Inyo County Points of Interest
Rich silver ore was discovered in December 1872 at the head of Surprise Canyon 12 miles northeast of here. The United States Senators for Nevada, John P. Jones and William Morris Stewart, invested in and promoted the camp which drew a peak population of 2000 to the steep, mile-high canyon. Wells Fargo refused to serve the lawless camp, and bullion was shipped out in 400-pound cubes to deter thieves. To connect his Santa Monica property with the mines Jones built a half-mile pier and began a railroad, which reached only as far as Los Angeles. Jones and Stewart floated 15 stocks on the San Francisco Mining Exchange with a face value of over $61 million. On July 4, 1876 the camp celebrated a new 30-stamp mill, and strings of ore cars moved at full speed. The celebration ended 20 days later when hours of heavy rain flooded the Panamint Peaks and sent a wall of water down Surprise Canyon's Main Street, wiping out cabins, stores & saloons to end the boom. One of the departing miners, Isadore Daunet, crossed the summit and discovered cottonball borax at Furnace Creek.
Plaque Dedicated November 9, 2002
By Yerba Buena No 1, Slim Princess, Billy Holcomb & Platrix Chapters
Of the Ancient and Honorabe Order of E Clampus Vitus
In Cooperation with the Death Valley '49ers.
The ghost town of Panamint City is about twelve miles from this marker as the crow flies, and you would need to be a crow, or at least a strong hiker, to make the trip.
Inyo County maintained a road to Panamint City until 1983, when a series of cloudbursts once again washed out the canyon, this time down to bedrock.