Tag Archives: Inn City
Red Mountain, CA is located within the Rand Mining District in San Bernadino County. The town site is located directly along Route 395, roughly 26 miles from Kramer Junction. The mining ruins around Red Mountain are found in the mountains behind the town, and can be accessed via Osdick Road and Red Mountain Road.
Before becoming Red Mountain, the town was known as Osdick (I will refer to the town as Osdick up until the name was changed). Osdick came to be in the summer of 1919, this was during the near-by town of Randsburg’s third big mining boom. Pete Osdick was one of the original miners in the area and he felt the town should be named after himself since he had lived in this area longer than anyone else. W.H. Williams, another miner in the area (discovered California Rand Silver Mine) contested that the town should be named Hampton, which was his middle name. Both parties would end up laying out a townsite, and both applied for a Post Office. Pete Osdick won the Post Office in February of 1922, and the area officially became known as Osdick.
The California Rand Silver Mine (also known as The Kelly Mine) would produce over $7 million in its first four years of production, it would be one of the richest mines in California. For many years it was also the largest producing silver mine in the United States. It was said by Charles Moroney (General Manager) regarding the mine, ”Drifts 104 feet, raises thirty-two, and cross cuts 111. Values across and along the vein for a distance of twenty feet or more will average about $2.40 in gold and 60 ounces of silver”. It would continue production until 1929 when the price of silver dropped significantly. It is estimated that the mine’s total production was over $12 million dollars. Other mines in the are included the Big Four, Silver Kings and Silver Glance.
By 1929 Osdick had acquired many names, “Sin City”, “Inn City”, “Never In”, etc.. Finally the postal service decided to put an end to the naming dispute and dubbed the town Red Mountain, which it has remained ever since.
Despite having one of the most impressive silver mines in the country, some might say that Red Mountain was even more well-known for it’s “sins”. During prohibition you could get a drink at any business in town with the exception of the Post Office. The only time Red Mountain was ever “dry” was when they had been tipped off about an upcoming raid. The Ku Klux Klan actively protested the drinking atmosphere in Red Mountain by offering up free dances in nearby Johannesburg, the KKK may have been about the only ones to oppose the party atmosphere that Red Mountain became famous for.
As well as the drinking Red Mountain became well know for its prostitution. It was said that the prostitutes that worked the many brothels were high-class and beautiful, kept themselves clean and made for good company. The Annex, Little Eva’s, The Monkey House, The Northern, The Owl, The Pacific, The Red Onion and the Silver Dollar are just a few of the more well know houses of ill repute.
Gambling was another of the many past times celebrated at Red Mountain. Just about anywhere you could get a drink you could find a game as well. Overall the advertising slogan “Where every night is Saturday night and Saturday night is the 4th of July”, was pretty accurate.
Today Red Mountain is a skeleton of its former self, the 2010 census lists Red Mountain with a population of 125 persons. All of the mines, bars, hotels, casinos, and of course brothels have all long ago closed their doors. Most of the buildings and homes at the town site are original structures and make for an interesting walk through including the Silver Dollar Bar, church, school-house, market and many more. The California Rand Silver Mine sits above the town, fenced in to preserve its history and keep unsuspecting victims from the dangers of arsenic poison. There are also many additional mining sites that are free to explore in the surrounding mountains, and if you do decide to explore please be aware that there are many unmarked shafts through the area.
Red Mountain is a fascinating place to explore. Sadly everything from about 1933 to current that has happened or hasn’t happened here is extremely difficult to track down. Next time you’re driving 395, and find yourself driving through Red Mountain, slow down and imagine the once bustling streets.
*UPDATE 2/7/12 – I added additional pictures to the gallery.