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Hedges, Imperial County, California
Contributed by Steve Paul Johnson [firstname.lastname@example.org].
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.
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.
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)
GPS: 32.88118, -114.82913
This cemetery supposedly contains the remains of protestants. It lies in the neighborhood area of the Hedges - Tumco Mining town. There appears to be 15 graves, though there could have been more.
None of the graves have inscriptions.
Hedges Catholic Cemetery
This cemetery supposedly contains the remains of catholics. It lies just outside of town limits. It is not marked on the BLM Trail Guide. I counted 75 graves. None of the graves have inscriptions.
This cemetery lies near the old Hedges trash dump, just north of the trail-head. You can identify it by the wooden posts that surround it.
The Hedges trash dump is an eerie sight. Hundreds of thousands of rusted cans (fruit cans, soup cans, bean cans, etc.) cover an acre of land, and in some places with not a piece of earth showing through it. I'm sure that paper products were tossed here also, but over the years have disintegrated, and left only the cans to remain.
Hedges Pet Cemetery
The pet cemetery was not a part of the historic townsite of Hedges, but something that developed in recent years.
I found two graves lying about 1,000 feet north of the Catholic Cemetery. On the face of a hill there are series of rocks painted white and laid out in the form of a cross. Below that cross are the two graves.
There are inscriptions visible, but were painted, and have been withering away.
"Mindy", May 4, 199?
"Queene, ?? Wondefull Don", b. Jun 1960, d. 1974, age 14
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