Restored to its former glory of the Gold Rush era, travelers are transported back in time when they visit The Randsburg Living Ghost Town located just off Highway 395 in eastern Kern County.
First discovered in 1895, prospectors flocked to the area 17 miles south of Ridgecrest and quickly formed Rand Camp named after the Witwatersrand mining area in South Africa.
At one time the area boomed to nearly 3,000 miners, but is now home to less than 70 people who inhabit the once abandoned gold and silver mining settlement.
Situated in the Rand Mountains at an elevation of 3,500 feet, the mine has produced a reported $25 million in gold and silver and today employs over 80 people around the clock.
While current mining production for the Rand Mining Company is shrouded in secrecy, rumor has is that it turns out about 5,000 ounces of gold a month.
Although gold fever is no longer the main draw, the town still attracts visitors and passersby's who often stop to explore its historic past and peculiar shops.
Sprinkled along the town's main drag amid various decaying structures and historical monuments, including a small jail cell and a variety of rusted out abandoned vehicles, are a couple of antique stores, an authentic western saloon, an opera house, a general store with an old fashioned soda fountain, two small inns, and the infamous "Joint" where travelers can quench their thirst.
Nearby Historical Marker No. 938 designates The Rand Desert Museum. Built in 1942 it is one of the first museums in Kern County. Inside are some amazing relics and outside is an area full of rusty mining machinery including a Five-Ton Steam Locomotive used in the Yellow Aster Mine in the early 1900s.The museum is open weekends and long weekend holidays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free.
Besides attracting history buffs, rock hounds are often seen sifting through the silt in search of that rare and perfect gem, as well as off-roaders who come to explore this peculiar little spot on the map.
Getting to Randsburg is an easy one-hour drive from Tehachapi, which begins heading east on Highway 58 towards to Mojave. Then traveling north on Highway 14, take the Redrock Randsburg Road cutoff 20 miles to town.