We live in a world filled with fascinating stories of people and places. Stories that melts our hearts and some that send chills, but have you ever heard of an abandoned town that once worth 500 million dollars and reported murders every week?
Cerra Gordo, which translates to ‘fat hill’ in Spanish, was a small mining town in California, found in 1865 by a man named Pablo Flores, who started mining silver from the large hills that overlooked the Owens Valley in California.
With its popularity, Native Americans tried to attack the mines but soon died in the hands-off of Mexican ranchers. Local businessmen Victor Beaudry and Mortimer Belshaw saw the opportunity and dived into the business.
Eventually, these duos took over the whole region, and the mines were completely under Americans. In the 1870s, they made it the largest producer of silver and lead in America. It is said, “What Los Angeles is today, is mainly due to Cerro Gordo.”
Over the next 50 years, silver, lead, and zinc were mined from the hills, and Cerro Gordo turned into a fully functioning town, including 4,000 residents, 100 outhouses, seven saloons, and three brothels.
But as they say, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. This prosperous town had its drawbacks too, being in the middle of nowhere, there was a shortage of water and resources running out for several months. Originally, the town had over 500 buildings, but now only 19 remained.
Cerro Gordo was known as a lawless and dangerous town during its peak time. As when greed and fear took over, shootings and violence became a usual event, often fueled by alcohol from many saloons or jealous rivalries at the local brothels.
Graveyards covered most parts of the town, as every week there were new reports of murder. Some miners died due to suffocation and some due to the collapse of the tunnels. The violence peaked to such a point that townies had to build 4-foot tall sandbag walls to protect themselves.
Now, the town is in the hands of LA-based entrepreneurs, Brent Underwood and Jon Bier, who bought it for $1.4 million. They said, “Cerro Gordo is one of the most haunted mining town, the amount of violence and murder for greed caused a blanket of evil energy that demons will feed of.” “There are times when we wake up and see apparitions” (ghostly figure) “and strange things start to happen.” But this won’t stop us from preserving this historic town that still has hidden treasures all around the Owens Valley. It has a lot of history too, but only if these walls could talk.
Written by: Ashutosh Roy, The North-Eastern Chronicle