New and Noteworthy

THE MOJAVE PROJECT

June 2014. The MDHCA is a proud partner of The Mojave Project.

The Mojave Project
The Mojave Project Web Site

The Mojave Project is an experimental transmedia documentary by Kim Stringfellow exploring the physical, geological and cultural landscape of the Mojave Desert. The Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association and KCET Artbound are project partners.

The Mojave Project reconsiders and establishes multiple ways in which to interpret this unique and complex landscape, through association and connection of seemingly unrelated sites, themes, and subjects thus creating a speculative and immersive experience for its audience. It will explore the following themes:

  • Desert as Wasteland;
  • Geological Time vs. Human Time;
  • Sacrifice and Exploitation;
  • Danger and Consequence;
  • Space and Perception;
  • Mobility and Movement;
  • Desert as Staging Ground;
  • Transformation and Reinvention.

The expected launch of the completed project is 2017. Stay tuned.

SPRING ENCAMPMENT 2014

April 2014. What our volunteers were up to at our annual working weekend.

Debbie Miller-Marschke
Debbie Miller-Marschke adds new paint to a numbered signpost. (Photo by Scott Braley)

On April 11-13, the MDHCA held its 25th annual Spring Encampment at the Goffs Cultural Center.

The full story on the working weekend is detailed in the latest issue of the Mojave Road Report, #299. Also, an album of Encampment photos is here.

Do you have a great photo to add to the album? Add it to the Google+ Photos of Mojave Desert Archives. Be sure to "tag" it with "Mojave Desert Archives" so we see it. Or, just send your image to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we'll post it.

NEW BOOK – CLAUDE COMPTON, INDIAN TRADER

February 2014. The MDHCA is pleased to announce a new book:

Claude-Compton-Trading-Post-.80

  • Claude Compton, Indian Trader: Fort Mojave, Arizona 1899-1904

ClaudeCompton-143

Claude Compton, Indian Trader is a fascinating historical account of the activities and developments around the trading post at the Fort Mojave Indian School in Arizona Territory from 1899 to 1904.

Compton headed west at the age of 23 to find his fortune, eventually becoming the Post Trader and Post Master at Fort Mojave on the east bank of the Colorado River, just below today's Bullhead City. Rich in historical detail, the book contains over 70 early photographs and is illustrated with maps and drawings.

Free-lance writer and historian Jere Baker has written several works on early life in Arizona. Jere is a particular authority on this subject as Claude Compton is his grandfather. The publication is 132 pages long and is softbound. We are selling this book for $15.95.

Jere's books can be purchased from our online book store.

 

2013 IN REVIEW * LOOKING AHEAD TO 2014

January 2014. New Year’s Message from the Executive Director.

Casebier-Midden-Paintbrush(East Mojave Indian Paintbrush by Chris Ervin)

Here it is the end of another year. We’ve had our ups and downs, but all in all, it has been a good year. Major accomplishments of the MDHCA include:

*     *     *

American Boy Stamp Mill Thanks to the leadership, expertise, and hard work of Charlie Connell, the volunteers he has recruited, and the generosity of board member John Fickewirth, we have made major progress on the American Boy Ten-Stamp Mill during 2013. To the delight of all who were at Goffs, the mill was operated during the recent Mojave Road Rendezvous. Our goal for 2014 is to have this huge artifact fully on line and functioning by the time of the Spring Encampment in April. We plan to have a dedication ceremony for the mill at that time.

*     *     *

Mojave Road During the year the MDHCA entered into an agreement with the National Park Service, Mojave National Preserve, to periodically patrol the Mojave Road to pick up trash and provide for early detection of any emerging problems. The terms of our agreement with NPS MNP are such that we can do these monitoring trips up to four times a year. These trips will be under the oversight of Dennis Casebier.

*     *     *

Mojave Desert Archives Major progress has been made during the year organizing the collections of the Mojave Desert Archives. Our single most extensive collection is that of Harold and Lucile Weight. Much progress has been made by Loris Mitchell organizing materials and constructing finding aids. Other volunteers have put in many hours re-housing the Weight materials in archival quality sleeves.

I have nearly completed digitization of the hundreds of audio tapes of oral history interviews with desert old-timers done by the Weights years ago. Also, I sleeved nearly half of the thousands of Weight Collection photograph negatives and developed an electronic finding aid to them.

Also during the year, Jackie Ridge has continued her work organizing the massive collection formed over a period of many years by San Bernardino County historian Germaine Moon.

From June through September, Claire Dubois was an intern-in-residence. With our high-end scanner she digitized about 4,000 of our more than 100,000 historic photographs.

*     *     *

Looking Back and Looking Ahead It has now been a little over year since I took over as Executive Director of the MDHCA at the 2012 Rendezvous, relieving Dennis Casebier, who had been in the role since 1993. Providing leadership and coordinating most MDHCA affairs at the Goffs Cultural Center is a challenging, yet rewarding, job.

