Cerro Gordo is a mine town on the Inyo Mountains that once had a population of over 1000. Cerro Gordo means ‘fat mountain’ or ‘fat hill’, however it is likely that gordo is being used here to refer to a large, valuable discovery (a fat sum) and Cerro Gordo probably more accurately means ‘jackpot mountain’ or ‘jackpot hill’.
One of the first large discoveries of silver in the Inyo Mountains occurred here, and Cerro Gordo first was established as a mine when it was worked by Mexican miners from 1862 to 1866. soon after, it was taken by americans who mined it for large amounts of silver and lead, the largest amount in California at the time. In the 1870s, metalworkers came to Cerro Gordo to smelt the ore to metal. however, in 1875, ore supply began to run low and a drought hit. The miners didn’t want to give up the location and kept up large production, but by 1877, supply had gotten even lower and a fire later wrecked parts of the mine, and these miners ceased activity in the area.
More than a hundred years later in 1905, mining started up again in the region of the Inyo Mountains. in 1907, zinc was found in the area at old Cerro Gordo and mining began there. This mining kept on, and remained very profitable, up until about 1938.
Cerro Gordo today is a true ghost town, and has a population of 0. It also lies completely on private property. However, much is still left over from the mining years.
36 29′18.23″N 117 52′13.76″W