Latitude / Longitude:
36°07′06″N 117°05′43″W / 36.11833°N 117.09528°W / 36.11833
6,302 ft (1,921 m)
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
Panamint City is a ghost town in the Panamint Range, near Death Valley, in Inyo County, California, USA. It is also known by the official Board of Geographic Names as Panamint. Panamint was a boom town founded after silver and copper were found there in 1872. By 1874, the town had a population of about 2,000. Its main street was one mile (1.6 km) long. Panamint had its own newspaper, the Panamint News. Silver was the principal product mined in the area. The town is located about three miles northwest of Sentinel Peak. According to the National Geographic Names Database, NAD27 latitude and longitude for the locale are 36°07’06″N 117°05’43″W, and the feature ID number is 1661185. The elevation of this location is identified as being 6,280 ft AMSL. The similar-sounding Panamint Springs, California, is located about 25.8 miles at 306.4 degrees off true north near Panamint Junction.
Founded in 1873-74, the town grew to include many mills, saloons, stores, a red light district, and a cemetery – all built along the uppermost end of Surprise Canyon. Panamint City was regarded as a “bad and wicked” town. Because of Panamint City’s lawless reputation, Wells Fargo refused to open an office there. The senators solved the question of how to transport the silver bullion from the mines by casting it into 450-pound cannonballs, which were hauled to Los Angeles in an unguarded wagon.
Silver was discovered by William L. Kennedy, Robert L. Stewart, and Richard C. Jacobs, bandits who were using Surprise Canyon as a hideout. EP Raines, an early investor in Panamint mining, convinced a group of Los Angeles businessmen to build a wagon road and then moved on to San Francisco, where he met Nevada Senator John P. Jones. Jones and the other Nevada Senator, William M. Stewart, created the Panamint Mining Company and bought up the larger mines. The two were quite famous for their heavy involvement in silver mining in Nevada, and their interest in Panamint started the boom.
Panamint City is the site of the largest and most elaborate group of Coso Painted Style pictographs. The presence of these pictographs indicates that Surprise Canyon was inhabited by Shoshone and/or Kawaiisu not long before the town was founded.