Looking back over my 2013 accomplishments, I can report to you that I continue to work with the County of San Bernardino to gain the necessary permits to construct a new Exhibit Hall with a county block grant. This structure, measuring 24' by 40' will be located on the Boulevard of Dreams across from the Dennis G. Casebier Library. We expect to see it go up during the first half of 2014. It will be used to house artifacts that have been in storage for want of space.

Here at the end of 2013, the MDHCA is financially solvent. Thanks to you, our recent raffle fundraiser and Rendezvous were successful. We met our goal of $20,000. That sounds like a lot of money, but keep in mind it costs upwards to $100,000 a year to run the Goffs Cultural Center.

As is true with much of America, the Association has suffered financially through the economic downturn of recent years. For that reason, those of us on the board managing the purse strings are naturally frugal... we call ourselves "frugalites!" Therefore I should note that we need your financial support more than ever. Remember, your donations are tax deductible, as we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

Hugh Brown, Goffs

2013 MOJAVE ROAD RENDEZVOUS

September 28-29, 2013. Slideshow of the 34th Mojave Road Rendezvous held at the Goffs Cultural Center.

  • Rendezvous-Dinner
  • American-Boy-Morning-2013-09-28
  • Awards-Presentation
  • Hugh-and-Fran-Dale
  • Cathy-Hugh-Nance-Charlie
  • American-Boy-Morning-2013-09-29
  • Crowd-watches-American-Boy-Demonstration-20130928
  • Chris-Leslie-Grand-Marshals
  • Rendezvous Dinner
    MDHCA members and their family and friends enjoy good food and good times on Saturday evening at the Rendezvous. Photo by Scott Braley
  • American Boy Mill Saturday morning, 28 Sept. 2013
  • Wagon Master awards and plaques
    Wagon Master awards are presented each year to those who have made outstanding contributions to the MDHCA. Photo by Scott Braley
  • Wagon Master awards
    Executive Director Hugh Brown presents Fran Dale with a twenty-first year Wagon Master award. Photo by Tim Augustine
  • Golden Key Award
    A special award is presented to Charlie Connell (right) for his passionate efforts restore the American Boy Stamp Mill. Photo by Tim Augustine
  • American Boy Mill on Sunday morning, 29 September 2013
    Preparations are made for a demonstration of the ten-stamp mill.
  • American Boy Mill demonstration Sunday, 29 Sept. 2013
    Charlie Connell: "Our final run got 9 ½ stamps running on the mill."
  • Grand Marshals 2013
    Mojave Road Rendezvous Grand Marshals, Chris and Leslie Ervin.

See the full story on the proceedings of the 34th Mojave Road Rendezvous in Mojave Road Report #296.

Do you have a great photo to add tho this slide show? Please send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

DENNIS CASEBIER: HISTORY OF GOFFS

July 2013. From the porch of the restored Goffs Schoolhouse, desert author and historian Dennis Casebier gives a talk on the fascinating heritage of the Eastern Mojave Desert.

History-of-Goffs-Collage-480

Brief History of the East Mojave and the Goffs Cultural Center

Featuring historical and modern images, this series of six short videos encapsulates the rich history of Goffs at the "top of the hill" where old Route 66 and two railroads intersect.

1. Introduction 6:33

2. The Railroad and Route 66 5:30

3. The Mojave Road and the Goffs Schoolhouse 6:27

4. Schoolhouse closed 1937, WWII Desert Training Center 7:10

5. 1990s: Formation of the MDHCA 6:49

6. MDHCA Mission: "This is what we do" 6:08

Produced by David Edholm for the MDHCA.

 

TWO NEW BOOKS

June 2013. The MDHCA is pleased to announce two new books for sale:

  • Lieutenant Mark Hersey: The Final Days of Fort Mojave, 1887-1890
  • Calico Memories of Lucy Bell Lane.

Hersey-soft-cover-143

Lieutenant Mark Hersey was assigned to the Ninth Infantry at Fort Mojave, Arizona. Author and historian Jere Baker draws upon Lt. Hersey’s extensive letters from 1887 until mid-1890 and official army re­cords to chronicle Fort Mojave’s final years as a frontier army post. The publication is 106 pages long and is softbound. We are selling this book for $12.95.

Calico Memories of Lucy Bell Lane

Calico Memories is the story of Lucy Bell Lane’s memories of the silver mining town of Calico, California from the mid-1880s through the early 1960s. This 2013 publication is a revision to the 1993 book and has been updated with new pictures, end notes and index. It is edited by Phyllis Kolbly, Patricia Schoffstall, and Alan Baltazar. The publication is 173 pages long and is softbound. We are selling it for $20.00.

Both books can be purchased from our online book store.

