Noonday Camp, California
Noonday Camp, also known as Mill City, Noonday City, and Tecopa, is an abandoned ghost town located east of Tecopa, California. The Finley Company built the town in the 1940s for use by lead mine workers. It was later used by the Anaconda Copper Company. The town was abandoned in 1972. Upper Noonday Camp is located at , while Lower Noonday Camp is located just south of it at .
Located due east of present day Tecopa on the San Bernardino–Inyo county line lie the remains of a mining community that went by several names – Brownsville, Mill City, Tecopa, Noonday City, Upper and Lower Noonday Camp. Established by the Finley Company in the 1940s to support the nearby War Eagle, Noonday and Columbia lead mines, the site was taken over by the Anaconda Copper Company, who constructed the lead ore concentration mill during 1947–1948. The mill's large water tank marks the location. Near the now rapidly deteriorating mill and debris pool is the site of Lower Noonday also known as "Married Mans Camp".
18 to 20 foundations can be found buried in the brush, along with a small graveyard, the slag from the 1870s lead smelter and a few adobes. Across the Western Talc road and up the arroyo is a cliff-side dugout dwelling. A water pipe ran from the well to Upper Noonday. Along Furnace Creek Road is Upper Noonday Camp, or "Single Mans Camp", used by Anaconda's employees from 1949 until 1957, and then Western Talc's employees until 1972. It was abandoned, scavenged by the locals, and torn down in 1978, which makes this a relatively young ghost town. Foundations of the supervisors and guest houses, several slabs that supported the kitchen, boarding house, and bunkhouses are evident, along with a lot of debris.
Prominent is the cinder block vault that held the script currency the miners could use at the company commissary. Roads from this site go to the Noonday and War Eagle mines, worth the exploration. A bit farther back on the Western Talc road is the talc mine, a large white open pit. The remains of the mining operation can be found, collapsed timber structures, foundations, slabs, rock walls, and equipment mounting (generator? compressor?) pads. Lead mining ended in 1957 when the U.S. government reached its strategic stockpile goal; the Tecopa and Darwin lead mines - which worked three shifts during the war years - closed.
Talc went out of favor due to its asbestos content. Visible from Highway 127 and the Old Spanish Trail are the landmark Tecopa bins, built in 1944. One was for lead, the other talc. The lead ore was trucked to the UP siding at Dunn and shipped to smelters in Utah. Compared to other ghost towns, it became a ghost town quite recently.
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