Tropico Gold Mine (California)

Tropico, CA - The Tropico Mine in the background
Tropico, CA - The original Palmdale, CA schoolhouse

Tropico, CA – The original Palmdale, CA schoolhouse


Tropico is not technically a ghost town, up until 1958 the only thing at Tropico was the mine, and it’s support buildings on top of the hill. In 1958 the mine  was purchased by the Settle family. In order to create a tourist attraction, the Settle family moved all the buildings that are now located at the bottom of the hill to Tropico from various communities in the area. The buildings are authentic, they are from other area mining camps, as well as the original Palmdale School House.

The Settles for a several years provided tours of both the mine and “town”. It has been that the buildings were auctioned off in 1982 and that they would be moved to yet another location. Twenty-nine years after the auction, the buildings remain locked behind a gate and barbed wire at the Tropico Gold Mine.

Tropico, CA - The Tropico Mine in the background

Tropico, CA – The Tropico Mine in the background


The Tropico Gold Mine story…

In 1878 Ezra Hamilton the owner of East Side Pottery Company in Los Angeles was in need of a specific type of potters clay. In 1882 he had found the clay the he was looking for in what would become the Linda Mine. He purchased the mountain from a, Dr. L.A. Crandall. He mined clay out of it until 1894, then his pottery business went on the decline, at this time he switched his focus to gold.

In 1908, Hamilton sold the Linda Mine to the Tropic Mining and Milling Company.

In 1917, the mine was closed due to World War I. It reopened again in 1930, only to once again be closed in 1942 for World War II. Some occasional mining has taken place in the years following. It is estimated that Tropico has had between six to eight million dollars worth of gold mined out of it.

Tropico was also one of the locations used to film the comedy/western Blazing Saddles.

Today there is no access to this site with the exception of what you can see from the road, which is mostly the buildings that had been brought in during the late 1950’s by the Settle family.

*I apologize for the quality of the images. My camera broke, and I had to use my phone for photos at this location*


Tropico, CA

Tropico, CA



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.