February 2012 Issue Explore Historic California - Magazine for Enthusiasts










Room 8-The Most Famous Cat in Los Angeles



Cerro Gordo is again open to day visitors, road and weather conditions permitting.

Please phone (760-876-5030) for current conditions before venturing out!

A caretaker is living on on the site and visitors must check in before venturing around the ghost town.

No supplies or accommodations are available at Cerro Gordo and visitors should bring plenty of drinking water and haul out their own trash. The dirt road from Keeler to Cerro Gordo is a steep, eight mile ascent. Four wheel drive is not usually required, but vehicles should have adequate ground clearance.

Phone 760-876-5030 for current information or contact us through email at:


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.

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

Email: hsumd@ridgenet.net

Mules can taste the difference--so can you

LOGO T Shirts Available


Explore Historic California with our  logo depicting the California backcountry and its rich history both true and farce.

We now offer shirts, sweats, jerseys and cups with our logo.

Click the shirt for details!


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:  echco@msn.com

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

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

Terri Geissinger is a Bodie area Historian, Guide and Chautauquan. A long time resident who lives in Bodie and Smith Valley, she is dedicated to preserving stories of the pioneer families, miners, ranchers and teamsters. Click the photo for information on her tours with the Bodie Foundation.

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.



The Two Sides of Ned Reddy

A gunfighter and saloon keeper in his early days

he died a prison guard captain

by Cecile Page Vargo

At 4 p.m. on April 11, 1901, Captain Edward A. Reddy took his last breath, succumbing to the affects of a stroke which had left him in paralysis since July of the previous year. The much loved, captain was touted in the obituaries of the San Francisco papers as being “genial, kindly and generous to a fault, always ready to assist a friend at whatever sacrifice of his own time or money.”  Captain Reddy earned his title in 1884 when he was appointed Captain of the Guard at the San Quentin State Prison, by Warden General McComb.  

Portrait of Capt. Edward A. "Ned" Reddy accompanying his death notice in the San Francisco Call, April 11, 1901. Reddy held the rank of Captain of the Guard at San Quentin State Prison. His obituary described him as "one of the best-known men in the State." Reddy's early days were less auspicious.

Captain Reddy worked in this capacity until 1891, when he went on to pursue other interests. By 1895, the Board of Health selected by California Governor Budd, appointed Reddy to the position of superintendent of the Almahouse. Under his direction, this institution was completely free of flaw or scandal. Captain Reddy was survived by two children from a previous marriage, and his current wife, Mrs. Carrie Reddy. Mrs. Reddy served as matron at the Almahouse during her husband’s term as superintendent. Thousands of Californians would mourn Captain Reddy’s death.

Edward A. "Ned" Reddy was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, to Irish immigrants. At age 16, he followed his older brother Patrick to the California and Nevada mining camps. Pat started out in the Sonora mines but would soon find himself in Aurora during its boundary dispute between the two states, taking advantage of the situation by collecting unpaid Mono County warrants and declaring lawsuit against the Mono County treasurer.  Pat lost his case, but would later find his forte in criminal law. Edward, now known as Ned, wound up in Virginia City to try his hand at mining. When Pat went to Virginia City to look up his brother Ned, he got in an altercation during a card game and wound up with one arm when it was all said and done.

Pat Reddy had earned a reputation as the “terror of Aurora” in 1863, but went on to study law and earn his title as the one armed criminal lawyer. Ned would follow Pat wherever he went, staking out mining interests for the two of them. He would establish relationships in the boomtowns as a respected saloon keeper and fearless gunfighter. Over the years, Ned Reddy would live in Virginia City, Cerro Gordo, Columbus, Panamint, Darwin, and Bodie, checking out gambling and saloon opportunities while he kept on the lookout for criminals in need of the legal services of his brother, Pat.   

The two Reddy brothers obtained interests in many of the mines by staking claims, registering them with the County Recorder, and providing just enough work for the required assessments. Pat would also buy up already patented claims from others, then with his brother, Ned, they would buy shares of stocks in the incorporated mines and properties. In essence they were jumping claims, and receiving interests in it in exchange for Pat’s legal services.  By 1875 Pat was frequenting tax sales of delinquent mining claims and gained interests in at least eighteen mines in Cerro Gordo, including the San Felipe, Guadalupe, Belmont, and the Union. It has been said by some, the gun fighting prowess of the Reddy boys may have played a part in their success in obtaining claim rights.

It was in Cerro Gordo, on Christmas Day, 1870, that Ned Reddy sealed his reputation as gunfighter. According to an article that appeared in the January 14, 1871 Inyo Independent, Ned Reddy stepped in to keep the peace between James Cock and Mart Sullivan at the saloon owned by John Hughes. The two men fought, with the crowd taking sides both encouraging and discouraging the fracas. Ned got into a clinch with Tom Dunn and knocked him to the ground near the billiard table. As Ned turned his back and went towards the water barrel, Dunn pulled a gun and shouted “Clear the road! Fair play!”  A shout,  “Look out Reddy!” and Ned quickly turned to shoot Dunn through the right breast. Ned surrendered himself to the Deputy Sheriff Joseph Duignan, later to be acquitted by Justice Moore at the inquest.

