About 5 miles east of North Shore, CA. lay Dos Palmas. Dos Palmas was one of the main stage stops on the Bradshaw trail, which ran from 1862 till the coming of the Southern Pacific railroad in 1876. Mysteries and legend have always surrounded Dos Palmas.
Herman Ehrenberg was murdered there on the night of Oct 6th 1866 as he lay outside on a pallet. Legend has it that he was carrying $3,500.00 in gold from the La Paz gold fields in AZ., back to Los Angles. Newspapers reported that it was by Indians, but some have even come to believe that it may have been by the station keeper himself Mr. Smith. He was buried the next day, close to the station.
A letter from Dos Palmas Station from Nov. 1873 stated: “The son of old Chino Theodore”, from Yuma, came to the station recently about dark, on foot, and nearly dead for water. He said he had left his father and a boy, out forty miles on the desert, without water and nearly dead for the want of it, having been without it for nearly three days when he left them twenty four hours before. Joe Dittier, the station-keeper, and Hank Brown started the next morning with a team and plenty of water to find them. After going twenty-five miles, they came upon the old man. He had found a cask of water that had been left by surveyors. One of the parties stayed with him, and the other went to look for the boy. After going fifteen miles he was discovered stretched out under a bush, naked and almost dead—his tongue being swollen and black, and blood running out of his nose and ears. He was brought to after two hours hard work, having been without water for five days and nights. Their three horses died. The party are now stopping here and getting along all right. The old man says that if he had not lost his knife he would have cut his throat, and ended his misery.
When the Southern Pacific Railroad came thru the Coachella Valley, from Yuma to Los Angles, They established a train stop called Dos Palmas. It was 260’ below level. When the Colorado River broke thru its levies, causing the floods of 1905 thru 1907, which would eventually form todays Salton Sea, the train station disappeared underneath its waters.
It is well documented that a family from Texas passed through Dos Palmas and while there, their baby died and was buried next to the grave of Herman Ehrenberg. The “baby white” headstone was carved in 1906 and placed on the grave by 30 year resident Frank Coffey. The headstone survived at the ranch until after 1987. It had been moved to the compound headquarters area of the ranch for safekeeping after someone had taken a shot at it. It disappeared sometime over the next several years following the sale of the ranch by its last private owners.
Frank Coffee, who had prospected the Chuckwalla Mountains and surrounding area since about 1885, and was also known as the mayor of Dos Palmas, built a cabin and settled there sometime after the turn of the century. He located (or relocated and renamed) a mine in the hills north of the spring that he called the Good Enough Mine. The Good Enough Mine was described near the Red Cloud Mine in the Chuckwalla Mountains in the Indio Date Palm, February 7, 1912. Coffee died at the age of 77 in October, 1936. In November, 1940, his cabin was but “charred remains.”
The adobe walls of old Dos Palmas stage station had almost disappeared by the winter of 1920, but this was still the camping place of prospectors, as it had been since the 1860s.
In March of 1927, the property was deeded to Frank M. Campbell by Charles F. Derby. John Voss, who had been living at the ranch and prospecting in the Orocopia Mts. Since 1931, recommended that Gertrude buy the ranch. She lived there from 1938-1943. Ranch handyman and noted desert landscape artist John W. Hilton lived and worked at the ranch for a time. Famous painter Barry Atwater had a little cabin there.
In later years, Hollywood executive Raymond Morgan owned the property. 1943 – 1980. Ray Morgan produced radio and television shows, including “Queen for a Day”.
Most of the vast Dos Palmas Valley in North Shore is a Preserve managed by The Bureau of Land Management. The Nature Conservancy acquired the property from private owners in 1989. Several years later it was transferred to public ownership with BLM being the lead agency overseeing management of the 22,000+ acres. The site includes a number of natural oases, the site of the historic Dos Palmas stage stop, numerous large ponds built and used by the previous fish farm, and the 40-acre headquarters compound.