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Thread: Structure Remains At Aurora

  1. #1
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    Question Structure Remains At Aurora

    When descending down in to the townsite of Aurora from the cemetery there is a large cement wall off to the right just as you are nearing where the main street was. Does anyone know what this building structure was?

    There is also the back side of a single story building (intact) on the valley floor (main street area) that resembles an old shack, but it appears that there is a false front to that building facing the opposite direction away from the road. anyone know what this building was?
    High Desert Drifter
    Ghost Town Explorations
    www.ghosttownexplorer.com

  2. #2
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    I have discussed with a couple of historians what that wall is, and there are different theories. So I'd say it's anybody's guess. Without going back and searching through old notes & digging up my book on Aurora, I tend to believe it was one of the hotels. I think the problem is, that it was different things during different time periods. So far as the other structure you are talking about, I don't have a clue what it was.
    Cecile
    ------------------------
    Well behaved women
    rarely make history -
    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
    www.explorehistoricalif.com
    www.cerrogordo.us

  3. #3
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    Cool Structure Remains At Aurora

    Thanks Cecile. How is everything at Cerro Gordo? I keep trying to head up that way but something always comes up. I sure would love to spend a weekend there and at the Saline Valley.
    High Desert Drifter
    Ghost Town Explorations
    www.ghosttownexplorer.com

  4. #4
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    Things are great at Cerro Gordo. I was up there for 5 days in May and a week ago I spent another 4 days. Recent storms apparently washed out the Yellow Grade Road, but I believe the road crews have repaired it in the last few days.

    If you get a chance to go to Cerro Gordo, owner Mike Patterson now sells an assortment of creatively named brand root beers, ginger beers & creme sodas at the newly built bar in the American Hotel to quench your thirst while you are taking the town tour. He'll happily tell you a few yarns, tall or true, while you are there, as well. It's rumoured that a few local historians hang out there once in a blue moon.

    In a few weeks I'll actually be in Bodie, and may have an opportunity to head to Aurora for a visit if I get a chance, then after that it's back to Cerro Gordo!
    Cecile
    ------------------------
    Well behaved women
    rarely make history -
    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
    www.explorehistoricalif.com
    www.cerrogordo.us

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by High Desert Drifter
    When descending down in to the townsite of Aurora from the cemetery there is a large cement wall off to the right just as you are nearing where the main street was. Does anyone know what this building structure was?

    There is also the back side of a single story building (intact) on the valley floor (main street area) that resembles an old shack, but it appears that there is a false front to that building facing the opposite direction away from the road. anyone know what this building was?
    I believe the concrete wall is the remains of one of Aurora's several banks . . . Probably built by, or at least partly financed with Wells Fargo money.
    Rockcrusher
    110,000 square miles of desert to play in . . . And the government owns 87% of it

  6. #6
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    Yes, actually, I have heard that it was a bank also, at least in more modern times. During it's heyday, I'm inclined to believe it was the Exchange Hotel in that spot, from looking at the maps. In more recent years however, I imagine it was a bank, as a friend of mine took some former residents of Aurora out there and one lady remembered it as a bank.

    Half the fun of going to Aurora is standing at that wall and arguing with my friend Marty over what that wall is, as we look at the maps from two different books on Aurora. He's inclined to believe it was a mill, but I'm convinced it was a hotel. Sure would be fun to time travel and find out!
    Cecile
    ------------------------
    Well behaved women
    rarely make history -
    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
    www.explorehistoricalif.com
    www.cerrogordo.us

  7. #7
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    Much of the information I have about that part of the world came from an old guy that lived in Hawthorne when we lived there in the 1970's. At the time, he was probably in his late 70's - early 80's. Unfortunately, most of my notes, maps, photos, etc., went missing during the course of 5 or 6 international moves after we left Hawthorne.

    I'll try to salvage a few fried synapses and put together what I remember . . . More to follow!
    Rockcrusher
    110,000 square miles of desert to play in . . . And the government owns 87% of it

  8. #8
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    Wink Structure Remains At Aurora

    Thanks Guys, Excellent stuff. Cecile, I will definately be tasting that Rootbeer some day soon. By the way, while your visiting the Aurora area, should you happen to stop by the Historical Society / Museum in Lee Vining, Say Hi to Norm Dechambeau for me (Frank from San Jose). I like to check up on him from time to time. He is getting older and the weather seems to wear on him.
    High Desert Drifter
    Ghost Town Explorations
    www.ghosttownexplorer.com

  9. #9
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    Hey, I met Norm DeChambeau for the first tme in June. We went to an event put on by the historical society called Ghost of the Sagebrush Tour. Bodie Ranger Terri Geisinger, who is a friend of mine, had put the event together and invited us to come, but couldn't be there because of a family emergency, so Norm wound up heading the actual event. We met at the Cain Ranch, I believe it was, and several pioneer families told their stories, then we drove up a dirt road to Little Walker Lake where there is a private fishing resort. We had lunch there and heard more pioneer family stories.

    The day of the event it turned cold suddenly, and we had wind, we even had hail & thunder storms while driving to the ranch that morning, but we all braved the weather for the history talks. It got so cold many of us ran to our vehicles and pulled out old blankets to bundle up with in addition to our coats and gloves. Norm didn't seem to let the weather bother him though, and he was in fine humour as he spoke, even put on a high pitched voice pretending to be Terri Geisinger since he was taking her place. At the lake he had a great story about how his family might have had ownership rights to it, too, which he read with permission from the present owner, and got a good laugh from everyone.

    We also met Don Banta, who was quite helpful
    with some concerns we had over a mining site
    the hisorical society owns. What a great group of people the Mono Basin Historical Society are!

    Anyway, can't wait to hear more Aurora stories, if Rockcrusher comes up with them! I can't remember the specifics, but an Indian man who spoke at this historical society event talked to us about Aurora also in a private conversation we had with him.
    Cecile
    ------------------------
    Well behaved women
    rarely make history -
    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
    www.explorehistoricalif.com
    www.cerrogordo.us

  10. #10
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    Thumbs up Aurora Site

    Thats awesome ! Norm is a real charactor. We had lunch last year here in San Jose, Ca. He has a wealth of historical information on the ranches there on the Mono Basin. Their history is a must for historians interested in the surrounding ghost towns, as they played a vital role in supporting those towns not only with food but also as stage stops for service between the towns. Norm has an excellent story about his family (Dechambeau of Dechambeau Ranch) assisting with rescue efforts of the Jordan snow slide. Also confirms the story of Bodie resident and famous murder story involving Joseph DeRoche who fled Bodie after murdering a miner during a squable for the miners wife. (DeRoche later being apprehended at the Goat Ranch on the Mono Basin).

    Anyway, lots of history in the Mono Basin. Turns out I will be in the area around the weekend of Aug. 13th. to do some exploring around the back side of Masonic. If you see Norm before me give him a big hello!
    High Desert Drifter
    Ghost Town Explorations
    www.ghosttownexplorer.com

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