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Ballarat was named after an Australian gold camp by one of its first residents, an Australian immigrant named George Riggins It was in the original Australian town of Ballarat that the first gold was discovered in that country in 1851. Ballarat sits at the base of the Panamint Mountain Range, Ballarat began in 1897 as a supply point for the mines in the canyons of the Panamint Mountain Range. The main mine supporting the town was the Radcliffe in Pleasant Canyon just east of town. Between the years of 1898 and 1903, the Radcliff would produce 15,000 tons of gold ore.

The town was founded in 1897. In its heyday...from 1897 to 1905...Ballarat had 400 to 500 residents. It hosted seven saloons, three hotels, a Wells Fargo station, post office (that opened in 1897), school, a jail and morgue, but no churches. Ballarat was a place for miners and prospectors in the area to resupply and relax.

The town began its decline when the Ratcliff Mine, in Pleasant Canyon east of town, suspended operations. Other mines nearby also began to play out, and in 1917 the post office closed and all that remained were a few diehard prospectors and desert rats.

In the 1960s, Charles Manson and the "Manson Family" of killers moved into a ranch south of Ballarat, and left graffiti in the town. The 1969 movie Easy Rider has a scene filmed in Ballarat; after arriving in the town, Peter Fonda's character, Wyatt, removes his Rolex watch and throws it away before he and Dennis Hopper's character, Billy, head east on their motorcycles towards New Orleans.

 

 

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FAA Air Traffic Control Radar Facility for Edwards AFB approach - located outside of Ballarat

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Ballarat in the distance

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Population "More or Less" and "Nude Dancing Burros."

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This old Dodge Power Wagon is being proclaimed to be Charles Mansion's old truck, but in fact it is not. This truck is just another Power Wagon which was the preferred vehicle for moving ore and heavy equipment in desert mining areas. It has been recently brought to my attention that the real Dodge Power Wagon, that was stolen by the Manson Family from a furniture store in Ridgecrest, is actually located near Barkers Ranch in a ravine. The truck's location is known by only a few people who were involved in the raid at the ranch.

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Old Schoolhouse

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Jailhouse and Morgue - Note building anchors, due to high winds.

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Cemetery

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Last full-time resident Seldom Seen Slim's Headstone - half coyote & half wild burro

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