IBEX SPRING

12
NAME: Ibex Spring
COUNTY: San Bernardino
ROADS: 4WD
GRID: 1
CLIMATE: Hot, hot summer
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Spring, Fall, Winter. Not during rains
COMMENTS: About 6 miles due west of Hwy 127, south of Ibex Pass and north of the Dumont Dunes turn
REMAINS: Several buildings, mines
In 1881 two young miners, Frank Denning and Stanley Miller, discovered outcrops of silver and copper here, and for some unknown reason named their find the Ibex (Ibex are mountain goats native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, none of which are to be found within several thousand miles of this location, but the name persisted, now marking two mountains, a range of hills, two passes, a spring and a wash). Ibex is located in the far southeastern corner of Death Valley National Park and is rarely, if ever, seen by the average tourist. The lode was actually on the slope of the Black, not Ibex, Mountains about nine miles north of Saratoga Springs. With no proven deposits other than these surface veins they sold their mine in 1882 for a whopping $48,000. In the fall of that year a Chicago syndicate formed the Ibex Mining Company. They opened a fifteen-inch-wide vein to a depth of 80 feet, with ore assaying at $300 a ton. They erected a five-stamp mill in the Ibex Hills three miles southeast of the mine, the camp came to be called Ibex Spring. The mill began operations in May of 1883, but lack of wood and water made for sporadic activity. The refractory ores resisted milling, and a small smelting furnace was constructed in 1884, further taxing the sparse supply of fuel. The stifling summer heat often caused suspension of operations, but when everything was working the mine and mill could turn out $50,000 of bullion a month, although such months were rare. After seven years the company gave up, and it is thought that they may have broken even before quitting in 1889. A few ďcousin jackĒ dugouts, remaining rock walls and a small smelter are evident from that era. About 1907 there was renewed activity when rich silver copper deposits were discovered nearby. Some of the ore was of high quality, but there was darn little of it, and due to the punishing remoteness of the site nothing came of this find. During the 1930s until the 1960s Ibex was resurrected as a residential town for talc mining at the Pleasanton, Moorehouse, Monarch and Rob Roy claims a short distance away. Talc, because of itís asbestos content, is no longer favored as baby powder and itís market vanished. Most of the structures that remain at Ibex, the mines and the car in the nearby tin can alley date from that era. They had a great panoramic view of Buckwheat Wash, but other than that it must have been a harsh existence. The Park Service had plans to bulldoze the place, but the Mojave River Valley Museum of Barstow stepped up to adopt the site and convinced the Park Service to spare the structures, which would be monitored to assess the rate of deterioration of the ruins. The spring, which was the reason for the camp's location, is still abundant today and the greenery that it produces in an otherwise rough desert landscape is visible from miles away as you approach by way of a laborious crossing of an eroded flood plain (4WD recommended). See Ibex soon before itís gone forever. Submitted by: Bill Cook


Park entrance Ibex Spring road
Courtesy Bill Cook


Steps are all thats left
Courtesy Bill Cook


Have have been the showers
Courtesy Bill Cook


Ibex road
Courtesy Bill Cook


Already fallen
Courtesy Bill Cook


Has Plumbing
Courtesy Bill Cook


The basic two-holer
Courtesy Bill Cook


Small Dwelling
Courtesy Bill Cook


Fallen roof
Courtesy Bill Cook


Rock walls stand strong
Courtesy Bill Cook


Small shed
Courtesy Bill Cook


The lonely stove
Courtesy Bill Cook


Be glad you weren't in there
Courtesy Bill Cook


Small Dwelling
Courtesy Bill Cook


Stripped to the studs
Courtesy Bill Cook


Still standing
Courtesy Bill Cook


Palms at the spring
Courtesy Bill Cook


The big building
Courtesy Bill Cook


Dont Sneeze
Courtesy Bill Cook


A peek into the tin building
Courtesy Bill Cook


The building farthest up the wash
Courtesy Bill Cook


A Cousin Jack from the early days
Courtesy Bill Cook


Palms and a valley view
Courtesy Bill Cook


Another Cousin Jack above the spring
Courtesy Bill Cook


Another Cousin Jack above the spring
Courtesy Bill Cook


Strange diggins
Courtesy Bill Cook


View thru the upper building
Courtesy Bill Cook


The spring is in there
Courtesy Bill Cook


Another Cousin Jack
Courtesy Bill Cook


Remains in the wash
Courtesy Bill Cook


The early era smelter furnace
Courtesy Bill Cook


Early era walls
Courtesy Bill Cook


The two holer from below
Courtesy Bill Cook


The view to Buckwheat Wash
Courtesy Bill Cook


Tin can alley
Courtesy Bill Cook


Back end of a 20's tub
Courtesy Bill Cook


Ibex used car lot
Courtesy Bill Cook


No engine
Courtesy Bill Cook


Some assembly required
Courtesy Bill Cook


View to Ibex Spring and the mine
Courtesy Bill Cook


A worker returns to the earth
Courtesy Bill Cook


Things didn't pan out
Courtesy Bill Cook

 

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