DOG TOWN CALIFORNIA
Dirty little camp that started the eastern rush back over the Sierras
Ghost Town (Unoccupied Mining
Circa 1857 to Unknown
Dog town was the beginning
and founding factor of all inhabitants and discoveries that thrived and later
became the colorful history of the Mono area. It was here that the first
explorers and prospectors camped and worked the ground. Gold was first sighted
on the Eastern side of the Sierras in the mid 1850s by a cavalry unit in
pursuit of an Indian that crossed east over the mountain range near Mono Lake.
Word of the finding lured a few brave explorers like Leroy Vining and Cord
Norst who ventured East into these unfamiliar lands.
Dog Town diggins was the site
of the first gold strike on the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
There is some dispute as to who the actual founder of the diggings site was.
Some say it was Cord Norst, yet others claim it was Leroy Vining who was first
to explore out and strike gold here. As the year grew on and other explorers
and prospectors arrived, a makeshift camp was formed. Many a prospector and
explorer with big dreams abandoned the boom towns on the Western side of the
Sierras and arrived here at the diggins.
Dog Town was a
miners term for primitive camps with huts or hovels for dwellings. Huts and
hovels were constructed out of what ever materials the prospectors could locate
at the time, including stones from the actual diggins as well as grass and mud.
The majority of these huts and hovels at Dog Town were located across the
stream against the hillside which provided structural strength and additional
shelter from the harsh weather known to accompany this area in winter. The
majority of the digging and gold panning took place in the stream areas between
the present day historical marker and the western hillside where the dwellings
were constructed. It is believed that over 100 people called dog town home by
In July of
1859, Cord Norst who was prospecting and exploring about 5 or 6 miles to the
South of camp located gold in a wash above Mono Lake. Learning of this find,
many inhabitants of Dog town followed the footsteps of Norst and relocated to
areas near the find by the present day Conway Summit. As the year grew on, and
the population increased, the forming of a town took place on this basin above
Mono Lake. A town they named Monoville. Conditions were much more favorable
at Monoville compared to Dog Town, and prospecting became increasingly
successful. As the word of this new Gold strike reached those to the West,
more and more in search of the precious riches rumbled over the Sierra’s making
Dog Town and Monoville their home. As time grew on, and Monoville continued to
develop, Dog Town slowly dwindle away. The Chinese were the last to occupy the
camp; however they too abandoned the site for more favorable accommodations in
nearby towns as they became popular in the years to come.
Overview of the Dog
Forgotten grave site at Dog Town
Remains of Prospectors Hovel