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Newsletter 2012

Goodsprings Historical Society

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Goodsprings Historical Society
Newsletter #12 Spring 2012


The Goodsprings Historical Society invites all old friends from Goodsprings, Jean, Sandy Valley, Erie, Potosi, Roach, Sloan, Stateline (Primm), and all new friends to join us for conversations about the past and future. See the Goodsprings School historical collection, tour the smallest and oldest school in Clark County, enjoy a potluck meal and meet some old timers, walk or drive the town and see some old buildings, visit the 98-year-old Pioneer Saloon, and stop at the town cemetery on your way out of town. Please mark your calendars and enjoy these 2 special days in Goodsprings.


9:00: Registration/Donuts and coffee - Community Center

10:00: Historical School Displays at the old clubhouse
(Sat. and Sun.)

12:00-3:00 Goodsprings School will be open

12:30 Potluck Lunch (bring your favorite meat dish, salad, or dessert

2:15 Group Photo

2:30 Goodsprings Historical Society Annual Meeting
Please pay your membership dues before the GHS meeting.

4:00 Goodsprings Cemetery Assoc. Meeting

SUNDAY, MAY 6, 2012

8-11:00 Traditional Miner's Breakfast - Community Center

1:00 Potluck Lunch

2:00 Music in the Park

GOODSPRINGS SCHOOL IS TURNING 100. The 2012-2013 school year will be the 100th year that our school has educated students. Activities are being planned to honor this historical event throughout the year. Suggestions and donations are needed and welcomed.

We are thankful to Clark County School District and our School Board representative Carolyn Edwards for allowing the school to stay open long enough to celebrate this event. As your Historical Society Board, we have committed to help pay expenses for the school.

Donations for our school can be sent to: Public Education Foundation, 3360 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 160, Las Vegas, NV 89102 or go to www.ccpef.org. BE SURE TO MARK IT GOODSPRINGS SCHOOL OR ACCOUNT #6725.

2011-2012 The Year in Review

Annual Meeting: The Goodsprings Historical Society annual meeting followed the potluck on Saturday. Paul Hughes and Bill Hamilton were recognized for their work in keeping the Old Timer's Reunion going through their yearly invitations and reports. Two Trustees (Stephanie Stephens and Dave Beisecker) were elected by the group: Fleming reported the school is still open and has enough students to continue for 2011-2012. Bobbie Poole and Julie Newberry are working on a Goodsprings School book which will be available for the 100th anniversary of the school. Ruth Rawlinson reported that another Veteran's memorial stone will be placed at the Goodsprings Cemetery. Barbara Schwartz presented the GHS with a genealogical history of her great grandfather A.E. Campbell. Her donation included a collection of memorabilia and ephemera related to Mr. Campbell and the early mining history of the area. Fleming announced a committee has been formed to investigate the possibility of holding a Goodsprings Days event in the Fall. The event may have a parade, craft booths and children's games.

Summer: Planning and preparation for Goodsprings Daze which was held Sept. 24. Volunteer Cheryl Lee spearheaded the event and provided manpower, funds and organization. The event had food, games, crafts, contests, a Nature multimedia presentation and the dedication of the Yellow Pine Railroad sign. A highlight of the day was the WWII air show which concluded the event. Bad weather, a smaller than expected turnout, and some logistical problems were the only negatives for what was a fun day.

Fall: David Lowe organized a Sandy Valley field trip for GHS members in October. The trip featured a discussion on Frank Williams' life in Sandy by his granddaughter Leann Purdy and a tour of Sandy historic sites with Rob Spurlock.

Winter: The November Bingo night to raise funds for the Goodsprings Children's Christmas project was held Nov. 12. The annual Christmas Program at the school featured a play written by Julie Newberry that highlighted the history of the school. Presents for the children who attend school in Goodsprings and little ones who live in Goodsprings were distributed by Santa.

Spring: It is never dull in Goodsprings. This season has brought Ghost Hunters wandering the streets, a new power line for solar energy, and the reemergence of the MolyCorp mine at Mountain Pass. The impact of these events on Goodsprings' future is unknown, but GHS has an active advocacy group which is diligent about protecting historic Goodsprings. Our big yearly event is May 5 and 6 this year and plans are in the works for another great time. Please come. Bring your favorite dish, your photos, your memories and your families. We have a few new activities planned which should be fun. See you in May.

In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that we report the loss of Goodsprings Old-Timers Les Wille, Patricia Poole, Bob Spurlock, Earl Lee, Maxine Scroggins, Chuck Santelman, and Anna Inman. If you know of any others, please let us know.

The Chiquita Mine

Photos from the Jane Fleming collection.

Chiquita Mine


In the early 1900s, the lead and zinc mines of the Yellow Pine District made Goodsprings a mining boomtown. Ten years later, low demand and low prices for these ores forced a shutdown of most of the Goodsprings mines. That might have been it for Goodsprings.

