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21I Silver Peak

Location: San Bernardino County, California

Named after the long history of mining in the area. A party of Texans first found silver on the South slope of this peak (1873). This resulted in the short-lived Arlington Mining District and its many colorful characters, such as "Cactus Jim" Johnson, who carved out a wagon road on nearby "Johnson's Grade". He is buried on this summit.

Silver (Ag), Element 47 has always been prized and is today used by two thirds of the world as money. With gold, it was one of the first known metals. Used by the Chaldeans (ca. 450OBCE), and first minted as money by King Gyges of Lydia (716-678BCE).

Although it may not have been considered by the namers of the peak, it also has a number of symbolic meanings. Silver almost universally represents the moon and all of its associations. To alchemists it was linked with birth. It is a symbol of purity, but not usually of the higher things of life. Silver charms are used throughout the world. Folklore allows silver a number of functions, among which is its use as a magical weapon: the Lone Ranger (Hi yo ... !) used silver bullets to strike fear into the hearts of bad hombres, but any instrument tipped with silver is believed capable of killing a ghost, sorcerer, witch, giant, or a person who leads a charmed life!

It's believed that this peak was once known to the Cahuilla Indians as Makaveat.

Gudde notes about 25 similarly named features in California.

Name first appears on USFS San Bernardino National Forest map (1959).

Peak was added to the HPS Peak List in 1954.


Hundred Peaks Section, Angeles Chapter, Sierra Club
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Updated 25-February-2003