|Double R Bar Drawing
to raise money in Old Scout's name.
Pair of Ruger Old Army (New Models)
Walker 47 Cap & Ball
Roy Rogers items.
Remember 100% of ticket sales goes to Happy Trails Kids.
|Boron, California From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Boron (formerly, Amargo, Baker, Borate, and Kern) is a
census-designated place (CDP) in Kern County, California, United States.
Boron is located 15 miles (24 km) east-southeast of Castle Butte, at an
elevation of 2467 feet (752 m). The population was 2,025 at the 2000 census.
In 1990 the population was 2,904.
Boron is a hinterland community on the western edge of
the Mojave Desert. Within a half day's drive one can view the highest and
lowest points in the contiguous 48 states of the United States (Mount Whitney
and Death Valley), the world's oldest tree (the Bristlecone Pine), and
the cities of both Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Boron is home to California's largest open-pit mine, which
is also the largest borax mine in the world.
"Dr. J. K. Suckow was drilling a well for water 4 1/2
miles northwest of Boron when he discovered colemanite, a borax ore, in
October, 1913. After his discovery, mining claims, mostly placer, were
located in the area. The Pacific Coast Borax Company, upon recommendation
of its field engineer, Clarence Rasor, acquired many of these claims, including
the discovery well. The company then started explorations to determine
the extent of the orebody. Suckow continued to have an interest in the
area, working prospects east of his discovery well.
"In 1924, anxious to repeat his good fortune, Suckow sunk
a shaft one-half mile away from his first, and he struck basalt at 180
feet (55 m) . The Pacific Coast Borax Company did their own prospecting
in the same area, with almost the same results: basalt at 190 feet (58
m). However, persistence paid off. That same year Suckow sunk another shaft
just a little south of his last one and found a 70-foot (21 m) thick bed
of colemanite at 210 feet (64 m). In 1925 the Suckow Chemical Company produced
a few hundred tons of colemanite from this shaft.
"In the Spring of 1925, William M. Dowsing and J. L. Hannan
discovered a huge deposit 120 feet (37 m) thick just 1 1/2 miles west of
Suckow's shaft, which they kept a secret until its extent was proven. Sold
to the Pacific Coast Borax Company in early 1926, it became known as the
Baker Mine. Beginning production in 1927, it yielded a substantial percentage
of the borates produced in the Kramer District until 1935.
"Production began in December, 1929, at the Suckow Mine,
located near the Baker Mine. Suckow Borax Mines Consolidated, Ltd. shared
half-interest as tenant in common of the Suckow Mine with Borax Consolidated,
Ltd. The two companies became involved in litigation which resulted in
the closure of the mine in 1932. It was reopened in 1935 as the West Baker
Mine with the Borax Consolidated, Ltd. as owners."
The first post office at Boron opened in 1938.
A large borax deposit was discovered in 1925, and the
mining town of Boron was established soon thereafter. This borax deposit
is now the world's largest borax mine, which is owned by Rio Tinto Minerals
(formerly U.S. Borax). This is operated as an open-pit mine, which is the
largest open-pit mine in California. This mine supplies nearly half of
the world's supply of refined borates. Rio Tinto Minerals is Boron's primary
employer, employing over 800 people.
6 miles (9.7 km) east of Boron, across the county line
in San Bernardino County, is the world's largest solar power production
facility. The Kramer Junction Company (KJC) is the Managing General Partner
of the five 30-Megawatts Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) facilities
located in the Mojave Desert at Kramer Junction, California. Together with
its wholly owned subsidiary, KJC Operating Company, KJC operates and manages
these facilities (SEGS III-VII). These units generate enough electricity
to provide the electrical needs of 30,000 to 40,000 homes without the use
of fossil fuels.
Law enforcement services are provided by the Kern County
Sheriff's Department. From 1933 to 1954 personnel from the Mojave Substation
met the law enforcement need of the Boron area. The first actual office
space occupied by the Sheriff's Office in Boron was a Quonset hut shared
with the Fire Department in the 12200 block of Boron Avenue. This continued
until 1963 when the Sheriff's Office established the substation building
at 26949 Cote Street. This building housed a small jail and the Justice
Court in Boron, which operated one day a week.