Ned was involved in a few other incidents, details of which are clouded by hazy reporting of local papers of the time. In Bill O’Neal’s “Encyclopedia of Gunfighters” documented gunfights and confirmed skills of gunfighters are tabled, with Ned Reddy’s six incidents over his life time earning him a place in the same ranks with Doc Holiday, Pat Garret and Luke Short, and ahead of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Jesse James, John Ringo and the Sundance Kid.

An 1871 advertisement from the Inyo Independent for Ned Reddy's Saloon in Cerro Gordo.

Being quick on the draw in touchy situations and staking out mining interests for his lawyer brother was just one aspect to Captain Edward “Ned” Reddy’s early history. He owned at least three saloons in the southern mining camps, where gambling and drinks could be had in the finest ambience of the day. His saloon in Cerro Gordo was known simply as Ned Reddy’s Saloon. In Panamint City he was touted for his hard reputation, as owner of the most elegant Independent Saloon. When Darwin started to boom, his Capital Saloon was the first frame building built. John Wilson, who sold the Reddy boys the Defiance Mine, was Ned’s partner in the business.  Even in Bodie, following some time investigating mining opportunities in Tombstone and the Arizona Territory, 1882 newspapers show Ned Reddy as one-half owner of the Parole Saloon.

Throughout his life, Ned Reddy had his eye on politics and the law, much as his brother did. True to form, when Pat Reddy arrived back in Bodie in April 1879 to establish residence with his wife,  Ned was there a month ahead of him with “kid gloves and carriages for the next prospecting outfit, if you please” according to P.A. Chalfant. While Pat worked on law cases for the bad men of Bodie and made the rounds of its saloons swapping drinks and tall stories, Ned found himself nominated by Democrats for the sheriff of Mono County.  As candidate he was chosen for Grand Marshal in a Democratic campaign of 1880.”In the probably event of his election, there will be no foolishness among the roughs while Ned is around,” the Inyo Independent reported. Ned, like all Democrats, that year, lost to the Republicans in spite of endorsement by local papers.

Ned Reddy was definitely a man with many faces and wore many hats, from 1844 when it is believed he was born, until his death in 1901. At one point he was offered the position of Postmaster of Darwin, but turned it down without giving reason. He was quick to try his hand at musical skills, however, when the need arose for a brass band in Darwin. T.S. Harris of the Coso Mining News headed the six man ensemble with Constable Billy Welch on the horn, and Ned on the tuba. Instruments were ordered and an instructor hired to teach them all how to play. The newspaper declared, “we have no doubt some if not all of them will succeed.” The Darwin Brass Band did indeed succeed in it’s musical endeavors, just in time to sponsor the Independence Day Grand Ball, which was described as the “finest affair of its kind” passing with “ no accidents or serious disturbances of any kind worth mentioning.”

Ned Reddy and his brother Pat are forever immortalized in history. In Bodie, the Pat Reddy residence still stands today. In Cerro Gordo, the home of the first chapel in the towns history was formerly known as Ned Reddy’s garage, and stories of the brothers are told over the saloon in the restored American Hotel. A street sign in Darwin is still proclaimed Reddy Street.  Much as they followed each other back and forth from each of the mining towns to another,  the brothers followed each other within less than a year to the grave, with Pat Reddy paving the way.  Ned’s fearless reputation was  earned up and down the rough and rugged mining towns serving him well until his death as Captain Edward A. Reddy of San Quentin and the Almahouse.

(Top photo) This image from the L. D. Gordon Collection taken about 1916 shows a building to the left of the tram tower in the center of the photo that was called "Ned Reddy's Garage" in later years. The building is not present in earlier photos. Reddy had a saloon, but not a garage in Cerro Gordo. It's possible the "garage" sits on the former site of Reddy's saloon.

(Bottom photo) Present day image of Cerro Gordo. Mike Patterson converted the Ned Reddy "garage" building into a combination chapel and theatre.


Captain Edward Reddy Dies At Post of Duty
The San Francisco Call newspaper, Thursday, April 11, 1901


The Fighting Reddy Brothers of the Eastern Sierra

by Robert P. Palazzo

The Album 1996-Times & Tales of Inyo-Mono
Chalfant Press Inc.


From This Mountain Cerro Gordo
by Robert C. Likes and Glenn R. Day
Community Publishing, 1974


Gunfighters Highwaymen and Vigilantes
by Roger D. McGrath
University of California Press, 1984


Looking Back At Cerro Gordo
by Robert C. Likes
RoseDog Books, 2010

The Silver Seekers

by Remi Nadeau
Crest Publishers, 1999


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