Desert Fever - Table of Contents
Desert Fever - My Story (Larry M. Vredenburgh)
Desert Fever - Buy a Copy!
Desert Fever, was written under contract between the Bureau of Land Management, and Dr. Gary L. Shumway now retired, professor of history at California State University Fullerton. To my knowledge this book was the first attempt to chronicle the history of mining in the California Desert from the Mexican Border on the south to Inyo County on the north. It was written to aid in the preparation of the Bureau of Land Management's California Desert Plan which was completed September 30, 1980. It was but one of many contracts prepared for the Desert Plan which Congress required the Bureau to prepare in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of October, 1976. However this one was different in an important way, Gary Shumway obtained permission to copyright the work to be done.
Even though I was a young man in 1979, I had already spent many years researching the mining history of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, in fact I had persuaded the geoconsulting firm I was working for in 1977 to submit a unsolicited proposal to BLM to write a history of mining of San Bernardino County. We were unaware that Dr. Shumway had already been awarded a contract similar to the one we were proposing to write.
Dr. Shumway approached me in 1978 and asked if I would assist with this project. He also asked a student of his, Russel D. Hartill. We divided up the writing assignments and went to work. Fortunately I had made the acquaintance of Dennis Casebier, who then lived in Norco, California. I lived in nearby Riverside. Dennis generously made his research archives available to me. These early newspaper clippings that he had typed filled a significant void in my previous research.
In early 1978 I had left the geoconsulting firm that I was working for and had begun working for the Bureau of Land Management as a geologist. In late 1979 I spent nearly three months examining the mines of the Panamint and Argus Ranges in Inyo County. Due to tight budgets, I stayed in a tiny BLM travel trailer parked at Wildrose Campground inside Death Valley (then) National Monument (now National Park). All day long I drove from mine to mine, describing the rocks and mineralogy that I found in the field, and every evening I huddled under the dim light of the travel trailer, with boxes of books and newspaper clippings and wrote what became the early chapters of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties in Desert Fever.
I bought myself a fancy IBM Selectric II self-correcting typewriter (that cost as much as my first computer over 10 years later), and my fiancé, Stephanie Snair (now my wife of over 25 years) helped type, revise and correct the manuscript.
Russ typeset the document on a early word processor known as a IBM Composing Selectric at Cal State Fullerton. He really did a yeoman's work of bringing the document together into a book.
Since the Desert Fever was written for BLM, we only covered BLM lands, Death Valley is barely mentioned. Just recently I re-read the book from cover-to-cover. Russ, I want to again commend you on the great job you did, and Gary Shumway, thanks for bringing us together and for your guidance, direction, and editing of this enduring work. .
With that introduction, I can't say how many times that I have been contacted and asked if we have any more copies of Desert Fever. We only printed something like 1,000 copies, and none of us has any left. The second question I often get is, when are you going to reprint it. As it stands now - probably not. However, I will be putting a copy of the introduction and portions of the text of San Bernardino County on this website. This copy was originally retyped by Anita Dunn a volunteer with the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association. I have noted the sections that have been significantly rewritten. Some of these sections must not be used as authoritative, as subsequent research has found that my original conclusions were erroneous. I have linked to updated versions that I have written since the completion of Desert Fever.
I hope you enjoy the read.
Larry Mark Vredenburgh, August 2005
OWN A COPY
While I have put portions of the text of Desert Fever on the Internet - there is nothing like owning the actual book. Copies of Desert Fever are still available. Sagebrush Press, run by Dan and Janet Cronkhite, has a limited number of the books (in mint condition). If the above link doesn't work contact them by email or phone (760) 365-5671.
A draft of the Bureau of Land Management's February 1980 contract copy is available from Internet Archive AT THIS LINK.