Kern Antelope Historical Society A Brief History
Glenn and Dorene Settle formed the Kern Antelope Historical Society in 1959.
Very few non-native people were bold enough to travel between the springs in the vast Mojave desert until there was silver discovered around 1864 on a 9,188 foot summit in the Inyo Mountain Range that was to become known as Cerro Gordo; "Fat Hill" or "Fat Mountain."
The towns of Mojave, Rosamond, Lancaster and Palmdale were built around the newly arriving Southern Pacific railroad during the years of 1876-1882. Borax was discovered in Death Valley in 1881. The biggest challenge was finding a way to get it to the railroad junction in Mojave. The now famous twenty-mule teams hauled their 11-ton loads from 190 feet below sea level in Death Valley to Mojave, 2,600 feet above sea level, a 165-mile route. Borax was later discovered just north of the town of Boron. It is the world's largest operational open pit borax mine.
Glenn Settle, local mining veteran and noted historian explains, "Mojave's first gold strike came about when W.W. Bowers, a passenger on a train passing through Mojave, noticed Native Americans selling trinkets, including quartz crystals, to passengers at the local railroad station and the Harvey House".
In 1894, Ezra Hamilton discovered gold at Tropical Hill, five miles west of Rosamond. Six years later Hamilton began building a health resort at Willow Springs.
Other famous people also made use of the well-traveled route through Willow Springs: Native Americans, Father Garces, Jedediah Smith, John Fremont and Kit Carson.
In 1910, the Corum family homesteaded land on the west side of the Roger Dry Lake. A small town soon sprang up - Muroc, Corum spelled backwards. The U.S. military in 1933 established a permanent camp at Muroc Dry Lake.
On October 14, 1947, Captain Chuck Yeager became the first man to break the sound barrier flying the X-1 aircraft over Muroc Air Force Base. In 1950, the name was changed to Edwards Air Force Base and has become world renown in forging the future of air and space travel.
Written by Shannon Clark