Tag Archives: Edith E. Mine
The remains of the ghost camp of Goler lay within Goler Gulch Canyon in the El Paso Mountain Range. You can reach the town site easily with a high clearance vehicle. From Highway 395, turn on Garlock Road for 4.8 miles. Turn right on Charlie Road. Follow Charlie Road through the desert (there are a lot of dirt roads coming off of Charlie Road, your objective is to make it to the mouth of the canyon). Once you reach the mouth of the canyon continue to follow the road through the canyon. The town ruins begin at the cabin on the left side of the road and continue up the Canyon for the next mile or so.
Gold was discovered in Goler Canyon in 1893, and was the direct cause of the prospecting boom that was going to begin in the Rand Mining District just one year later. Goler received its name after John Goler, an experienced prospector that was said to have found gold in this canyon some twenty years prior. The story goes that John Goler, a member of the Bennett-Arcane party being led out of Death Valley by William Manley, had been out prospecting in the southern slopes of the El Paso Mountains when he discovered gold nuggets while soaking his feet in a stream. He filled his pockets, and made his way to Los Angeles to sell his findings. To mark his location, Goler partially buried his rifle so that he could find his treasure upon return.
While in Los Angeles, he partnered with Grant P. Cuddeback. The two men returned to locate Goler’s earlier find. They never did find that location again, however, they did end up finding gold in the Red Rock area just a short distance away. Oddly enough, the gun that was left by John would be found in 1917 by Will Munsey, a homesteader with a ranch near Goler, while out riding his horse.
In March of 1893, the first official claim was placed called Jackass Placer. The Goler Mining District had officially began. The placers at Goler were extremely rich; nuggets weighing up to 10 ounces were recovered from the canyon in the early mining rush. The deposits found at Goler are due to secondary enrichment from the erosion of an ancient river channel that runs alternately along the top and below the ground.
Before long a stage began to run between Goler and Mojave (Mojave was the nearest railroad at the time), and a town (however never actually being considered a town, it was a camp) began to pop up around the mining activity. The number of businesses that once occupied the town of Goler is not well documented, however a boarding house, several saloons, and a store are known to have been located here.
The exact amount of gold removed from district is unknown. Many of the claims were individually owned and mined. The Wells Fargo in nearby Garlock reported that nearly $500,000 in gold had shipped through its offices. It is believed that over a million dollars in gold was removed from Goler alone from 1893-1905.
In the 1930′s a resurgence in mining activity in Goler took place. Enough so, that a one-room school was build up the gulch. About a dozen children attended school here from 1932-1936. Much of the activity died off by the end of the 1930′s, however there are still some private mining claims that are being operated in the area.
So what is there to see at Goler today?
Between Garlock and Goler is the old cemetery. There is a mixture of older burial plots, and ones that date up to the current year. Some years back the cemetery was washed out by a flood so there is no real knowing to how extensive the cemetery is. The older plots are decorated with old mining tools.
Driving up to the canyon you will see up on the hill to your right the area known as Goler Heights. Much of Goler Heights is now private property, please respect this and do not disturb. If you wish to drive up to Goler Heights there is one small mining area with some fallen stone structures that is outside of the private property boundaries. Please be careful, there is one large open mine in this area that is not blocked off.
As you begin your descend into the canyon you will come upon the Edith E. Mine. The Edith E. was one of the most profitable mines in the 1930′s. All of the tunnels have now been blocked off by equipment backfills, bat gates, chain link fencing, and cupola construction. One of the original miners cabin remains, and is in decent condition. I believe that the cabin is now unofficially considered an adopt a cabin.
About a quarter of a mile up the canyon from the Edith E., you will come across the old camp site. Here you will find some small stone building ruins. This was also the location of the school-house, there is an old shot up sign marking the exact location in which it once stood. After another quarter of a mile, you will see a stone wall on the right side of the canyon. Hike up the hill to the stone wall to discover what would seem to be a large swimming pool in the middle of the desert, only with no water. This was actually the camps reservoir.
From the reservoir you are roughly .85 miles from the canyon narrows. During this .85 miles you will come across various mines, caves, and a junk car. Much to my surprise when entering one of these caves, I found that it is currently inhabited. The cave was clean, had carpet, a bed, table, and chairs.
Once you reach the narrows, pay particular attention to the wall on the left side before entering. Here you will find three petroglyphs, they aren’t the easiest things to spot, but they are there. (Please note that the narrows can only be passed with a high clearance 4×4 vehicle). Once you exit the narrows there is another canyon on your left, I found this canyon to be more interesting than following the main route (you will have to hike this canyon, it is far to narrow for a regular sized vehicle). A short distance up the canyon you find the ruins of a number of stone buildings. I also believe this canyon to be the location of Goler’s gun which was found in 1917 based on information obtained from an old copy of Desert Magazine.
The Goler area is a great place to spend a day, or two. There is a decent amount to explore. From Goler you can head out to numerous other locations in the El Paso Mountains like Burro Schmidt, Sheep Springs, and even Red Rock Canyon State Park.