In 1969 the new Boron station 17 opened at 26965 Cote
Street. This fire station is operated by the Kern County Fire Department.
Boron schools are part of the Muroc Joint Unified School
District. The local Boron schools include the K – 6 grade West Boron Elementary
School, and the 7 – 12th grade Boron High School. Boron High School's mascot
is the Bobcat. Boron's first school, Gephart School was built in 1929.
It burned to the ground in 1994.
Boron's original church building was completed for the
First Baptist Church in 1940. Boron currently has 8 churches. They are
the Assembly of God Church, the Boron Bible Church, the Church of Christ,
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the First Baptist Church
of Boron, the Jesus Name Tabernacle United Pentecostal Church,St. Joseph's
Catholic Church and Christians in Faith Church.
* Boron is populated primarily by descendants
of Oklahomans who came to California during the Great Depression. Despite
its location only hours from Los Angeles, many people in Boron speak with
an Oklahoman drawl.
* The Space Shuttle Columbia turned
over Boron on its way to Edwards Air Force Base in California in 1981
* Boron was the home of "Walking George"
Swain, whose penchant for walking made him a legend. George earned his
name as "Walking George" because he never owned a car, or home, and walked
to and from work — from his home, which was always rumored to be just a
hole in the desert. He supposedly kept himself warm at night with a covering
of newspapers. His wardrobe was always the same: wrinkled shirt and pants
with well-worn boots. He attended local events and often played the piano
for entertainment. He taught piano to children in Boron and played at the
Baptist Church. On his 59th birthday in 1978 an article about George appeared
in the Los Angeles Times. By May 1979 he was featured on the TV show "Real
People". He died on April 25, 2000.
* In early 1964 the town's greatest
tragedy struck when two Boron High School cheerleaders, along with the
school's assistant principal and his wife, were killed in an automobile
accident returning from a basketball game at Trona, California. The automobile
struck the rear end of an ore train parked on a railroad siding along Searles
Station Road. There was only one survivor, a third cheerleader sitting
in the middle of the back seat, Jennifer Vogel. The memorial service was
held at the area's largest venue of the time, the Gephart School Gymnasium,
which along with the school itself is no longer standing.
The movie Erin Brockovich (2000), starring Julia Roberts,
and various other movies have been filmed in the town, often using citizens
* Movies/shows using locations in
and around Boron
* Erin Brockovich
Don La Mancha (2004)
Gang (1993) (TV)
* Neon Signs
on Location: Erin Brockovich (2000) (TV)
* ...aka Making
of 'Erin Brockovich', The (2000) (TV)
* Death Valley
Days (1952 - 1975)
* The Carpetbaggers
Twenty-mule team From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Twenty-mule teams were teams of eighteen mules and two
horses attached to large wagons that ferried borax out of Death Valley
from 1883 to 1889. They traveled from mines to the nearest railroad spur,
165 miles (275 km) away in Mojave, California. The routes were from Furnace
Creek, California, to Mojave, California, and from the mines at Old Borate
In 1877, six years before twenty-mule teams had been introduced
into Death Valley, Scientific American reported that Francis Marion Smith
and his brother had shipped their company's borax in a 30-ton load using
two large wagons, with a third wagon for food and water, drawn by a 24-mule
team over a 160-mile stretch of desert between Teel's Marsh and Wadsworth,
The twenty-mule-team wagons were among the largest ever
pulled by draft animals, designed to carry 10 short tons (9 metric tons)
of borax ore at a time. The rear wheels measured seven feet (2.1 m) high,
with tires made of one-inch-thick (25 mm) iron. The wagon beds measured
16 feet long and were 6 feet deep (4.9 m long, 1.8 m deep); constructed
of solid oak, they weighed 7,800 pounds (3,500 kg) empty; when loaded with
ore, the total weight of the mule train was 73,200 pounds (33.2 metric
tons or 36.6 short tons).
The first wagon was the trailer, the second was "the tender"
or the "back action", and the tank wagon brought up the rear.
With the mules, the caravan stretched over 180 feet (55
m). No wagon ever broke down in transit on the desert due to their construction.
