A Tiny Mining Town that Became the Fraud of the Century

By THP Team


Nestled among the rough and dusty mountains of the Titus Canyon, in the Inyo County, California is the abandoned and infamous town of Leadfield. Lying on the edges of the world famous Death Valley, this town was very much the death of the dreams of all those that flocked here to find fortune back in the early 1900’s. As the famous saying goes, that buildings built on lies and hoax stand for a short time, and so did the town of Leadfield.

Who Created Leadfield?

The town of Leadfield is the mastermind of a man who was known as the wizard of marketing hoaxes. Legend says he could sell ice to the Eskimos. This man was C.C Julian, a man who was known around the country as a master of advertising. But this time, he was going to create a hoax that might have ended shortly, but is registered in the annals of history till the end of time.

Leadfield? What’s the Mystery?

C.C Julian went around creating maps. This was his first masterstroke. He created a map showing the town of Leadfield as a prosperous and abundant town with cargo ships coming in and out of the town via the Amargosa river. In reality, the river was dry most of the year and was also 20 miles far from the town. He also blew up some holes and smeared lead onto the walls to create an illusion of the town having abundant lead under it.

What Was All The Hoolah About?

Once the country came to know that there was a valley full of ore waiting to be dissected, mining companies and miners from around the country wanted a piece of the bounty. They flogged in and created a mining town that suddenly reached its peak. But this fortunate time lasted for only a year, because people finally realized that this was all a hoax. There was no ore, and there was no bounty. This was all a planned fraud by C.C Julian and the Western Lead Mine Company. The town was abandoned and the mining history of the town was registered within the books of yore.

Did the Town Actually Have Ore?

Surprisingly there was ore under the earth at Leadfield. The only problem was that it was difficult to mine the ore and then subsequently take it to the smelters to be refined. The mining companies tried but the cost were too high and so they decided to let the the ore be where it is.


Leadfield in Popular History?

Today, the town of Leadfield is etched in the books of history as a moment of fraud and forgery. Surprisingly it is also a popular tourist destination as people come down to the valley to see how one town fooled 300 and more people into believing it was the next Gold Rush. If you wander down into the town now, you’d find a couple of rusty shacks, a few mine openings and a few remnants of the town that once existed.

We at History All Day are marveled at how the idea of money and fortune can force people to leave behind their homes and venture out into a desert with no preparation. We also condemn the idea of using fraudulent means to gain wealth and fortune. The town of Leadfield will always serve as a reminder to what greed can bring about.

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