However, in 1932 a new mine (the Chiquita) and a new metal (gold) recreated that early excitement. The Las Vegas Age newspaper reported enthusiastically that the Chiquita gold strike rivaled the Comstock and Goldfield strikes in richness of ore. The Chiquita was originally staked by A. J. Robbins in 1900. Its claims abutted the Keystone mine which produced several million dollars in gold from 1894-1907. The Chiquita had not shown the Keystone values and had been largely abandoned when a group of Goodsprings miners: the Smith brothers (James, Jack and Phil), Fred Reim, Sam McClanahan and Tom Keeler talked storekeeper Otto Schwartz into giving them a grubstake to purchase the Chiquita claims and begin mining.

Dismissing the belief that the gold ore would be in the porphyry, the experienced miners drove a tunnel through the contact into the crushed lime zone where they discovered an immense body of high-grade ore. Early assays put the gold values at $30 a ton, and the extent of the gold deposits let the miners know they had a "Bonanza" on their hands.

What with the heavy troop and materiel traffic in support of the Pacific Theatre during World War II and with 4 children at home under the age of 8, the stress on this couple in their late 20s was intense. And, furthermore, both missed life on the desert.

News of the gold strike spread to Los Angeles where James Maxfield, a friend of Jack Smith, offered to finance development costs for the mine. An alliance was formed, with the miners transferring the property to The Chiquita Mining Company, Ltd, and Maxfield and associates agreeing to finance the development and equipment for the mine and to complete construction for a suitable mill.

Within a few months of the time of this deal, the shaft had been driven to 8 levels and on each level the ore body was followed for hundreds of feet by drifts. Engineers were employed, a boarding house was built, an engine house equipped with a Fairbanks Morse diesel engine and generator provided electricity for the mine. Water tanks were built and a tank truck hauled water from a spring 3 miles away from the mine. Twenty five miners were employed and the mine ran 24 hour shifts.

The hotel was actually more like a large resort/boarding house. It had about 20 guest rooms on the second floor. Each housed two or three men and the hotel was full. The ground floor was divided by a hotel lobby, which had a large staircase to the second floor. On the west side were family and VIP quarters, an office, a toilet and bath, a maid's work area and small stairs to the second floor. The East side housed a large ballroom, the kitchen and a scullery porch. The kitchen was fully equipped and employed a cook and dishwasher. The hotel employed a maid to clean the rooms and another woman to do the laundry. Upstairs there were two toilets but no shower or bath facilities. Guests ate at two long tables along one side of the large ballroom. During the workweek, the cook also prepared sack lunches for the miners. Along the opposite side of the ballroom was the bar. In the basement under the kitchen was the laundry, storeroom for the kitchen and bar. The showers were also in the basement.

In 1942, by Presidential order (Franklin Roosevelt) all mining operations in the U.S. were shut down so the miners could be used in the war effort. Several attempts were made to resurrect the Chiquita in the 50s, but they were unsuccessful.

Every morning the miners would climb aboard a flat bed truck at about 6:30 for the ride to their work. At about 3:30 p.m. they would return to the hotel. And none of them would have been recognized by their own mothers! Every pore of their bodies and every stitch of their clothes would be impregnated with a red and dirty dust. They made red footprints wherever they stepped. The truck delivered this unlovely bunch to the basement entrance where they went directly to the showers where they kept a fresh change of clothes.

Currently, the New Chiquita Mining Company (still managed by the descendents of James Maxfield) has leased the property to a Canadian Gold mining corporation.

Like all mines, there are numerous great tales about the Chiquita. One, the story of the Picnic Rock, goes like this. For many years, miners at the Chiquita ate their lunch on a large white boulder located just south of the mine. One day, Bill McClanahan dropped his pick which flaked off a chunk of the rock. Looking down he saw the sparkle of gold. The boulder eventually yielded 65 ounces of gold for a value of $1300. At today's price of gold, the boulder would have been a $100,000 table. Remember this when you are picnicking in Goodsprings.


1933 Sam McClanahan and Johnny Balance at the entrance to tunnel at the Chiquita


Wilson Pass 1937

1937 Clearing Wilson Pass Road to get to the Chiquita Mine: Tom Keeler, Bill McClanahan, Pat Sheehan, Sam McClanahan, Otto Schwartz & Bob Reed


Goodsprings School, the Forties

Submitted by Julie Newberry

When considering the 40s, people automatically think "Pearl Harbor" and "World War II." Those were the days of gas and sugar rationing, air raid drills, and scrap metal collection. Children were even asked to save the aluminum from their gum wrappers; however, no one ever came to pick up the metals. Soldiers visiting the school gave jeep rides to students. Some of those students remember watching the atomic bomb testing which would light up the sky behind Mount Potosi and rumble like thunder.

The town of Goodsprings still had gravel streets but offered many opportunities to the children. They could easily find their own fun. There were empty buildings where they would play, an abandoned steam locomotive, dances, and baseball/barbeque parties. Children found caves to explore and critters to catch. Wild burros and wild horses would run through town at night.