A 1,200-U.S.-gallon (4542.49 L) water tank was added to
supply the mules with water en route. There were water barrels on
the wagons for the teamster and the swamper. Water supplies were refilled
at springs along the way, as it was not possible to carry enough water
for the entire trip. The tank water was used at dry camps and water stops.
The June 1940 issue of Desert Magazine confirms that the
primary water tank was 1200 U.S. gallons. This detail is also given in
"The History Behind the Scale Model".
An efficient system of dispersing feed and water along
the road was put in use. Teams outbound from Mojave, pulling empty wagons,
hauled their own feed and supplies, which were dropped off at successive
camps as the outfit traveled. The supplies would be on hand to use when
a loaded wagon came back the other way, and no payload space was wasted.
There was one stretch of road where a 500-gallon wagon was added to take
water to a dry camp for the team that would be coming from the opposite
direction. The arriving team would use the water and take the empty tank
back to the spring on their haul the next day, ready for re-filling and
staging by the next outbound outfit.
The teams hauled more than 20 million pounds (9,000 metric
tons) of borax out of Death Valley in the six years of the operation. Pacific
Borax began shipping product by train in 1896.
Twenty-mule team in Death Valley, California.......The
horses were the wheelers, the two closest to the wagon. They were ridden
by one of the two men generally required to operate the wagons and were
typically larger than their mule brethren. They had great brute strength
for starting the wagons moving and could withstand the jarring of the heavy
wagon tongue, but the mules were smarter and better suited to work in desert
conditions. In the Proceedings Fifth Death Valley Conference on History
and Prehistory, two articles discussed freight operations in the Mojave
with specific details on the use of mules and horses. In "Of Myths and
Men: Separating Fact from Fiction in the Twenty Mule Team Story", author
Ted Fave discussed how the teams were assembled, trained, and used. "Nadeau's
Freighting Teams in the Mojave", based on Remi Nadeau's historic accomplishments
hauling freight throughout the desert region, gives further insight as
to the superiority of mules for general use.
The teamster drove the team with a single long rein, known
as a "jerk line", and the aid of a long blacksnake whip. The teamster usually
rode the left wheeler, but he could also drive from the trailer seat, working
the brake on steep descents. The swamper usually rode the trailer, but
in hilly country, he would be on the back action available to work the
brake. From the trailer, armed with a can of small rocks, he could pelt
an inattentive mule and send it back to work. Both men were responsible
for readying the team, feeding and watering of the mules, and any veterinary
care or repairs that needed to be done. There was a mid-day stop to feed
and water the mules in harness. The night stops had corrals and feed boxes
for the mules. A day's travel averaged about 17 miles, varying slightly
from leg to leg. It took about ten days to make a trip one way. Cabins
were constructed by the company for use of drivers and swampers at the
Francis Marion Smith, who came to be known as "Borax Smith",
founded Pacific Borax. Cora Keagle recounted his history in an article,
"Buckboard Days in Borate", published in Desert Magazine in September 1939
. Smith was a great promoter and sent drivers out with jerk-line teams
to major U.S. cities to promote the company's laundry product with free
samples. The exhibition teams were typically mules for the promotion value,
but Smith explained that in actual use, wheel horses were a standard practice.
Outside contractors hauling for the company typically used mixed teams.
Joe Zentner wrote of the origins of the advertising campaign
on the Desert USA website in "Twenty Mule Teams on the move in Death Valley".
Bill Parkinson, formerly a night watchman for the company, had to learn
quickly how to drive the team when he was given the role of "Borax Bill".
He was the first, but not the last, driver known by that name. The 1904
St. Louis World's Fair was the maiden appearance for the team and was such
a success that Parkinson went on tour.
The team eventually made its way to New York City, parading
down Broadway. After that showing, the mules were sold, and the wagons
shipped back to California. The mules also appeared at the Golden Gate
Bridge dedication, according to "The Last Ride, the Borax Twenty Mule Team
1883 - 1999".
A short item in the June 1940 edition of Desert Magazine
mentioned that two of the original borax wagons were en route to the New
York World's Fair. The item followed with the note that muleskinner "Borax
Bill" Parkinson had driven an original wagon from Oakland, California,
to New York City in 1917, spending two years on the journey. The
mule team also made periodic re-enactment appearances on hauls into Death
In 1958, a twenty-mule team made a symbolic haul out of
the new pit at U.S. Borax, commemorating the transition from underground
to open-pit mining. Other appearances for twenty-mule teams included President
Wilson's inauguration in 1917.
