Category Archives: History

Legend of Hacksaw Tom

Many stories have been told, re-told and written about the Apache Trail, a wonder of engineering that winds its way around the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. The Trail begins in Apache Junction makes a long loop past three lakes (Canyon, Apache and Roosevelt). The 135-miles drive takes one to the historic city of Globe and […]

Continue Reading...

A Day at Cottonwood Springs

Walter Feller, the writer of this article, revisits the old Cottonwood Springs and sees what’s it like today. I began reading an article written by Walter Ford, published in the December, 1959 issue of the old Desert magazine titled, Cottonwood Springs. I really wasn’t sure where the place was, although there was a photo included […]

Continue Reading...

Picacho, the Golden Road

Picacho Road was once the dusty path to gold riches for over 150 years. Today, it is the main entrance to the 6,769-acre Picacho State Recreation Area, and provides access to the Bureau of Land Management’s Picacho Peak and Little Picacho Wildernesses, the inactive Picacho gold mine, and the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge along the […]

Continue Reading...

Billy the Kid & Whiskey Jim

No one except the locals were particularly interested in the comings and goings of a young outlaw, just another small-time rustler in Lincoln County. It would not be until that fateful April day when the Kid shot his way out of the Courthouse that the world would begin to spell his name with capital letters. […]

Continue Reading...

Majorie Reed Desert Artist

Marjorie Reed is best known for her paintings of the stage stations and scenes along the Butterfield Overland Stage Route. Born in Springfield, Illinois in 1915, Reed’s family moved to southern California when she was twelve. Shortly afterward her father, Walter Reed, began working as a free lance graphic artist for Mission Engraving and Offset, […]

Continue Reading...

The Marshall/Wimmer Nugget

It was Dahlonega Mint assayer, Dr. Matthew Stephenson, who asked miners in his famous Courthouse speech to stay in Georgia rather then go to California. Pointing to Crown Mountain, he told them: “Boys, there’s millions in it!”1 A phrase later immortalized by Mark Twain. The miners left anyway to participate in the first global gold […]

Continue Reading...

Wyatt Earp in San Bernardino County: The Early Years

He spent more of his life in San Bernardino County, California, than anywhere else, but if the man had to depend on his exploits here to justify his claim to fame. He’d be remembered only as a citizen who preferred the solitude of the desert, to the bustle of the gambling halls and saloons of […]

Continue Reading...

Why “Z” instead of “S”?

I wanted to take just a moment to explain why I have used a Z in our name instead of the standard “S”. Simply said, it’s respect, the original Desert magazine was an icon for Southwest publications and who am I to tread on their name. They deserve the respect that they have earned, for […]

Continue Reading...

South Rides Again

There was another great western writer like Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour who featured areas of the Anza-Borrego desert in the setting for his novels. He was a writer who knew how to rivet the attention of the reader from the very first page of his novels. In the years that have passed, his name […]

Continue Reading...

Bum, SoCal’s First Canine Hero

In 1886 a steamship from San Francisco, the Santa Rosa, arrived in San Diego, and among those who got off the boat was a stowaway… a dog described as a St. Bernard-Spaniel mix. Someone began calling him “Bum” and the name stuck. He quickly adapted to life on land and made himself a member of […]

Continue Reading...

Campo The Forgotten Gunfight

As Tiburcio Vasquez uttered the word “Pronto” on that March day in 1875, the trap door swung open and the leader of one of the most notorious gangs of bandidos the state of California has ever seen dropped from the gallows. The rope snapped his neck, putting an end to the life of the convicted […]

Continue Reading...

Henderson, Man of the Desert

By Phil Brigandi He was driven, demanding, and notoriously tight-fisted, he also built one of America’s great regional magazines. For more than two decades he gave his heart and soul to Desert Magazine, and his legion of followers survives to this day. Randall Henderson was born about as far away from the desert as you […]

Continue Reading...

Murder at Monte Diablo

              On October 1st 1871, in a desolate lone cabin about a mile from Pinchowers store, near Bishop California, a trial was being held for three escaped convicts, but the verdict was already known. The trial lasted only two hours, and in the end, two of the men were […]

Continue Reading...

Shootout at the Bella Union

    At 4 p.m. on July 5, 1865, a high-society wedding took place in the brightly decorated ballroom of Los Angeles’ fashionable Bella Union Hotel. It was the social event of the season, with music, merrymaking and too much liquor. During the reception, an argument broke out between Undersheriff Andrew King and Carlisle. The […]

Continue Reading...

Myths of US Camel Experiment

  This article is courtesy of Doug Baum Perhaps no episode in American history is less understood and poorly interpreted than the U.S. Army Camel Experiment of the mid-19th century. It’s even been written that it “failed.” Reasons our country has no vestigial camel populations from the colorful period preceding the Civil War are many, […]

Continue Reading...