Wall Street Mill (Joshua Tree National Park)

 

The Wall Street Mill is located in the Wonderland of Rocks at Joshua Tree National Park. It requires a short three-quarters of a mile hike from the Queen Valley Road parking area. The trail is well-defined and easy to follow. Along the trail you will pass a number of interesting historic ruins, from a large pink ranch building  to old rusted out cars.

The story behind the Wall Street Mill has been confused many times over the years, and most sources that you might read have a number of inconsistencies and false information. I will try my best to piece together the story for you with the best possible sources of information that I have available.

Bill McHaney, a homesteader owned the property that the Wall Street Mill sits on. McHaney had acquired the land in 1896, and had dug a well there. Later a corral was built. The location became a popular cattle watering spot. Upon the death of McHaney; local prospector, homesteader, jack of all trade, Bill Keys made claim to the land.

 

Wall Street Mill - The mill appears as if Bill Keys walked away just yesterday, and will soon be returning to work.

Wall Street Mill – The mill appears as if Bill Keys walked away just yesterday, and will soon be returning to work.

 

Keys realized the potential of the location and its water source, and constructed the Wall Street Mill in 1932. A large majority of the mill had been previously in use at Pinyon Well since 1891. Keys purchased the mill from the New Eldorado Company, he dismantled it and relocated it to its current location. He operated the Wall Street Mill as a custom mill, milling ore from other mines in the vicinity. It has been estimated that he may have milled for up to fifty different miners. The mill operated from 1932 until 1942 when the government shut down all unessential mines during World War II.

The mill was operated again briefly in 1949, and again in 1966. Upon the death of Keys, the National Park Service took over the site from the Keys estate.

The National Park Service has done a fantastic job preserving the mill, to this day it looks like Keys could return at any time to resume its operation.  As little as a few years ago you could enter the mill buildings and get a good idea how the milling process worked, today the mill is fenced off and we are only left with being able to view the outer shell of the building.  Never the less it is an impressive site that must be seen to fully appreciate.

 

Wall Street Mill - One of a number of classic junker cars that you will encounter near the mill.

Wall Street Mill – One of a number of classic junker cars that you will encounter near the mill.

 

 

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.

  • pat

    I’ve been in Joshua Tree three days in the past week. Yesterday, I went by myself because I was on a mission. I have “heard” that there was some nice rock art in the rock formation behind the Wall Street Mill. I didn’t find anything there, so instead of taking the trail back to my jeep, I hugged the rock formations all the way back to the Wonderland Ranch House. I took about three hours and found some nice caves and rock shelters,However, I found exactly zero rock art, but did find a few old camp fire spots and a couple of shallow morteros. Because I was alone, I didn’t crawl and climb as much I wanted, next time I’ll take someone with me so I can.