Leadfield was a town, deep in the Grapevine Mountains in Death Valley National Park, that was born and went bust within a 12 month period in 1926. Peviously some copper ore and lead ore deposits had been discovered here, claims had been filed, but the quality of the ore was low and very remote, so nothing happened until 1924.
In 1924 there was increased interest in the lead deposits. Jack Salsberry formed a company called Western Lead Mines, he bought twelve of the claims and staked forty more for himself. Salsberry set two teams to work. One team dug prospect holes in the area and the other made the 20 mile road from Beatty through the Grapevine mountains – today this was a beautiful drive.
In 1926 Charles Julian took control of Western Lead Mine from Salsberry and had great plans for Leadfield. Knowing how to market and improve the value of his stock, he encouraged potential investors to visit Titus Canyon. The road from Beatty had been completed by then so some investors drove in, but most came on the fifteen coach special Southern Pacific train to Ludlow. Then an engine from the Tonopah & Tidewater railway brought them to Beatty where a filet of cars brought them to leadfield.
Having made this journey, they were welcomed by a band and sat down to a great lunch. Within weeks 330,000 shares had been bought in the company. The stock price rose from $1,57 to $3.30.
Leadfield was on the map. In April 1926 the town was mapped out with 1,749 lots in 93 blocks. A local paper, the Leadfield Chronicle started printing. Business startedup and advertised in the Chronicle. A post office opened on 25th June.
However some of the problems started taking effect. The nearest water supply was 2.5 miles away. Charles Julian was being investigated for securities irregularities. For the Western Lead Mine company, there was no lead!
The post office closed on 31st December that year.
There are some remnants of Leadfield’s hey day. This is an historic place, in the middle of nowhere in Death Valley National Park and it shouts to me “Black and White” – see below:
Equipment: Nikon Z 9, Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S, Sony Digital Film, PhotoShop and Nik Plugins, Land Rover Defender for transportation.
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