Then there was the day that Carole Lombard died on Mount Potosi and Clark Gable came to town. Children watched the rescue vehicles and search parties travel through town. Movies that were often filmed in town created excitement, especially the time Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were there.

But former Goodsprings students from that era remember much more. The school was the center of their lives. Teacher Sarah Williams, crippled from arthritis, continued for 7 more years. Her cane was still the school paddle. Some of the boys tried putting Prince Albert tobacco cans in their back pockets to lessen the blows. Miss Williams' class meetings were special, teaching students Roberts Rules of Order. Students were impressed with the fact that she personally knew the Wright Brothers. The spelling bees and math competitions with Ed Fleming were always a hit. The winner could take the basketball home for the weekend. Alice Woodward actually taught 35 students in grades 1-4.

For a while the school kept a pet dog named John Thomas Henry Carlson. His job was to enter the school each morning and scan for snakes. But he would also raise his head with a "woof" if the teacher called his name during roll. The bell on the roof continued to ring every day. It was a student's privilege to pull that cable and ring the bell. Once several boys climbed into the bell tower and wrote their names. This, obviously, was not sanctioned by a teacher.

Many children today will say their favorite subject is recess. It was also a beloved time of the day for children in the 40s. They loved their playground with its slide, swings, basketball hoop, and parallel bars. The merry-go-round was popular, especially when the older children would push the younger ones. But often they would run it so fast that the little kids slid off. The teeter totter was fun for all, but the older boys used it to buck off each other. The popular game "anti-I-over" was still played with two teams. The rules included throwing a ball over the school building to the other team. When it was discovered that this damaged the roof, this game was forbidden. Snow on the playground always meant snowball fights. Girls would often hide in their outhouse to keep from being hit.

Money was always tight, so some years the school would operate fewer days. Once the School Board stretched their funds by painting the lower half of the building one year and finishing the job the next.

The best event of the year was always the school's Christmas play. Some of the mothers sewed red and green net stockings and filled them with treats and gifts. Santa would appear after the play to hand them out. The Goodsprings school Christmas play may be one of the oldest on-going traditions in Nevada.

Thank you to all "Old Timers" who contributed their stories and pictures.

Amy Kemple bus

Annie Kemple bought this little school bus to drive students into Las Vegas for high school. Granddaughter Linda Barnes is in the back seat.

Photo courtesy of the Barnes family.


Ed Fleming and class
Alice Woodward and class



YP sign
New sign honoring The Yellow Pine Railroad
Liz & Susan
Liz Warren with County Commissioner Susan Brager
kid gamesGames for children
kid games
vintage fly over
A vintage airplane flies over Goodsprings to conclude the Daze events.


Election: There will be 2 positions on the Goodsprings Historical Society Board of Trustees that will be up for reelection in May. Trustee Lary Anderson who was a pivotal organizer and worker for Goodsprings Daze and Trustee Liz Warren, the GHS's most vocal advocate have indicated their willingness to run. All members are welcome to run for office. Please let one of the present Trustees know if you would like to be put on the ballot.

Membership Dues:

Thanks: Special thanks to Gold Members: Charles Brown & Maria Laffelmacher, Edward G. Fayle, Bob & Ann Osburn, Bobbie Poole, Claude & Elizabeth Warren

And to Lead/Zinc Members: Russ Decaro, Steve Fleming, Cheryl Lee and Carl Watson, Carolyn(Pack) & George Patchin.

Membership Dues: (check one)
Individual_______$5.00;    Gold Member__________$50.00;
Family__________$10.00;   Lead/Zinc Member____$100.00;

Name______________________________ Amount_____________



Send to: Goodsprings Historical Society, 
         Box 603, Goodsprings, NV 89019

Goodsprings Elementary School Book

The Goodsprings Historical Society is in the process of making a book about the Goodsprings Elementary School, including pictures, facts and as many memories and names as we are able to collect and have room to include. If you were a student, or teacher at the school, please share your memories and pictures. You may e-mail pictures as jpeg or stories in Word to Julie Newberry at julievegas at yahoo dot com or to Bobbie Poole at bpoole81 at embarqmail dot com. Or you may mail items to Julie at 1419 Angelbrook Ct, North Las Vegas, NV 89032 or to Bobbie at 7841 Heather Glen Ct, Las Vegas, NV 89123. If you send pictures, please include all dates and names and let us know if you need the picture returned. Thank you for sharing and preserving the history of the Goodsprings Elementary School.

The Goodsprings Historical Society, a nonprofit organization established in 2001 to preserve the historical and natural resources of the Goodsprings Township by educating the public about its environment, archaeology and history, publishes this newsletter yearly. www.goodsprings.org
Stephen Fleming
Lary Anderson
Dave Beisecker
Julie Newberry
David Lowe
Elizabeth Warren
Stephanie Stephens
Treasurer/Web site Manager: Mickey Moran
Secretary/Newsletter Editor: Mary Blake


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