In the Desert
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2015 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Ogilby Rd., California
See the map below!
There are some remnants of old mines and foundations of buildings, but the most impressive remains are of the old mill site. Often overlooked. Some of the large wooden tanks are still visible.
Tumco is an abandoned gold mining town and is also one of the earliest gold mining areas in California. It has a history spanning some 300 years, with several periods of boom and bust.
Tumco Topography Map
Gold was first discovered by Spanish colonists as they moved northward from Sonora, Mexico. According to legend, two young boys came into their camp one evening with their shirts filled with gold ore. These muchachos cargados (loaded boys) were the namesake for the Cargo Muchacho Mountains, where the Tumco deposits occur. Following the first discovery of gold, numerous small mines were operated by Mexican settlers for many years.
In 1877, the Southern Pacific Railroad completed the Yuma to Los Angeles line of its transcontinental route. This initial rush to stake mining claims soon gave way to mining companies that moved into the area, they purchased claims and developed the mines on a large scale. A 12 mile wood pipeline pumped over 100,000 gallons of water from the Colorado River per day, and the railroad carried mine timbers from northern Arizona for use in the expansive underground workings.
Ultimately, over 200,000 ounces of gold was taken from the mines in the area. Tumco was a typical mining town of its day. Historical accounts talk of rich eastern investors, unscrupulous charlatans and colorful characters in the raucous townsite and the mining boom ultimately leading to financial ruin.
Tumco Mill Site