Exploring Abandoned Mines In A Ghost Town (and turning one into a lounge!)

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In this episode, I explore many of Cerro Gordo’s abandoned mines! I went into dozens of old mines over the course of a few days and settled on one right up the hill from town to put a little lounge area in. It’s probably not safe enough for guests to visit, but it’s my own little getaway.

My name is Brent I purchased the former mining town of “Cerro Gordo” this past July 13th (Friday the 13th). Since the Coronavirus outbreak, I’ve moved from Austin, Texas up to the town and I’m living alone in this abandoned ghost town trying to make it into a place for more people to enjoy.

Sometimes it’s beautiful and amazing, sometimes it’s terrifying and the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I grew up in the flatlands of Florida, so this is all new territory for me.

The town was originally established in 1865 and by 1869 they were pulling 340 tons of bullion out of the mountain for Los Angeles.

The silver from Cerro Gordo was responsible for building Los Angeles. The prosperity of Cerro Gordo demanded a larger port city and pushed LA to develop quickly.

The Los Angeles News once wrote:

“What Los Angeles is, is mainly due to it. It is the silver cord that binds our present existence. Should it be uncomfortably severed, we would inevitably collapse.”

In total, there has been over $17,000,000 of minerals pulled from Cerro Gordo. Adjusted for inflation, that number is close to $500,000,000.

It’s been a wild ride so far owning a ‘ghost town’ and we’re having a lot of fun figuring out what to do with it.

To provide ongoing support to the American Hotel rebuilding efforts, check out my bonus content on Patreon. Every dollar from that goes directly into rebuilding the American Hotel and projects around the town. Thank you! https://www.patreon.com/ghosttownliving

The type of things that might lead you here are interests in ghost towns, abandoned mining towns, abandoned cities, California history, the zombie apocalypse, ghost stories, scary stories, nature, death valley, lone pine CA, mines, exploring, overnight challenges, exploration, urban exploration and yes theory.

All right the sun’s out here at Cerro Gordo, the snow is melting. You know what that means. It’s my mind, exploration time now, we’re next level up 94. That’s the light that put on there and another lighter even all right. So today, I’m gonna be exploring some minds and I think just as a disclaimer mines are inherently dangerous. They they collapse all the time. We do not recommend going any of these mines, so I think it’d be a good time to do a little bit of terminology for you, so a tunnel which most people think that they’re walking into is not typically a tunnel.

A tunnel needs to be exposed to the atmosphere on both sides, so have an entrance and an exit that are different. Most of what I’m gonna be checking out today are called audits and adits have one way in and one way out and most of these adits were drilled for, like an exploratory purpose, to check out. If there’s minerals in there, if there were, maybe they would go further back, so a lot of them might only go. You know 100 yards back a few of the ones that we may go into today go miles back and those are ones that probably connected into the main mineshaft.

So we’re trying to go so we’re working with some rock fell down:.Hopefully, there’s no Bobcats back here. This has been known Bobcat territory over the past week, or so I explored maybe 20 or 30 mines, some of this from the road looking promising. Oh yeah, we’re good never been into this one before Oh beautiful, Wow hanging up you’re. Just blasting this with dynamite, already clear it out: insane all right, a short little guy so on to the next. I suppose you know I I tried to explore 40 or 50, but a lot of times. You see something in the distance. You think it’s a mine, I walked 30 minutes an hour, sometimes just to find a pile of rocks.

Pretty high up want to go, there’s the mind. Well, that’s just pointing walked about maybe 30 45 minutes up here and I think that the tunnel is either caved in or it’s snowed in right now or you can’t see it. There’s lots of metal up here and wood, so lots of signs that there wasn’t mine here but uh as it stands. They can’t get there. I don’t hike, took us a little off track, but I think we found ourselves a neither a good one whoa that one but once I did fighter pretty awesome, you know I found one that had this perfectly intact track. Oh crazy, holy, look, it still has full tracks in it. That’s insane. You never said any more Wow.

Look how far it goes on that turn yeah. Typically, they would remove these because I could sell them when the mine proved unsuccessful. So to leave them in is special. This would this would is probably from Oh 1800s. This is a real treat. I can’t wait to check this out even goes around the bend. It’s so crazy. What was that there is some obvious animal urine and other stuff back there. Amid some animals and the deeper I got back. I heard something at the end of the mine, so I spun it around.

You know I’m not trying to mean a bobcat by myself in a mine that nobody knows that I’m in there nope do you want to see back there, another one that was maybe the furthest from town three four miles of town was just this crazy mind with Multiple levels I got, this old road looks really promising and there’s tons of tailings everywhere and you look up there first awful a beautiful scenery, but it piers like some wood structure. So I’m guessing this has been a pretty substantial mine. Otherwise they wouldn’t have built a road like this, but we are out there right now, we’re maybe three miles from Cerro Gordo. That’s Death Valley.

Oh, hopefully it’s open! This is something else. Oh all right. Let’s give it a shot back there, Oh that so, as you went back, the tracks were still intact. There were ladders, they’ve got ten feet and then other levels and other levels and then also a ladder straight down. Maybe 30 feet so I mentioned there’s a whole nother set of mines back there, even on our level there. Well, this place is crazy and I took the ladders up. You know my confidence could allow me to go up to what I could see the thought of going down 40 feet to what I could see.

