Ghost Town Explorer
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NEW IDRIA CALIFORNIA
Nothing New About It

Unoccupied Ghost Town
San Benito County
Circa 1851 to 1972 

A team of tattered prospectors crossed over the Diablo Mountain Range in 1853 and discovered a rich deposit of cinnabar. They formed the New Idria Quicksilver Mining Company. Although the land was remote and the terrain was difficult, Spanish settlers had already found their way to the area surrounding New Idria many years earlier, most of them homesteaded and set up farms and ranches on the flatter lands. 

An earlier discovery was made in 1851 only a few miles south. Those hopefuls named their find the Aurora Mine after they thought they had discovered silver. The silver turned out to be chromite and the project failed. 

By 1854 a town site was forming below the New Idria Mine. Homes and businesses sprouted around the mine buildings on the valley floor below. By 1858 the New Idria Mining Co. employed as many as 90 employees. By 1867 the school house in New Idria opened its doors to the town's children, and in 1869 the post office in New Idria began operations as the town continued to show promise. 

The town's remote location attracted its share of criminal activity over the years. In the 1850's one of California's most feared highwaymen, Joaquin Murrieta, was rumored to have passed through town regularly. In 1873 Central California's notorious bandit Tiburcio Vasquez murdered three people at nearby Tres Pinos and took refuge near New Idria. In 1887 San Benito County petitioned the location of the New Idria mines as being in their county. It was later learned that Fresno County surrendered to the petition in order to rid the burden of prosecuting all the criminals that were employed by the mines. 

In 1896 the New Idria Quicksilver Mining Company took over operations after purchasing the New Idria Mining Company and continued operations up until 1920 when it filed for bankruptcy. Mining operations resumed in 1923 under the new name of New Idria Quicksilver Mines, Inc. The mines were visited by President Herbert Hoover in 1936. By 1948 Quicksilver Prices had dropped and the mine operations began lay offs, although survived through the next century working skeletal crews as small as 20 men. It was in 1972 that all operations had finally seized never to reopen. 

Today the land that comprises the New Idria Mines and town is surrounded by both private property and BLM lands. There are occupants living on the most Northern section of land on the upper shelf, but the rest of the site is unoccupied. After inspecting the interiors of some of the buildings, we had noticed signs of more recent occupancy probably by squatters. About half of the remaining buildings appear to have been remodeled or built post 1920's. The oldest remaining buildings are located on the upper section of town behind the town's main street.

New Idria has been assigned State Historic Landmark # 324And private operations are underway to preserve and protect the ghost towns existenceIf you are interested in this preservation please visit www.new-idria.org to assist.

 

Ghost Town Explorer
View of Mine Buildings from Above

Ghost Town Explorer
Remaining Home in the Lower Valley of Town

Ghost Town Explorer
Mine Mill

Ghost Town Explorer
Original 1800's buildings located in the upper valley

Ghost Town Explorer
Newer buildings on towns main street

Ghost Town Explorer
Structure found in the upper valley of town. Notice the hitching post in front.

Ghost Town Explorer     Ghost Town Explorer


Ghost Town Explorer
View of Vallecitos Canyon below the New Idria Mine

 

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