Ballarat, California

  

Ballarat Details

Status: Ghost Town

Date Settled: 1896

Current Population: 2

Peak Population: ~500

Elevation: 1,079 Feet (329 meters)

Primary Mineral: Supply center

State: California

Gallery: View 11 Ballarat, California Photos



Ballarat Description

Ballarat was founded in 1896 as a supply point for the mines in the canyons of the Panamint Range. A quarter-mile to the south is Post Office Springs, a reliable water source used since the 1850s by prospectors and desert wanderers. George Riggins, a young immigrant from Australia, gave Ballarat its name when he proposed it should be named for Ballarat, Victoria, in the heart of Australia's gold country.

In its heyday - from 1897 to 1905 - Ballarat had 400 to 500 residents. It hosted seven saloons, three hotels, a Wells Fargo station, post office (that opened in 1897), school, a jail and morgue, but no churches. Ballarat was a place for miners and prospectors in the area to resupply and relax.

The town began its decline when the Ratcliff Mine, in Pleasant Canyon east of town, suspended operations. Other mines nearby also began to play out, and in 1917 the post office closed and all that remained were a few diehard prospectors and desert rats.

In the 1960s, Charles Manson and the "Manson Family" of killers moved into a ranch south of Ballarat, and left graffiti in the town. The 1969 movie Easy Rider has a scene filmed in Ballarat; after arriving in the town, Peter Fonda's character, Wyatt, removes his Rolex watch and throws it away before he and Dennis Hopper's character, Billy, head east on their motorcycles towards New Orleans.

Wikipedia.org

Did You Know.......

A mine is a hole in the ground, owned by a liar.
-Mark Twain

Search

Recent Posts


Popular Tags

1906 San Francisco Earthquake Best Historical Photos Best Of Mining Era Structures Cemeteries Churches Gambling Towns Headframes Historical Commercial Buildings Historical Homes Hotels Mining Machinery Smelters Stamp Mills Victorian Homes Winter Scenes View All Tags