March 2015 Issue Explore Historic California - Magazine for Enthusiasts










Room 8-The Most Famous Cat in Los Angeles

Visit our Explore Historic California site on Facebook




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


Contact us through email at:

Shop Amazon Smile


Support FOCG!

It's the same Amazon!

About Product Availability, Pricing and Services:

AmazonSmile has the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as, including Amazon Prime member benefits.

Purchases Eligible for Donations:

Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked ďEligible for AmazonSmile donationĒ on their product detail pages.

Click the FOCG/Amazon Smile logo above or visit:


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 Ė 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.



Our Friend Maggie Moore 2004-2015

Eleven years after we introduced Maggie Moore to Explore Historic California readers (EHC March 2004), we must bid farewell to our beloved canine companion. Maggie died February 12 of complications from epilepsy.

Maggie was named after Maggie Moore who owned the Waterfall saloon/dance hall at Cerro Gordo. Maggie traveled with us on some of our Explore Historic California commercial trips, and spent many days and nights with us at Cerro Gordo.

Maggie Joined Friends of Jawbone Canyon and occasionally authored stories for Explore Historic California (EHC August, 2004) along with having her own Facebook page. She spent many hours on the sofa reading and researching with Cecile.

Here's an excerpt from Maggie's first story about Cerro Gordo:

Hi! Iím Maggie Moore, the new member of Explore Historic California. Havenít done a lot of exploring yet as I am way too young to go out much and havenít had all of my puppy shots yet.

But that gives me lots of time to read up on who I am named after, and the place she lived in. Papa Jake (who you guys know better as Poor Little Jake) is teaching me how to write like he does, so hereís my first try:

All I ever hear my human Mommy talk about is this place called Cerro Gordo. She says Cerro Gordo means ďFat HillĒ, because the mountain was so rich with silver. Some important guys like Mortimer Belshaw and Victor Beaudry owned the big mines up there in the mid to late 1800ís. Another guy named Remi Nadeau owned real big wagons pulled by a whole lot of mules.  These wagons and mules took silver bricks from Cerro Gordo to Los Angeles, then came back to Cerro Gordo with supplies for the town. My family just barely lives in Los Angeles and weíre about 4 hours away from Cerro Gordo driving our comfy 4Runner. But in the 1800ís in Mr. Nadeauís wagons, it took days!   Longest ride Iíve ever had is 2 hours from my birth home in Apple Valley, to my permanent home here in Tujunga. That trip to Cerro Gordo must have really been something back in the really old days!

 Cerro Gordo was mainly a mining town and most of the people living there were men. There were some families that lived up there, but there was never a real school or a church, or even a newspaper. Other than the buildings that were used for mining stuff, there were mainly bunkhouses, little mining shacks, hotels, saloons, dancehalls, assay offices, general stores for supplies.  The men that lived up there worked hard in the mines all day then spent their money in the saloons and dancehalls afterwards. Since many of them didnít have any families and were lonely they spent a lot of time in places like The Waterfall owned by the lady that I am named after, Madam Maggie Moore. The Waterfall was at the entrance to town. At the other end of town a lady named Lola Travis ran a place called Lolaís Palace of Pleasure.  These places were really popular with the miners, but I guess decent folks, particularly married women, didnít like these places so much...

In a really old newspaper  from the big Owens Valley area below the Fat Hill thereís a story about what a rough  place Cerro Gordo was.  The reporter said it was a ďman for breakfastĒ kind of place, where lots of shootings and trouble happened all of the time. A week in February of 1873 was really exciting, apparently.  Four men, Mr. Walker, Mr. Clark, Mr. McCarty, and Mr. Stewart came up to the mountain and got really drunk. They went around bad-mouthing all of the Mexicans, which was not a nice thing to do. At Hughes Saloon, things got so bad that barkeeper, Al Briggs, told everybody to get out and closed the place down.  The four troublemakers didnít let this stop them from ďhaving fun.Ē  They took their six-shooters and headed down the hill to Madam Maggie Mooreís Waterfall Dance House.

If you ever get a chance to visit Cerro Gordo, you can still see Lolaís Palace of Pleasure, but Maggie Mooreís Waterfall is long gone.  

 Itís been a few months since I started writing this story and Iím not just a little tiny rottador pup any more!  Iíve been on several trips with Mommy & Daddy, and Iíve even been to Cerro Gordo!  Momís friend, Robin went with us and told us that itís a good possibility that Maggie Moore just called herself that.  Her real name may have been Petra Romero.  One of these days, Robinís going to have to tell me how she figured that one out!  Meantime, Iím sure glad my Mommy didnít know about the name Petra when she was looking for a puppy.  She would have had to pick out a little tiny Chihuahua instead of big 6 Ĺ month old 55 pound me!

Thank you Papa Jake & Mommy for helping me with my first story Ė I couldnít have done this good without you!  By the way, Cerro Gordo is just as much fun as everybody said it would be, but it will be more fun when Mommy can trust me off the leash to run around on my own. 

Maggie will never be replaced, but as she followed in the paws of Big Dog Jessie, so shall another dog follow in her paws. May she forever be at peace with her sisters and brothers: Smokey, Cleo, Flower, Maynard, Samantha, Clancie, Chelsea, Missy, Clarence, Rascal, Jessie, Jake and Sadie.





  Copyright © 2015, All Rights Reserved.                           Powered by