November 2013 Issue Explore Historic California - Magazine for Enthusiasts










Room 8-The Most Famous Cat in Los Angeles

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Cerro Gordo is



The town is open during daylight hours, road and weather conditions permitting.


Please contact owner Sean Patterson (661-303-3692) or Robert at Cerro Gordo for information and current road conditions:

(760) 876-5030


(909 856-4434


Contact us through email at:


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.

First year membership (though December 2014) is only $10.

Click here  or the F.O.C.G. logo above to download a membership  brochure.

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.



Early Water Works of Los Angeles

Part II: Prudent Beaudry's Water Works

By Cecile Page Vargo

This is the second installment in a series of stories celebrating the centennial of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

In 1868 Prudent Beaudry joined hands with Dr. John Griffin and Solomon Lazard for the most ambitious efforts to resolve Los Angeles water issues. The New Canal and Reservoir Company was formed to advance Beaudry’s real estate dreams. Holdings in the arid hills north and northwest of the city would be subdivided and developed for hillside homes in a tract known as Bellevue Terrace. Additional lands for a dam in the dry chaparral area known today as Echo Park, were acquired from the city. Water systems evolved around the central plaza district and south along the river bottomland. Beaudry’s dam would encourage westward growth of the city.

Dr. John S. Griffin

Prudent Beaudry

On February 1, 1868 the Common Council of the City of Los Angeles passed an ordinance granting the City Water-Works to Prudent Beaudry and associates. Although conservatives considered the ideas outlandish, land grants to the new company won approval and the signature of  Mayor Cristóbal Aguilar.

“Articles of incorporation of the Los Angeles City Water-Works company have been filed in the Secretary of States office, Sacramento, capital stock two hundred and twenty thousand dollars divided into two thousand two hundred shares of one hundred dollars each. The Trustees are J.S. Griffith, J.G. Downey, P. Beaudry, S. Lazard, A.J. King, Eugene Myer and Charles Lafaon.”  (Sept. 15, 1868 L.A. News)

“”The Los Angeles City Water-Works have commenced cutting their canal from the Los Angeles River, six miles above the city.” (November 24, 1868 L.A. News)

Zanja (canal) through Central Park, later Pershing Square, in the heart of downtown before 1882. This was Zanja number 6 and was built by O. W. Childs, who was the lower of two bidders for the project. In payment he received land from 6th Street to Pico Boulevard and Main Street to Figueroa. The zanja was part of the city's water delivery system from the river. 

(Los Angeles Public Library Collection)

“A few days ago we profited by an invitation to examine the recently constructed water-ditch and tunnel of the Los Angeles City Water Company, and in company with one of the directors strolled three or four miles up the ditch, which has a total length of six and a half miles, three of which are through solid sandstone. The tunnel is one hundred and eighty-two feet long, three and one-half feet wide and five feet high. The whole work is executed in the most substantial manner and cost about fifteen thousand dollars. Along the ditch upon the bluff is built a good foot path, which will be shaded in another year with trees planted on the edge of the ditch in such a manner as to strengthen the banks and afford ample shade for those who wish to air themselves on the splendid Boulevard de Beaudry, as it will be called after the very capable and energetic President of the company who gave so much of his valuable time to their personal supervision of the work from the commencement to its completion.

The enterprise is the most important one ever carried out in this county, and one that our citizens may justly feel proud of, being, as it is a public work, that at the end of thirty years will revert to the city, with all the pipes, reservoirs, and paraphernalia of a great water-works, the revenue of which will more than sufficient to support the city government. Less than one year ago, when the company proposed to pay the city a rental of one thousand five hundred dollars per annum, and make such improvements as would make the city a permanent and valuable water-works, the proposition met with a strong opposition from many of our citizens. The promptness, however, with which a work of such magnitude was begun and completed, and the upward tendency given to real estate as confidence became established, completely disarmed all opposition, and the water-works is to-day a popular enterprise, the final completion of which will add in a few years millions to the wealth of the city. The works belong to the city corporation, and are rented to the present company, and instead of being fostered by the city government, the company were compelled to expend nearly ten thousand dollars for rights of way, sites for machinery and reservoirs, that the city would have supplied without any cost to the tax-payers or the company, which was the duty of the municipal government to do. By large expenditures of money, however, the company overcame all obstacles, and now have the work on the high road to successful completion. A large and permanent supply of pure spring water is now constantly filling their reservoirs. Twenty-five thousand feet of first-class iron pipe have been shipped from Europe, and is expected to arrive her by the first of June, and before the end of the summer the municipal government of Los Angeles will be the owner of the best constructed water-works on the Pacific Coast, which instead of being an expense to the tax-payers, actually paid the interest upon one-third of the public debt during its construction, and which will at the expiration of the lease support the municipal government.”  (January 12, 1869  Los Angeles Daily News)

An Act was approved on April 2, 1870 to divide the city into three irrigating districts.  A Board of three Water Commissioners was to be elected by actual irrigators of the real estate within the city limits. Manual F. Coronel, Jose Wolfskill, and F.R. Toberman were appointed until the next municipal election. All control of water was transferred from the Mayor and Council to this new Board. The election in December 1870 appointed L.B. Martinez, J.J. Warner and L. Bauchette Water Commissioners. Two years later the Act of 1870 was repealed and the Mayor and Common Council regained all of their former powers. 

