The community of Bairdstown was a boom town typical of those in the Western U.S. during the 19th century. It sprung up after 4 gold mining claims were filed on a ridge of Carter's Mountain (named for the 2 brothers filing the claims) just north of the town in November of 1873.
One of the first people to respond to reports of the claims was Samuel Baird. Baird was a veteran miner with financial contacts in San Francisco. It was through these contacts that he secured the financing to develop the mine. For a percentage of the profits, Elias "Lucky" Baldwin, a multimillionaire from his holdings of Nevada Silver Mines, agreed to pay 90% of these costs (see "Baldwin Mine" cache). Baird purchased the two richest claims from the Carters in December of 1873 for $30,000.
In February of 1874, Baird and 4 carpenters fought their way through the snows to a flat below the mine. Here they built a cabin and a blacksmith shop on what would be known as Bairdstown. By November of 1874,Carter's Mountain was now called Gold Mountain, and Bairdstown had 20 miner's cabins, a butcher shop, 2 boarding houses, and of course, 2 saloons. In March of 1875, when the new 40-stamp mill opened, it was reported that Bairdstown had "3 general stores, 2 livery stables, 3 restaurants, 2 boarding houses, several saloons, a blacksmith and shoeing shop, a tailor, a bakery, a Chinese wash house, a shoemaker, a barber, a meat market, and a slaughter house" (see "1875 Stamp Mill" Cache). Planners of the time estimated the population would eventually grow to 3000. As luck would have it, or not have it, within 2 months the mine began to play out. The quality of ore was a less than expected and by November of 1875 the mine and mill were shut down. The population of Bairdstown, now called Gold Mountain City on some maps, soon dwindled to almost nothing.
Bairdstown made a small comeback in 1893 when Budd Doble, Baldwin's son-in-law, tried his luck with the mine. After investing $25,000 to cover the start up costs, the mine was reopened. A Post Office was soon opened in Bairdstown and a request was made to name the Post Office Baldwin. This request was refused but the second request, Doble, was accepted. This ensured the that Bairdstown would forever be known as Doble. The mine failed to produce a profit sufficient to maintain operations and closed in 1895. Many historians feel that the town should have never been name after Bud Doble since he had so very little to do with the town itself.
Captain J. R. La Mar secured the rights to the Baldwin Mine in 1899 believing he could make a profit from the low quality ore using the new "Cyanide Process". A new 40-stamp mill was built to replace the 1875 mill that had burned to the ground in 1878 (see "1900 Stamp Mill" Cache). The population of Doble was growing and a school opened there in 1900. Though somewhat profitable, the mine was shut down in 1903. Doble again was basically a ghost town. The mine was opened periodically when others tried their luck until the early 1930's. By this time there were just a few residents remaining. The success of the town was linked always linked to that of the mine.
It was in the 1930's that Doble became a garbage dump. The town site was covered with piles of trash and abandoned vehicles. This may be why on some maps today this paved portion of the Holcomb Valley Road is called Doble Dump Road. Thankfully it has been cleaned up.
Some of the original buildings in Doble were still partially standing in the 1970's. All that is left of Doble today is some old pieces of lumber and the remains of a well that once served the town. All attempts at erecting a marker or monument have been destroyed by vandals. Imagine, if the mines had been really profitable, the valley’s center of commerce would now be here.
To get there you take Highway 18 to Holcomb Valley Road. This intersection is located at the northeast end of Baldwin Lake, just east of Big Bear Lake. Turn north onto Doble Dump Road and travel about one half mile. On the west side of the road you will see a break in the fence that is the entrance to a dirt road. Park here and you are about 100’ from the cache.
CAUTION: There is an open well about 150’ west of the cache near a fallen tree. This is the well mentioned above. It is filled in but it is still about 4’ deep. The opening is flush with the ground, so be careful!
Looking south at Doble, then and now. The picture on the left was taken in 1912. The main roads take basically the same routes. There are a few buildings standing; The most distant building to the left of the main road (green line), below the letter "B", is the Doble School House. The Doble Cemetery is about 500' south of the school. At the bottom center, above the letter "A", are the ruins of the 1875 Stamp Mill (see photo in that cache listing). The two holes in the photo near the stamp mill, and the hole at the upper right, are damage from silverfish eating through the photo album. Notice that almost all the trees have been cut down. Even to the east and south of Baldwin Lake. Most of the trees now in Bear Valley and Holcomb Valley are second generation growth. It took 11,000 lbs. of dry pine wood per day to fuel the steam engine in the 1875 Stamp Mill alone!
THIS IS SNAKE COUNTRY. SNAKES LIKE SHADE ON HOT DAYS JUST LIKE WE DO. A GOOD HIDING PLACE FOR A CACHE MAY ALSO BE INVITING TO A SNAKE. BRING A STICK TO USE IN PLACE OF YOUR HAND WHEN CHECKING UNDER ROCKS, BUSHES, ETC.
The Southern Pacific Rattlesnake, also called Black Diamond Rattlesnake, Mountain Rattler, Western Rattlesnake, is the most common rattlesnake in this area. While they can reach a length of 4.5 feet, 2.5 to 3.5 feet is common. They range in color, from gray, olive, to brown. Populations living at higher altitudes are often almost black with very faint markings. Juveniles have a bright yellow-green tail. Young are born live from August to October. Ready to go when born, they are about 10 inches long, have fangs, venom, but no rattle (pre-button). A button, as the segments of the rattles are called, is formed each time they shed their skin. It takes at least two buttons to rattle. If the rattle absorbs enough water in wet weather, it will not make noise. They can shed their skin several times in a year. Frequency of shedding depends on their food supply and particular growth rate. They also shed and replace their fangs about every 60 days.
It is a myth that rattlesnakes are deaf. They have the same basic inner ear structure as other reptiles. They lack an external ear. Sound, vibrations in the air or ground, are transmitted to the ear via other body structures. It is not known how the brain of the rattlesnake translates the vibrations received by the inner ear. Maybe it is similar to having your fingers in your ears.