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Report - Leadfield (Ghost town), Death Valley, California, USA - Summer '09

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by 747_kirki, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. 747_kirki

    747_kirki Death Valley is Mine
    28DL Full Member

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    This is a work in progress. Shot these photos in the summer of 2009 en route through Titus Canyon to reach Leadfield, a small remote ghost town in California, just inside Death Valley. Access is via a 26 mile one-way track, for high clearance 4x4s only.

    Access is normally ok during the summer, providing you ignore the National Park’s “official” advice not to travel off-road in such extreme heat (you just need plenty of water, and confidence in your Avis wheels). However – once we got to Leadfield it was so hot, and the ground looking pretty ripe for rattlers, so I didn’t venture too far off the main track.

    Went back this month hoping to emjoy a more detailed explore and a better look around in the cool winter temperatures, but access was not possible due to rock falls over the winter which had blocked Titus Canyon. It happens most winters – which is a shame – as access on foot around Leadfield would be much easier when its cool and the wildlife isn’t basking in the sun to put you off!

    I hope to try again and post some proper explore pics looking inside the (few) buildings and mine openings another time. Or try yourself if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Death Valley.

    Brief history (and it’s an interesting one)
    Ore was being exploited in Titus Canyon as early as 1905, but the townsite of Leadfield dates to the years 1925 - 1927. The product of extensive and fraudulent advertising by the Western Lead Mine Company and Charles C Julian, the town boomed in 1925 and 1,749 lots were set out, plus 15 miles of road built up the canyon from Beatty, Nevada. The concrete foundation for a mill had also been poured, and the beginning of a series of power poles for electric lines had been installed.

    The area is scattered with mines, dumps, tunnels and prospect holes. There are remains of wood and tin buildings, a dugout and cement foundations of the mill.

    Julian had advertised the town, making exaggerated claims. His advertising posters showed steamboats navigating the Amargosa River to Leadfield, ignoring the fact at the Amargosa River is dry much of the time and does not run within 20 miles of Leadfield!

    The population peaked at around 300 in 1926, with a post office opening in August of that year. However, by February 1927, the post office closed down and the town died. Julian had disappeared and the inhabitants soon became disillusioned and quickly drifted away. The significance of the site lies in the fact it was an example of one of the get-rich-quick schemes of the wild 1920s.

    Access to Titus Canyon starts here:
    [​IMG]

    Track starts off flat - though dont expect to many other people in sight:
    [​IMG]

    And it's hot:
    [​IMG]

    Track climbs quite steeply (you can see it winding through the hills):
    [​IMG]

    And a little over halfway along the one-way track you find Leadfield:
    [​IMG]

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    Someone left their set of wheels behind in the 1920's!
    [​IMG]

    And I just love this one (well, we wouldnt want a misdemeanor would we) -'shot' near the main road in another ghost town called Rhyolite. About 20 miles away from Leadfield.
    [​IMG]

    Plus this warning that the areas has some rattlers lurking... Again, about 20 miles away from Leadfield
    [​IMG]


    I'll be back - for a full explore... :tumbleweed
     

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