Cerro Gordo landmarks lost in fire

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Cerro Gordo landmarks lost in fireSeveral historic buildings in Cerro Gordo were destroyed in a fire Sunday, June 15.

The ghost town, located about 80 miles north of here, was home to what was at one point the most productive silver mine in California (see related story: news-ridgecrest.com/news/story.pl?id=0000011526).

Although Inyo County does not have a fire department, the Olancha-Cartago and Lone Pine volunteer brigades were among those that responded to the call for help. By press time, officials had not responded to requests for more detail.

Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, officials are speculating the source to be related to old electrical wiring. According to the “Friends of Cerro Gordo” Facebook page, propane tanks at the American Hotel caught fire and exploded around 2 a.m., enveloping the hotel and nearby Crapo House and Ice House. Each of those structures was lost.

No injuries were reported.

The bunk house, museum, chapel, the Belshaw, the Gordon, Chinaman’s and Hunter Huse were reportedly untouched by the fire.

“Everyone was asleep in the resident buildings when the fire broke out, and fortunately the wind was in their favor,” reads a post on the Friends of Cerro Gordo Facebook page.

Followers have partnered with owners Brent Underwood and Jon Bier in fund-raising efforts to rebuild the hotel, which was first erected in 1871.

“The American Hotel was the crown jewel of Cerro Gordo. And now it’s gone.”

A link to the Go Fund Me page is available on the Friends of Cerro Gordo FB page.


Pictured: Firefighters from the Inyo County communities battle a fire that destroyed three historic buildings in the old mining town of Cerro Gordo. — Courtesy photo

Story First Published: 2020-06-19