Promotional team appearances ended with an outing in the
January 1, 1999, Rose Parade. The team had a shakedown outing in a 1998
Boron, California, parade. The company spent $100,000, refitting the 115-year-old
wagons and obtaining harness and mules for the performance. There were
no plans for additional public appearances for advertising purposes, as
the company no longer had a retail product line.
U.S. Borax put out a paperback publication entitled The
Last Ride, the Borax Twenty Mule Team 1883 - 1999 that included many details
about the history of the team and the preparation for the Rose Parade outing.
There is a photo of Borax Bill driving the team down Broadway in New York
City with bells on every animal. Most of the time, only the leaders wore
bells. Another picture shows the team in San Francisco in 1917. This picture
clearly shows the teamster on a horse. Another historic picture shows a
working borax freight team with a mixture of horses and mules.
Links to "20 Mule Teams" History
The Twenty Mule Team. Published by U.S. Borax Inc.
From the Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures Ghosts
Mule Team Days 1, 20
Mule Team Days 2, history,
nice old photos and letters from those who remember.
|"Long Guns Of The West. Part 4. The The Winchester
"Centennial Model" 1876 by Tom "Forty Rod"
Although the ’73 had successfully addressed most of the
faults of the previous models, it still lacked one thing: ammunition
powerful enough to tackle larger game such as grizzly, buffalo, and moose.
Other rifles were available with much heavier-hitting cartridges, but none
of them were repeaters.
Winchester turned again to its tried and true toggle link
design and came up with the Model 1876 and promptly dubbed it “The Centennial
To avoid an overly long receiver (not to mention a ridiculously
long lever throw) which would have been required by using the same rounds
as the big single-shot rifles of the day, they developed a shorter “bottle-necked”
.45 caliber cartridge, originally with a 75 grain charge of behind a 350
grain bullet. Even so, this round was not as powerful as the single
shots of the day…but it was ‘close enough’ for a first effort.
With every effort being made to keep the size down, the
rifle still measured over four feet long with the 28” barrel… a 26” barrel
was also considered standard…and weighed over ten pounds fully loaded,
a truly massive firearm. Either octagonal or round barrels
were offered, and as before, there were rifles, carbines and muskets in
(There were three additional calibers eventually offered
as well: .40-60, .45-60, and .50-95… the first two being straight-walled
cases and the .50-95 having a ‘bottle necked’ case like the .45-75.
All of these rounds were designed as powerful as possible, yet short enough
to work in the toggle link action.)
The carbine deserves special attention for its unusual
appearance. The carbines had 22” round barrels and 18” forearms which
were set back to make provision for a nose cap bayonet attachment, and
they almost all sported a saddle ring on the left side. This carbine
in .45-75 was adopted as a standard long gun of Canada’s Northwest Mounted
Police: The famed Mounties!
All 1876 models have the standard features of the ’73
models and can be mistaken for a ’73 at first glance…until you compare
Being “first of the heavy caliber repeaters” was a feather
in Winchester’s cap to be sure, but the competition was awake now and only
three years later the Whitney company introduced their Burgess patent repeater
in .45-70 Springfield, a considerably more potent round. Three years
after that, Marlin got into the act with the Model 1881, also in .45-70,
and the popularity of the ’76 dropped markedly. Eventually only 63,871
were produced over 21 years.
I spent $747.00 for a new Chaparral / Charles Daly .45-60
with a octagonal barrel 26” barrel model, serial number 761xxx, in December,
2007. It was ‘slicked up’ by Rowdy Yates without changing out any
parts. Kelly Laster (who does amazing work, by the way.) engraved
my ‘signature bird’ on the right side plate when he visited Gunfight Behind
the Jersey Lilly the following year.
|All articles submitted to the "Brimstone
Gazette" are the property of the author, used with their expressed permission.
The Brimstone Pistoleros are not
responsible for any accidents which may occur from use of loading
data, firearms information, or recommendations published on the Brimstone
Pistoleros web site.