Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Step right up gents, place your bet. Don't be shy. Place your bet. Three card monte... faro... go ahead buck that tiger. You can be a winner... Place your bet, lay down that long pouch boys! Just a thousand, you can dig that much gold, err- glass in a good afternoon. There are Millers to be found, maybe a Clubhouse for sure.

Cerro Gordo is the new game in town. For one thousand dollars up front, you can have a chance to dig Cerro. Then you have to split what you find with the land owner. The remaining 1/2 you can keep after you share it with the other gamers. Sound interesting?

I am being very facetious here. The plan is being worked up and is not quite finalized. I don't know if the 1000.00 is for each participant, or the deposit for the entire dig. I have a feeling it is for each digger. This information was emailed to me from Fred Holabird Americana. I know he has been working with the current land owner, Mike Patterson, to possibly help Mike find a buyer for the property. Mike and his wife, Jody Stewart, worked very hard to reconstruct and refurbish some of the landmark buildings in town and actually had advertised Cerro Gordo as an "authentic ghost town bed and breakfast". They were starting to hold activities, mineral, and mining workshops in Cerro Gordo. Most unfortunately Jody became ill, and passed away in Dec. 2001.

I had dinner with Mike and Jody in 1997 on a digging trip to Cerro. They treated me and my party like we were kings! We had brought sleeping bags, etc for a camp out, but Jody and Mike would have none of that. They put us up for a couple of nights in one of the bunkhouses they were refurbishing. Mike stopped in and had a couple of beers with us and gave us the detailed history of the town and the surrounding area. He knows his stuff, mining and construction! On our last night in town, Jody was our cook and server as they joined us for dinner at the American Hotel - Cerro Gordo.

So I really can't, and should not, bad mouth this digging plan too hard. In a perfect world, Mike would be able to raise funds to continue Jody's and his dream, and diggers would have a chance to find some nice bottles. Maybe this will work. I hope so for Mike Patterson's sake. If someone buys the property, I think the digging would be history.


  1. im game if i can bring my back hoe
    mole man

  2. Cerro is no virgin, that's for sure. It was hit hard in the late '60s, but should still be holding nicely today. Heavy "rock-a-rama", though.

  3. I've never seen a pic of that place that showed more than 25 or so bldgs. How 'bout anyone else? Do the mine production figures jive w/ the claims of thousands of people living there? Seems like it, just would be nice to see a pic or two of the place when it was boomin. That town was "hoed" in the 90s a bit by some Bishop area diggers and only gave up blacks and ginger beers. I'm with G.O. on this one. The tariff sounds mighty stiff, and to dig a place that only legends of good bottles exist. I've never talked to anyone that ever even dug a Miller's there. Hard to believe, if a hundred or so were supposed to have been found up there.
    If it happens, I'll be at the bottom of the road selling picks and shovels to you guys !

  4. Cerro has been hit hard!! Like A.P. noted, the backhoe boys from Bishop gave it a whirl and didn't even pay for their fuel. Much of the early town is under some massive mine dumps. A couple of backhoes wouldn't even put a dent in those dumps. We were there in March of 1997 and much of the ground was still frozen that spring. Three diggers, 2full days digging - 2 blacks, 2 crockery beers, an Original Budweiser stained white! Where are the Miller's flasks Thomas indicates so many were found whole and broken? Not even a shard of a Miller's flask. They are all fifths! We found a 1/2 dozen broken fifths. Two broken in the layer with the Bud. Mike had a whole one last year he was trying to sell. Might still have it. I don't know if anyone has ever found a broken Clubhouse in Cerro. The green one found in 1971 was in a charcoal burners camp a few miles away. Probably came from Morrison's saloon in Columbus. HAR!

  5. Hell, I might even setup next to you and sell water and snow cones. Heh heh.

  6. I called one of the Bishop "backhoe boys" this morning to get the direct scoop on what happened during the backhoe dig at Cerro.
    They sure moved a lot of material for very little bottles, I was told nothing of value was discovered. I don't know if they were in the right area and from what I gather neither did they. They wanted to be under the big tailing piles but it was too big a job to tackle. T.C., one of the diggers, said two backhoe's wouldn't put a dent in the tailing piles, that a big excavator was what you needed and there was no way to get one to the site. Hmm? (you can make your way to any site with an excavator)One other thing he mentioned was this is California and trying to move that big a pile of mine waste might send off bells & whistles with the wrong agency..........
    In my opinion this Cerro Gordo thing is about as funky as it gets. Even though you have permission from the owner you are paying for the right to use his property. What liabilities does the digger assume after he pays his dues? Getting hooked up with the wrong agencies in California just might put the price of that Miller's up there with a green Clubhouse.


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