Hedges, Imperial County, California
Contributed by Steve Paul Johnson [email@example.com].
In 1884, gold ore was discovered at the base of the Cargo Muchacho Mountains about 5 miles north-east of Ogilby. A gold mining operation grew, and was initially named, "Gold Rock Camp". From the 1890's up until 1905, it was known as "Hedges", named for C.L. Hedges, a vice president of the Golden Cross Milling & Mining Company.
By 1905, Hedges boasted a population of 500 people, and as many as 3,000 in the greater mining district. There was school, a church, two cemeteries, a library, boarding house, miners club, a hospital, a bar with girls, and 102 households. In the same year, Hedges went broke, and the town was quickly abandoned.
In 1910, The United Mines Company (TUMCO) purchased the mines and the town was renamed to Tumco. But it lasted only three years, and was shut down. Others had come in and tried to work the mines, but to no avail. In 1949, the mining town became a ghost town for good.
Hedges had maintained two cemeteries. There was one within the town limits, and is referred to as "West Neighborhood Cemetery" in the BLM Trail Guide. The other is located outside of town limits, adjacent to the old trash dump. According to the proprietor of the Gold Rock Ranch R.V. Park, which lies just 1 mile west of Hedges, the former cemetery contains Protestant burials, while the latter contains Catholics.
I also discovered an area about 1,000 feet north of the Catholic cemetery where two recent graves are found.
- Hedges Protestant Cemetery (West Neighborhood Cemetery)
- Hedges Catholic Cemetery (just outside of town)
- Hedges Graves (1,000 feet north of Catholic Cemetery)
To reach Hedges, take Interstate 8 to County Highway S34 (also marked as the exit to Ogilby and Blythe). S34 lies about 15 miles west of the Arizona border. Head north on S34 for about 8.5 miles. You will come to the intersection of Gold Rock Ranch road. There is a sign here marking the entrance to Hedges - Tumco Mine, as well as the Gold Rock Ranch R.V. Park. Hedges is on the east side of S34. Head east on Gold Rock Ranch road and you will be taken to the trail head.
You cannot drive into Hedges itself. The town is accessible only by foot. At the trailhead there is a map and history of the town. A trail takes you past the various sites.
The trail, however, does not take you into the Catholic Cemetery, nor is the cemetery marked on the maps.
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