Tag Archives: Charles Knight
Colorado Camp is located within the El Paso Mountains in Kern County. There are several ways to get here, however the easiest route is to take Mesquite Canyon Road for 4.20 miles. Mesquite Canyon Road can be accessed off of Redrock Randsburg Road approximately 1.9 miles before the Randsburg/Garlock cut-off if you are coming from Highway 14, or 1.9 miles after the cut-off if you are coming from Highway 395.
Colorado Camp was founded in the late 1890′s by Charles Knight. Knight was a justice of the peace in Johannesburg. Colorado Camp has mostly been reported as having been a gold camp, but there is evidence from The Herald Newspaper that the Colorado Camp was also the camp for Heald coal mine. A report from the September 5, 1897 edition reads as follows, “This is situated on the east side of Black mountain, and is a famous old placer camp. A number of miners are dry washing there at the present time. At this point is the Heald coal mine, which is now being operated, and the coal is giving satisfaction in the mill, at Garlock. There are also valuable copper mines in the district, and there is abundance of wood and water for milling and camping purposes.”
Charles Knight would eventually (date unknown) sell the mine to C. C. French “Frenchie”, a former soldier and employee of Knights. “Frenchie” was a swindler of sorts. He enjoyed drinking at the saloons in nearby Randsburg. While at the saloon he would produce sample nuggets, and tell his tall tales all in order sell shares of his mine. Once someone would bite, “Frenchie” would put them to work down in the mine while he worked the ore from above ground. It wouldn’t take long before the new partner would realize that he was doing all the work, and for a meager share. They would always eventually end up abandoning their partnership, and “Frenchie” would again be off to find a new sucker. This same process took place many times of the years that “Frenchie” operated at Colorado Camp. It is unknown as to when “Frenchie” abandoned Colorado Camp.
So what is there to see at Colorado Camp today?
Not much! The only thing that remains today is the chimney from one of the buildings at the camp, a foundation, and a small stone wall.