In 1848, gold was officially discovered in California for the first time and word got out fast – with thousands of people arriving in search of a better life in our great Golden State.
Imperial County’s rich mining history played an important role in the State’s Gold Rush by having the first gold-production site in the state.
Before the gold rush, Imperial County had Spanish and Sonoran soldiers, settlers, and laborers all mining gold in the mountains of the southeastern portion of the Imperial County, known to us as the Chocolate Mountains.
Early accounts tell the story of two young boys who were playing up in the mountains trying to prospect gold like their fathers. They returned to their camp after their day of play with gold all over their shirts and pants.
The two boys discovered that the Cargo Muchacho Mountains (as they came to be known) were “loaded" with Imperial County gold (Cargo Muchacho in English translates to “loaded boys”).
It’s difficult to estimate the area’s gold production during the Spanish and Sonoran eras, but it neared the millions when it was all said and done.
From there Imperial County became more of a destination as more miners came into the region and led many to set up camp and incorporate themselves into small townships in our Valley. Through this rush many new jobs were created and the region began to flourish.
Though many of these towns are no more, one historical site that can be visited today is the town of Hedges (renamed Tumco in 1910). This ghost town once supported a population of several thousand in the late 1800s and by 1900 had several dozen buildings, two cemeteries, a dance hall, a volunteer fire department, and a miner’s union. Sadly the population of Tumco was reduced to just 30 by 1942.
Mining Towns like Hedges, Ogilby and Tumco all played major roles in leading the way to new mines in the area such as the Picacho Mine, Gold Cross, Gold Rock Mine, Pasadena, Guadalupe and American Girl Mine, which brought in major investors like former California State Governor Henry Markham.
Mining played a significant role in the history of Imperial County, and still continues to this day with operations like the Mesquite Mine, currently operating near the Glamis Sand Dunes area.
Mesquite Mine has produced more than 4 million ounces of gold since it started its operations in 1985 and has averaged approximately 130,000 ounces/year over the last 10 years.
As we continue looking toward the future, we look back at the rich history this county has – those little boys that discovered gold while trying to find treasure like their fathers – and we thank the many that came to this County to start a better life for themselves and their family.
It is because of the groundwork laid by these hardworking pioneers that the Imperial Valley stands ready for new and exciting opportunities.
Thanks to them we present to you: IMPERIAL GOLD.