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21H Gold Mountain

Location: San Bernardino County, California

Named for what was once thought to be the primary component of this peak Briefly called "Carters Mountain" after Barney and Charlie Carter who convinced a large number of people that their mining claims were atop a "Mountain of Gold" (1873). The San Bernardino Guardian carried just such a headline and this aided in creating a headlong dash into the Big Bear area. The Carter's quickly sold their mines for $30,000 to an agent of Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin (1828-1909). Baldwin proceeded to buy out other claims until he possessed about half of the mountain and most of the east side of Big Bear Lake. The crown of this peak contained an enormous quartz vein: about two miles long, between 50 to 100 feet across and 85 feet deep. Enroute to visit his new property, Baldwin fell in love with the Santa Anita area and immediately purchased land for his home-now the State and County Arboretum. The gold ore proved to be of a lower grade than had been hoped. But thought to be potentially profitable if the rock could crushed to better extract the gold. Baldwin responded by building a mammoth 40-stamp mill on the side of what everyone now called "Gold Mountain". The town of Doble sprang up nearby and plans were made for a 100-stamp mill. The boom of activity lasted about two months before Baldwin came to believe that he had been stung and withdrew.

At the base of this mountain, in the flat that is still called "Baldwin Lake" is probably one of the most sacred locations in southern California. Cauhuilla, Luiseño, Cupeño, Serrano and Gabrieleño Indians believe this to be the cremation site of "Kukitat", one of the brother creation dieties, in the greatest of their epic sagas. Many Indians today would prefer that reverence for this spot remain their secret

Although it is unlikely to have been considered here, gold (Au) the 79th element is also symbolic of the sun, the word, and reason. Gudde notes over 100 California place names using the term "gold".

Name first appears on USGS Southern California Sheet #1 (1901).

Peak was on the original 1946 HPS Peak List.


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Updated 25-February-2003