A Man Who Bought An Abandoned Mining Town Decided To Isolate There And His Story Will Make Your Current Situation Seem Less Miserable
I got my first real taste of what it’s like to be placed on lockdown when I was in college courtesy of one of the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing, who somehow managed to lose the army of law enforcement officers on his tail and sparked a citywide manhunt in the process.
As a result, I wasn’t allowed to leave my dorm for the majority of a seemingly endless day that came to a merciful end when police discovered he’d been hiding in a boat that found itself on the receiving end of a hail of gunfire after his location was confirmed.
Little did I know that was just a small preview of what was yet to come, as that surreal experience has nothing on what’s transpired over what my calendar tells me is “the past month or so,” a span of time during which the concept of time has become an increasingly abstract concept.
I’m lucky enough to have an apartment with a backyard but stepping out onto the deck is really the only way I’ve exposed myself to the outside world over the past few weeks. It’s been a tough reality to adjust to, but thankfully, I’ve developed a fairly effective coping strategy that involves drinking a lot and getting way too into Skyrim again—which works until I start harboring feelings of jealousy toward my character for having the freedom to roam the outdoors as he pleases.
I didn’t have the luxury of being able to relocate to a remote location to ride this thing out but the same can’t be said for Brent Underwood, who decided there would be no better place to self-isolate than Cerro Gordo, the abandoned California mining town he bought with a friend in 2018.
Underwood viewed the $1.4 million that went into securing the 380-acre property as an investment, as the master plan was to renovate its 22 buildings and bring it back to life as a tourist attraction. However, he recently ended up sequestered in a ghost town located a few hours north of Los Angeles after he agreed to look after the property so its usual caretaker could be with his family.
Based on what he told The New York Post, he may be questioning whether or not he made the right call, as he’s run into a number of unanticipated issues since arriving—including the ghosts he thinks are haunting the property.
However, nature has been a much bigger thorn in his side than the supernatural since he arrived last month, as the seven-mile journey to the closest town became an even bigger undertaking after five feet of snow fell on the hill leading down to it.
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A winter (in April) walk-through of Cerro Gordo: 1. The Belshaw House. A home originally built by Mortimer Belshaw in 1868. Belshaw was responsible for developing the eight-mile toll road up the mountainside — the Yellow Grade Road aka Cerro Gordo Road. Belshaw brought the first load of Cerro Gordo silver to Los Angeles. There he pitched Egbert Judson, president of the California Paper Company on the potential of Cerro Gordo. 2. The Crapo House: William "Billy" Crapo was unhappy with an election and in January 1893 he stepped out his front door and shot and killed Postmaster Harry Boland. A warrant was issued for his arrest, but the posse never caught up with him. 3. The Gordon Mansion. Originally constructed in 1909 by Louis D. Gordon. Gordon brought the “Zinc Era” to Cerro Gordo after he started extracting zinc in the Union Mine in 1911. Cerro Gordo became the principal zinc producer for the US. Gordon was responsible for constructing the two aerial tramways bringing ore down the mountain. The zinc operations lasted until the 1930s. 4. The American Hotel. The American Hotel was originally built in 1871 by an Englishman named John Simpson and his wife. It’s Said to be the oldest hotel in California east of the Sierras. Inside is the saloon and the cardroom with the infamous bullet in the wall and bloodstain on the ground from a card game gone awry. 5. A tree donated to Cerro Gordo by Stanford University. 6. Looking towards Owen’s Lake. The water from Owens Lake was diverted in 1913 as part of the LA Aqueduct Program. By 1926 the lake was dry, devastating the local community and environment. 7. Entering Cerro Gordo along Cerro Gordo Rd. 8. The American Hotel.
He recently provided some more insight into his current status during an AMA on Reddit, where he revealed his supply of food is steadily running low and can only be replenished by a visit to the nearest grocery store 26 miles away. On the bright side, he’s swimming in provisions compared to the amount of running water at his disposal, as he’s been forced to melt snow to make up for the total lack of plumbing.
I have to say I suddenly feel a whole lot better about my situation. Thanks, Brent!