High Desert Memories - A Hometown Journal Commemorating Ridgecrest California
The railroad was brought in to transport materials and equipment needed by the Rand Mining area. Of course the railroad also brought people good and bad to find their fortunes.
Originated by C. Taylor and T. McCarthy started the process of separation of Placer Scheelite and gold by shipping the tungsten ore to Germany. In 1906 E B De Golia and Mr Atkins purchased the claims, built the first tungsten mill ending the hand sorting of ore as the only concentrating method. In 1907 the railroad was in place and the place became known as Atolia, a contraction of the names of the owners of the claims. In its heyday the town had four restaurants, three general stores, a drug store, two stationary stores, two shoemakers, one hotel, three rooming houses and several lodging tents, four pool rooms, four barber shops, an ice cream parlor, picture show, garage, three butcher shops, a newspaper, and new school house for 60 pupils. Today you wouldn't know it was ever there. For more history and info about Atolia go HERE .
Those hillocks you see above are whats left after the placer equipment has treated the ore that has been washed and screened and then transported thru a "spud locker" (a room with black lites) which makes the tungsten and several other elements glow. The spuds are hand picked and separated. My information on this is "dated" so they may use another method today.
An overview of the area in 2000 shows a bleak picture of the mining efforts in this area now. Note the dust trail of someone speeding down a dirt road or on the dry lake in the background.
Not much left of what was once a thriving mining town. The railroad is long gone and all the dancing girls too!!!
This is the mining companies area supervisors home. Not a bad place to live in whilst chasing the elusive buck!!