 

NEW ONLINE EXHIBIT

May 2013. Desert Waysides: Burton Frasher's California Route 66

Barstow-California-1931-title-480

Photographer Burton Frasher (1888-1955) combined a passion for automobile travel and photography into a postcard business that proved popular with motoring tourists. Frasher documented the remote Route 66 roadside businesses that sustained, and natural wonders that awed, anxious travelers across the Mojave Desert in the 1930s and 1940s. This selection of photographic postcards focus on the desert wayside stops and scenic vistas that motorists rushed through on the last leg of their journey west.
(Curated by Chris Ervin)

 

JOSHUA TREES BLOOM ACROSS THE MOJAVE

March-April 2013. Lanfair Valley Joshua trees in full bloom. 
(Photo by Chris Ervin)

2013-Joshua-Tree-bloom-2

This spring has witnessed a profuse and wide spread blooming of Joshua trees and Mojave yuccas across the Southwest. Here is a sampling from the numerous reports in the media:

*     *     *

Despite this winter and spring being relatively dry, the Joshua Trees found in the Mojave Desert and on the eastern slopes of the Tehachapi Mountains are blooming now, in the understated, non-colorful way that Joshuas flower. Like so many aspects of this distinctive plant, the Joshua Tree flowering is unusual and seems to defy the long odds against ever successfully producing new Joshua seedlings.

-- Tehachapi News, April 2, 2013

*     *     *

If you are looking for wildflowers this spring you’re in trouble. On the other hand this is one of the best years for Joshua trees in bloom. This past week, scattered across the Mojave Desert, Joshua trees everywhere were blooming in profusion. From Joshua Tree National Park to Red Rock Canyon State Park in the western Mojave Desert and from Walker Pass just east of Lake Isabella to Utah and Arizona, Joshua trees were in bloom. On Cima Dome, in the Mojave National Preserve, it is the best Joshua tree bloom in 25 years.

-- The Desert Sun, April 6, 2013

*     *     *

The Mojave Desert’s iconic Joshua trees are blooming like crazy and, although theories abound, there is little consensus about why it’s happening. From Joshua Tree National Park and into Nevada and Arizona, millions of the trees bear foot-long conical bundles of tightly packed, greenish-white flowers at the ends of their spiky branches. What’s remarkable this year, experts say, is that just about every tree has bloomed or is flowering now, with fragrant bundles at the tips of just about every branch. Biologists and others said they can’t recall a year when the Joshua trees had more abundant flowers.

-- Riverside Press-Enterprise, April 8, 2013

*     *     *

Millions of the trees have been bursting into bundles of greenish-white flowers in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. Just about every tree has bloomed this spring when usually far fewer do and they produce fewer flowers, biologists said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon," Cameron Barrows, a research ecologist with the University of California, Riverside.

-- Redding Record Searchlight/AP, April 9, 2013

*     *     *

Desert ecologist Jim Cornett has been studying Joshua trees since 1988, and he has never seen them bloom the way they are this year. The trees have been blossoming profusely throughout their range from Joshua Tree National Park to Tonopah, Nev., and Wickenburg, Ariz., sprouting abundant cream-colored flowers from the tips of their branches.

-- The Salinas Californian, April 21, 2013

Joshua trees on Cima Dome - Press-Enterprise video

 

RILEY'S TRUCK DONATED TO CULTURAL CENTER

18 December 2012. J. Riley Bembry's 1934 Chevy flatbed truck is an important East Mojave Desert mining artifact.    (Photo by Hugh Brown.)

Riley-Bembry-Truck-arrives-in-GoffsBridget (Sandoz) Wilcox of Yucca Valley donated the truck she inherited from John Riley Bembry when he died in 1984. Riley used the 1934 1 1/2-ton Chevrolet flatbed pickup to travel between his many mining claims in the Ivanpah Mountains and his nearby home known as Riley's Camp.

MDHCA director Dave Taylor inspected the truck stored in Hinkley, reported it was in excellent condition, and made arrangements for transporting it to Goffs. Dave and his friend Mike Pike loaded the truck on a double-axle trailer and arrived in Goffs this same day. Riley's truck has been appropriately placed between the Stotts and American Boy stamp mills here on the grounds of the Goffs Cultural Center for all to admire.

You can read the entire article on Riley and the truck retrieval in the East Mojave Heritage section of the latest Mojave Road Report number 292.

 

CHANGE OF COMMAND CEREMONY AT GOFFS

13 October 2012. Hugh Brown takes over as MDHCA Executive Director. (Photo by Tim Augustine.)

Change of Command CeremonyOne of the highlights of the 33rd Mojave Road Rendezvous was the change in leadership when Hugh E. Brown (right) relieved Dennis G. Casebier (center) as Executive Director. Speeches were made by Director John Fickewirth, San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, and Mojave National Preserve Superintendent Stephanie Dubois.

Outgoing remarks of encouragement were then made by Dennis Casebier followed by some from Hugh Brown about the MDHCA's future. Honorary plaques were presented by Mr. Brown on behalf of the MDHCA to both Jo Ann Casebier (left) and to Dennis in recognition and appreciation of their strong efforts and guidance over many years to ensure the MDHCA exists in perpetuity.