Did it really sound appealing? I didn’t want to be stuck in a mind that nobody knew that I was in miles from a town that nobody else was at miles from any other town, so it just did see what the best idea now we’re on the next level up or before. That’s the light that put them there and there’s another ladder, even try the light. Oh great sidewalk, safe nope. Sometimes, when you’re walking around you know unexplored land or areas where they used to be mining, you’ll come upon a lot of these they’re, either wooden or they’ll be a pile of stones.

Some nice barb on the mountain, sometimes seemingly in the middle of nowhere, and these are claims markers and what these were. These are showing who held the different mining claims in the area and a lot of times. If you look nailed to the back or maybe down by the base, you’ll find an old tobacco tin and in the tobacco tin is where the mining claims themselves were, and so this is one I found somewhere else, but if you open it up July, first 1925, For example, and if you open it, there’s a notice of location – and this is saying I’ve never opened this before.

This is saying at Cerro Gordo, California, July 1925. It’s a gold claim which is interesting because I don’t think that they had found very much going at Cerro Gordo, but this is a gold claim made out to winters Christensen and Homer. You know. Cerro Gordo is a really important mining town, it’s a town that they pulled, something like 17 million dollars in the silver out of and adjusted for inflation. That’s probably a half a billion dollars of the silver Cerro Gordo back in about 1890 was so successful. In so popular in mind that it required a larger port cities to support it.

You know the miners up here needed goods and everything, so Los Angeles was the closest port city, so the demand of Cerro Gordo, forced Los Angeles, to develop quicker and forced it to develop into what it is today. So is that you need to think that this essentially forgotten town is responsible for one of the most popular cities. In really I’m gonna try to leave the camera going just to show you how far back we’re going, but I’m gonna take you as far as it’s safe. This is so cool. This one is graffiti.

They must have used like charcoal or something for the graffiti 54. It’s crazy thing. About 70 years ago I got from 54.Seventy seventy, it’s crazy, 85. I think this is a piece of old cloth of some type. You know this was jeans, it’d be worth tens of thousands, if not even more than that, but a lot of those are picked through. You know the guys make their living off finding old, Levi Strauss and selling them back to Levi. But anytime, you can go into Owens minds and find anything it’s pretty cool.

I try to leave the stuff behind. I feel it’s not my place to take it out of here. It’s a piece of fabric. This one feels lighter almost like a shirt. Oh wow! Look. You can see the buttonhole there where button would have gone. I mean this is a 150 year old shirt, it’s crazy being back here, kulfi underneath the mountain just to think that he’s not caves or man-made things. The guys that have come in here dynamite out muck out so pull out, and I keep going – and it’s just this – this eerie sense to your being here alone, but this is what built Cerro Gordo.

This is why Cerro Gordo’s, here mines, like this workers at Cerro Gordo, would work underground 12-hour shifts for four dollars a day. The above-ground guys would get three dollars a day, and so we use tough work. It was. It was work that you know obviously took a lot out of a guy, and so I think it’s important to come back into mindedness and kind of remember what builds Cerro Gordo. I remember that whatever we’re trying to do it kind of puts it in perspective a little bit, so I’m back in these things is about digging like I’ve been cleaning out the museum recently and then the museum.

We have these old, terrible couches that I don’t use anymore, but what cool thing than a bring cold couches back here and create kind of a lounge thousands of feet underneath the mountain view back out of mine, says he Keller pretty good in here. So I think eventually, this is gonna become such a ridiculous lounge. Maybe one day build up the nerve to go down there I do is I got to make sure these couches and other things are gonna fit in for this cave lounge. Just try to imagine how creepy this mannequin a thousand feet back in the mines.

We got it’s carpet, these creepy lamp things strip your lamp and, of course, mannequin. You ready for the big lounge reveal whoa a leak. I call the landlord about that. We got a leak, Oh, what is this? Is this a living room in the middle of the cave? Oh yeah, that’s creepy. Probably the creepiest part about this is right. Behind the couch is just one other tunnel and then also a hole that just goes forever down.

Basically so, don’t lean back here in the lounge. So that’s it! This is the lounge. So far, I’m pretty excited about it can’t wait to hang out here. You know read a book they’re gonna sleep in the lounge one night, but uh. Thank you guys so much for the support so far. You know it’s just been amazing, CBL interested in this town, and so I can’t wait to make more of this. For you. The best thing you can do to support us is to subscribe to the channel. Leave a comment below with other ideas for the video leave ideas for this lounge. I can’t wait to decorate it and hang some pictures, but thanks so much again and I’ll see you next time, I can use this place, It’s like new.

Jason Smith

Former Marine, IT Guy & Builder of Websites.  I have 5 US states left to visit. I enjoy hot springs, adventures, hiking, photography, sci-fi, wine, coffee & whiskey.  I am fluent in sarcasm, name that tune, & speak in movie quotes.  I spend most of my time building websites, fixing computers, metal detecting, magnet fishing and gaming occasionally.

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