The “Historical Sketch of Los Angeles County” described the water system on hills west of Los Angeles:

 “In the year 1872 improvements were commenced in the hills west of Los Angeles City. These hills, although offering delightful sites for residences, from lack of water and difficulty of access, had not shared in the prosperity of the city, but had remained comparatively valueless and neglected. To the energy and perseverance, more especially of two men, Mr. P. Beaudry and Mr. J. W. Potts, is due the change that has taken place. Mr. Potts has, since 1872, expended in grading, principally upon the lines of Temple and Second streets, upwards of thirty thousand dollars. Mr. Beaudry has in like manner expended upwards of fifty-thousand dollars. The work with which Mr. Beaudry’s name has been more especially linked is the furnishing of an abundant supply of water to these hill lands. Mr. Beaudry has had excavated a large basin amid the springs lying along upper Alameda street from which, with a sixty horse-power engine running a Hooker pump of the capacity of forty thousand gallons per hour, water is forced to an elevation of two hundred and forty feet, where it is received by two reservoirs with a storage capacity of three million five hundred thousand gallons, and thence distributed of three million five hundred thousand gallons, and thence distributed through eleven miles of iron pipes over the tops of the highest hills.  These works have cost ninety-five thousand dollars.”

Map of the old portion of the city surrounding the plaza, showing the old plaza church, public square, the first gas plant and adode buildings, Los Angeles city, March 12th, 1873.

(Library of Congress Collection)

The water needs of Los Angeles were controlled by Prudent Beaudry’s company from 1868 when the population was a mere 4500 people until its' lease expired  in 1898.  By then, Beaudry and associates had passed on, and others would continue the struggle to meet the needs of over 100,000 residents. Los Angeles city officials fought to take the water system back from the company. After long and heated negotiations, the City of Los Angeles gained control. The City of Los Angeles Water Department was formed and William Mulholland, who had begun his lengthy career in water digging artesian wells with a hand drill and moved on to ditch digger, would study all aspects of water, hydraulic engineering and geology and be appointed superintendent.   


Los Angeles Public Library photo collection

Library of Congress photo collection

History of Los Angeles County California 1880

by Thompson & West, Reprinted by: Howell-North 1959 


Water & Power: The Conflict over Los Angeles

Water Supply In The Owens Valley

by Willima L. Kahrl

University of California Press, 1983


The Water Seekers

by Remi A. Nadeau

Chalfant Press, 1974


William Mulholland and the Rise of Los Angeles

by Catherine Mulholland

University of California Press, 2002



Remembering our Friend

Doug Gordon 1947-2013

Doug poses outside the Gordon House at Cerro Gordo ghost town in 1987. Doug's grandfather, L. D. Gordon, built this home in 1916 as a residence for his family when they were on the mountain. L.D Gordon was also the founder of Round Mountain, Nevada.


A visitor looks through an assortment of Doug Gordon's photograhs at an art show and tribute in October. 2013 in Monrovia. Doug displayed his works, and prints from his grandfather's photo collection at the Paint 'n' Play Gallery in Monrovia.

A door from Doug Gordon's "Underdog" racing VW.
Douglas O "Doug". Gordon was the grandson of former Cerro Gordo owner L. D. Gordon and the keeper of the elder Gordon's extensive photo collection. Without Doug's assistance, our two Cerro Gordo books and numerous other Cerro Gordo related projects would not have been possible.

Doug was born in Ross, California on November 15, 1947 and passed away on September 4, 2013. He is survived by a brother, John and a sister, Lisa Darby.

Doug worked for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for more than 25 years in information technology. He was a professional photographer in his own right displaying and selling photographs through the Paint 'n' Play Gallery in Monrovia, Calif.

In his younger days, Doug was a VW enthusiast and raced a VW named "Underdog".

Los Angeles Aqueduct Centennial 1913-2013


One Hundred Mules to walk the Route of the Los Angeles Aqueduct


October 15–November 12, 2013

On  the  centenary  of  the  opening  of  the  Los  Angeles  Aqueduct, Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio will perform One Hundred Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct, a commemorative artist action to connect Los Angeles to its water source. This performative parade of 100 mules will traverse the 240 miles of pipelines and canals that bring water from the Eastern Sierras through a gravity-fed system to Los Angeles, passing through three counties and nearly 50 communities along the way. Mule power shaped the modern West and was a primary force in constructing the aqueduct, an engineering feat that took only seven years to complete despite the rough terrain.

The parade will take nearly a month, with public events planned in Bishop, Manzanar, the Owens Dry Lake Bed, Pine Canyon, Neenach, The Cascades, Hansen Dam, and Griffith Park. It will culminate in a Veterans Day Parade down Western Avenue in Glendale to welcome the mules into the City of Los Angeles on November 11, 2013, followed by a ceremony at the Equidome to celebrate our countrys equine labor force—the mule.

 This commemorative action is a prelude to Bending the Los Angeles River Back into the City, a work that will pierce the concrete jacket of the Los Angeles River and use a sixty- foot waterwheel to reconnect the land to the river that originally supplied water to the city.

 One Hundred Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct is an action with a resolution to move forward into the next hundred years with renewed appreciation for this vital re- source: Let it be resolved that the citizens of Los Angeles will do better at utilizing this life-giving resource in the next one hundred years!

 This action is coordinated with the support of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) that has itself been working to make a new century of water delivery happen.

About the Metabolic Studio: The Metabolic Studio was formed in 2009 to support the signature projects of Lauren Bons artistic practice. The studio team also directs philanthropic support to the people, places, and projects that underpin the long-term goals of Ms. Bons work.

 The Metabolic Studio has been instrumental in helping to preserve Cerro Gordo's heritage.

For additional information, visit

Click HERE to download pdfs of the 100 Mules Walking flyer or click on either of the two images above.
Visit to view route and schedule information.
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