High Desert Memories - A Hometown Journal Commemorating Ridgecrest California
Occasionally I receive emails with questions about things of interest in and around Ridgecrest. Questions about where someone might be or how something happened or when something happened.
So I've started this page where I can post these questions hoping that someone might be able to answer them as they check the site.
Later if there is enough call for it I may start a forum here or a message board whichever seems most likely to succeed.
If you see a question you know the answer to, please click on the blue bar below and email me with the answer and I'll post it here with the answer for a week or two and then take the question and the answer down.
My husband and I just returned from a trip to Ballarat and we are trying to find some information about an event that took place in the town. Thought you might be able to help.
Once a year, the surrounding towns people (Ridgecrest & Trona) would gather in Ballarat to give one of the old miners a bath. My husband went to it when he was 5 or 6 years old and doesnt remember who the miner was. We are trying to find out if it was Seldom Seen Slim. Would you happen to know anything about this event? My husband remembered a claw foot bathtub raised on a tall pedestal and the miner climbing up into the tub.
Hope you can shed some light on this mystery. My husband has been talking about this for 20 years and we always wanted to know who the miner is.
Thank you for your time.
You didn't specify the years that your husband visited Ballarat for this feat but here is one answer submitted by a visitior to this site named Randy.
My mother started working as A nurse at the Ridgecrest Hospital around 1957 and remembers Slim very well He was A patient there in the early 60s and passed away there. She remembers trying to clean him up after he was admitted. He was absolutely filthy and they had quite A time getting him clean. He was quite A character and everyone knew of him back then. I don't know for sure if he was the miner that they gave A bath to during the annual Ballarat Days, but Mr. Allen was most likely to be right about him. I remember Slim and the old ranger on Death Valley Days. We met him in Stovepipe Wells when I was very young. By the way, Dr. Drummond liked Slim very much and told the nurses to give him anything he wanted. All he asked for was A glass of orange juice and A pack of cigarettes. He sipped the juice and would take A few puffs then save the rest of it for later. My mother said that he was A real nice man and was well liked by those who knew him.
Randy Reid 1969
I remember the Ballarat Days you referred to. Marge Dorsey or one of the Pipkins, or someone in Trona, could let this Webmaster know the years those events were held and some details.
The last one I attended was the year Seldom Seen Slim died. Garry Clair was the honorary marshal (He carried a loaded pistol, too!). Slim pranced around in a stovepipe hat. Slim went to see Bert at Bert's Barber Shop right after that. The barber shop was next door to the Bonanza Bar in Argus. Bert lived in the back of the building and kept to himself. It was not really open for business. It was Slim's "annual cleaning." Slim got his haircut, took a bath and died shortly from pneumonia.
The Kansas Prospector
And here is another which was submitted by someone who chose to remain anonymous.
It seems to me that the portion of Inyokern Rd. that is on the base used to have a different name. I know that about twenty years ago (or thereabouts) the postal service required some street names on the base and in Ridgecrest to be changed to eliminate duplication and confusion. If I'm right about Inyokern Rd., does anybody know what it was called before the change? Thanks.
Answers to question one
Answer To Question 2
From the main gate at the Inyokern highway into the base the road was called Halsey.