Today Lily Absinthe went on the road to Oro Grande, California to attend the 2nd Annual Oro Grande Days, a small Western-themed event centered on the local history of the town and immediate area. Located along the Mojave River between Victorville and Adelanto, Oro Grande was originally founded as a mining town in January 1881 as a result of a series of silver strikes in the surrounding area (the town was originally named Halleck). While it lacked the notoriety of other mining towns of the period, it played a role in the initial settlement of the area and illustrates the key role that mining played in the settlement of the West. Another interesting fact is that Route 66 and the Union Pacific Railroad passes through Oro Grande.
For us, this is an area that we have never seen before and it perfectly symbolizes how the American West grew- it wasn’t flashy and there were no famous gunfights but rather it illustrates how mining was one of the key economic activities that joined the American West with the rest of the nation. We tend to associate mining in the American West with hordes of prospectors panning for gold in streams or digging holes in the desert but this was not really a true picture. Mining was a large-scale industrial activity requiring large amounts of capital to finance the construction of the massive infrastructure necessary to profitably mine not just for gold, but also for silver, copper, and a host of other materials. In fact, although gold gets most of the attention, it was more basic metals such copper, lead, zinc, et al. that were the foundation of the mining industry.
While mining was the foundation for the town, it was the 2nd Annual Oro Grande Days event that drew us to Oro Grande. Invited by a good friend to help judge a costume contest, we jumped at the opportunity to travel somewhere that we’d never been to before. The weather was overcast, cool, and windy with rain threatening at any minute but we were not deterred and fortunately, the rain held off. Due to the threat of rain, attendance was somewhat reduced and the contest itself went a lot faster than we expected so we found ourselves mostly socializing with a number of old friends and otherwise enjoying a day outdoors, away from the atelier.
Below is a picture from the event:
We had a good time and the event organizers went out of their way to make us feel welcome. We hope to return again in the future. 🙂