For just $925,000, Cerro Gordo, a ghost town in Lone Pine, CA, can be yours. Picture an abandoned Westworld with 24,000 square feet of buildings, including a historic hotel, a hoist house, and a superintendent's house, as well as 19 other buildings. The property also includes more than 300 acres of patented mining claims.
The abandoned town, which has been owned by the same family for decades, has only recently gone on the market. Though most buildings have been restored, many are in a state of arrested decay. Despite being empty, the town has been protected from looters, as well as inclement weather.
Cerro Gordo, the first major mining camp south of the Sierra Nevada, was settled by Pablo Flores, who began mining and smelting operations in 1865. The town had a rough start as local Indian tribes were hostile to foreign settlers. After Fort Independence was established nearby, hostilities subsided and mining increased. Victor Beaudry, an entrepreneur from Independence, opened a store near the mine after being impressed by the quality of the silver in Cerro Gordo. He soon purchased several mining claims and built two modern smelters. After buying mining rights from a number of indebted claim holders, Beaudry became the owner of a majority of the richest mines in town, including the Union Mine.
In 1868, Mortimer Belshaw arrived in Cerro Gordo and established a partnership with a stakeholder in the Union Mine. He eventually transported the first wagon load of silver from Cerro Gordo to Los Angeles, where he secured a loan to build the biggest smelter in town, as well as a wagon road up the mountain. Belshaw went on to control the shipments of silver from the mountain by establishing the road as a toll road. The town’s silver eventually became responsible for the growth and economic development of Los Angeles.
According to legend, in the 1860s and 1870s, Cerro Gordo had on average one murder per week. The property's owner claimed that the only sound for miles was "the whistle of the wind blowing through all the bullet holes in every building up here." The town eventually became the backdrop for many Hollywood films, including 1957's Night Passage, starring James Stewart and Audie Murphy; 1966's Nevada Smith, starring Steve McQueen, and 1967's Waterhole #3, starring James Coburn and Claude Akins.
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