August 2015 Issue Explore Historic California - Magazine for Enthusiasts









Room 8-The Most Famous Cat in Los Angeles

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 * Please contact owner Sean Patterson for information about visiting Cerro Gordo *


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Friends of

Cerro Gordo

The Friends of Cerro Gordo is a 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation established to assist in the preservation, interpretation and public enjoyment of Cerro Gordo.

Help support these efforts by becoming a member.

Click on the FOCG logo (above) for additional information and to join or make a donation.

Membership is only $10.

Now Available

Cerro Gordo

A Ghost Town

Caught Between


Cecile Page Vargo's collection of Cerro Gordo stories, true, farce and somewhere in between, is being published in a new book, Cerro Gordo A Ghost Town Caught Between Centuries.

ISBN: 978-0970025869

The book gives glimpses of Cerro Gordo from the silver and lead mining days through the early twentieth century zinc era to its modern place as, according to author Phil Varney, "Southern California's best, true, ghost town." There's even a possible solution to the location of the fabled "Lost Gunsight Mine" that former Cerro Gordo owner Mike Patterson once suggested.

We are proud to team with the Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert (HSUMD) in Ridgecrest, Calif., to bring Cerro Gordo A Ghost Town Caught Between Centuries to print. This is their first major publishing venture. The book is  available for sale directly from HSUMD or through selected book sellers.

Contact HSUMD directly to order:

P.O. Box 2001, Ridgecrest, CA. 93556-2001.

Phone: 760 375-8456


Announcing our Arcadia Publishing Book:



Cerro Gordo

by Cecile Page Vargo and Roger W. Vargo

ISBN: 9780738595207

Arcadia Publishing Images of America series

Price: $21.99

128 pages/ softcover

Available now!

(Click the cover image for ordering information)

Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888)-313-2665 or online.

Mules can taste the difference--so can you

Friends of Last Chance Canyon is a new organization interested in sustaining and protecting areas within the El Paso Mountains, near Ridgecrest, California. The main focus is preserving and protecting historic sites like Burro Schmidt's tunnel and the Walt Bickel Camp.

Please click on either logo to visit the FLCC site.

We support

Bodie Foundation
"Protecting Bodie's Future by Preserving Its Past


Click on Room 8's photo or phone

951-361-2205 for more information.


The Panamint Breeze is a newsletter for people who love the rough and rugged deserts and mountains of California and beyond.

Published by Ruth and Emmett Harder, it is for people who are interested in the history of mining in the western states; and the people who had the fortitude to withstand the harsh elements.

It contains stories of the past and the present; stories of mining towns and the colorful residents who lived in them; and of present day adventurers.

Subscriptions are $20 per year (published quarterly – March, June, September & December) Subscriptions outside the USA are $25 per year. All previous issues are available. Gift certificates are available also.

To subscribe mail check (made payable to Real Adventure Publishing) along with name, address, phone number & e-mail address to:  Real Adventure Publishing, 18201 Muriel Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92407.

For more information about the Panamint Breeze e-mail Ruth at:

It's always FIRE SEASON! Click the NIFC logo above to see what's burning.

Visit Michael Piatt's site,, for the truth behind some of Bodie's myths.

Credo Quia Absurdum




Explore Historic California!

     Not too many years ago, the family station wagon was the magic carpet to adventure. Today, that family station wagon is likely to be a four wheel drive sport utility vehicle or pick up truck. SUV's and other 4x4's are one of the best selling classes of vehicles. Ironically, industry statistics show that once purchased, few owners will dare to drive their vehicles off the paved highway.

     Click your mouse through the website and enjoy our armchair adventures and the histories behind them.



Ghost Town Poetry

by Cecile Page Vargo

Billy Crapo and Maggie Moore were both residents of Cerro Gordo, though probably not at the same time.

The Ballad of Billy Crapo

William "Billy" Crapo (pronounced Cray-Poe) was a well educated French Canadian. He was well respected as a civil engineer, and had spent many years working in the mines. Crapo  killed Henry Boland and wounded John Thomas December 29, 1892, thus marking the last gunfight in Cerro Gordo. Crapo disappeared from Cerro Gordo and was never captured, even though the governor issued a $500 reward.  Read more about The Last Shootout at Cerro Gordo by clicking the link.


He wandered up the street on that cold December day

Not knowing what fate would bring

And when he left the post office just to say hey

Before he turned around the gun shots ring


He wandered up the street on that cold December day

Not knowing what fate would bring

The feirce wind made the buildings sway and sway

But the whistle that he heard was a gun shot ring


William “Billy” Crapo shot Thomas Boland dead

From a shack less than sixty feet away

John Thomas ducked but his wrist still filled with lead

It made the Inyo newspapers the next day


The town was dying and there weren’t many around

The saloons and the girls mostly gone

No one expected a man to fall dead on the ground

Man for breakfast days were long done


William “Billy” Crapo was a respectable man

For the most part everyone agreed

But his politics were different than Thomas Boland

It’s said that’s why he did the dirty deed


A posse went out from Keeler to Cerro Gordo

Looking to see that justice was done

But no one ever heard again from that Crapo

And his poster  hangs on the hotel cause he run


William Billy Crapo shot Henry Boland in the back

The last shoot out on the old Fat Hill

And though the centuries have gone since the attack

Thomas Boland haunts the mined out mountain still


William Billy Crapo still wanted in the town

Though centuries have long gone

The gun shots echo with the wind sound

Though the population and the ore is next to none


No likenesses of Billy Crapo are known to exist. The wanted poster shown above was created by Mary Grimsley.

The Sacramento Daily Union newspaper

 reported,January 3, 1893, that a reward of $500 had been offered for William Crapo, the presumed killer of Henry Boland. Crapo was never found.

The Crapo House is the single story structure to the immediate left of the American Hotel in this view of Cerro Gordo prior to 1911.

There Was A Lady..

Maggie Moore operated the Waterfall  saloon, dance hall and brothel located on the west end of Cerro Gordo, below the American Hotel. Lola Travis ran a similar establishment called the Palace of Pleasure at the opposite end of town, near where the assay office building is today.  Read more about Maggie, Lola and some of the other Women of Cerro Gordo by clicking the link.


There was a lady named Maggie Moore

She lived on the mountain.

Oh, she ran the old Waterfall

It was a miner’s drinking fountain.



There was a lady called Lola

Travis was her last name

She ran the old Palace

 hear Pleasure was her game.



There was always lots of hoopin’

And a lot of hollerin’ too

Lots of drink and a dancin’

And the girls new what to do.



Sometimes things got out of hand

And the shout turned into fight.

Fists were drawn, as were guns

Never knew who was wrong or right.



Bring your silver or your bag of gold

Leave your guns at the doors.

Pick your woman and your drink

At Lola’s or Maggie Moore’s.



Now the silver ore started dwindlin’ down

Men sought their fortune elsewhere

The girls found lives in other towns

The Old Fat Hill just barely fared.



Man named Gordon saw some promise

When he traversed to the hill.

He set up an office

Trammed zinc down to a new mill.



These old days are now all long gone

Ghosts are all that do remain

But a man named Patterson

Keeps it up in a new vein.


No likenesses of Maggie Moore are known to exist. This depiction of Lola Travis as a young woman  was painted by the late Robert C. Likes and is based on a photograph of Lola as an elderly woman.




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