desert Vol. IV. Detailed maps, and GPS coordinates are included.  Order your copy now.

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.

2 Comments

  • Sorry to see it being vandalized or destroyed. In the 2008/2009 most of the buildings and roofs were intack. As well as the ore shutte. Is the water still running to the south of the buildings? Any of the grapevines still trying to grow? I will have to post pictures from when we were up there to compare to yours today. Did you stop at the silver reef mine? And don’t forget to explore the mines to the north of the Lester Dale – there are probably a good 20 to 30 small mines up there.

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