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Desert Queen Mine

California USA

  • Independent
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“Operated for over 75 years”

The Desert Queen Mine was one of the more successful and long-lived mines of the high desert (Colorado Desert) in Riverside County, California. The abandoned mine is located in Joshua Tree National Park. The mine is associated with Jim McHaney, a local cattle rustler, and Bill Keys, a noted rancher. The mine facilities are largely ruinous. The mine was not spectacularly successful, but was sufficiently productive to remain in operation for nearly seventy-five years. The mine itself consisted of several vertical and horizontal shafts, of which four vertical shafts, five inclined shafts, and ten horizontal adits remain. Tailings piles appear in several places, with quantities of machinery scattered about the site. The mine was established by a man named James in the early 1890s. The rich ore initially found prompted local outlaw gang leader and cattle rustler Jim McHaney to take over the mine. McHaney sent two of his men, Charley Martin and a man named Myers, to demand the mine from James. James refused, and Martin shot and killed him with a gun borrowed from Myers, after forcing James to sign over the property. Martin was acquitted of murder charges on grounds of self-defense. McHaney initially prospered, but borrowed heavily to expand and fell behind on payments to the bank, ultimately losing the mine. The mine passed into the hands of William F. Keys around 1917, who operated the mine until 1961.

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Desert Queen Mine

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