Archive for March, 2013

Home Sweet Home – By Cindy Nunn

By Cindy Nunn

For me, one of the more fascinating aspects of Randsburg is the large numbers of old miner’s houses and cabins that are not only still standing, but are habitable, or nearly so. Quite a few of them are currently being used as full-time or vacation homes, and other than updated appliances and the addition of indoor plumbing, they maintain their original integrity and style. It is hard to imagine that at one time quite large families would live inside the walls of these homes which to us,  by modern standards, are quite small and cramped. Regardless of their small size, these old homes of the early mining era exude an aura of charm and warmth.






Old Randsburg House 1 HDR

Old Randsburg House 2 HDR





Rustic Homestead_hdr






By Cindy Nunn


Touring the Area – The Mines – By Cindy Nunn

By Cindy Nunn


Randsburg, the town proper, has a lot to see which does not require anything more than leisurely wandering up and down the few streets. However, for those who wish to experience the aspect of history which brought Randsburg into existence, such as the Big Butte and King Solomon mines, especially if you have children in tow, you will need some assistance. It is not recommended that you access these sites on your own. First, they are on PRIVATE property, so trespassing is discouraged, and second, the land around the mines is dangerous! I can not emphasis enough just how dangerous it can be to explore these sites without the help of an experienced guide who knows these areas like the back of his hand. Old open mine shafts and dump holes remain a hazard to even the most watchful, as some are covered and hidden by rotting old debris. Rattlesnakes are also a potential threat to your safety. You may be quite happy and willing to endanger yourself for a bit of entertainment, but keep in mind that if you, a family member or a friend, falls into one of these deep dangerous shafts, other people, complete strangers, will also have to endanger themselves in order to rescue the fool who falls in. Many curious adventure seekers have fallen in alive but came back out dead or seriously injured.

Just a few of many old open shafts

Solomon_Mine_shaft_3    Solomon_Trash_Dump   Solomon_down_the_hole_2

I’ve been to the Big Butte and King Solomon mines and both are fascinating sites to visit. My husband and I were fortunate to meet Randy Halgunseth, or, as he is known locally, “Little Randy,” who proved to be not only a knowledgeable and personable guide, but also a good friend. If you are in the Randsburg area and would like to tour not only the mines, but other little known sites, make sure to ask for Randy. Everyone in town knows him and can reach him for you. If you are real lucky he will invite you back to his place afterwards, where you can enjoy one of the best viewing spots to take in all of Randsburg.

The King Solomon Mine

The King Solomon Mine

By Cindy Nunn

Cowboys & Aliens – By Cindy Nunn

By Cindy Nunn

One of my favorite in the Western/Sci-fi mash up genre, I wasn’t aware upon first viewing that this was filmed in and around Randsburg. Once I found out I naturally had to re-watch the movie so that I could find familiar Randsburg landmarks, but I am just silly like that 🙂 If you haven’t seen it yet I recommend that you at least rent it for a night. Starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Fodr and Olivia Wilde, its a lot of quirky, tongue-in-cheek fun with some pretty cool special effects.

Product Description:

A stranger (Craig) with no memory of his past stumbles into the hardscrabble desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don’t welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It’s a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these mysterious visitors challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and what he’s experienced, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force. With the help of the elusive traveler Ella (Olivia Wilde), he pulls together a posse comprised of former opponents-townsfolk, Dolarhyde and his boys, outlaws and Chiricahua Apache warriors-all in danger of annihilation. Unlikely allies united against a common enemy, they will prepare for an epic showdown for survival.

Little Known Fact:

I’m going to let you in on a little known fact, so “little known” that I am one of only a small handful of people who know this… the blockbuster version of Cowboys & Aliens is not the first or original version. How do I know this, you might ask? Aw, Dear Watson, I know because I have seen the evidence with my own eyes! I have a very good friend in Randsburg named Randy who, along with others, made a little movie in 2006 called “Cowboys & Aliens,” which they filmed entirely in Randsburg. This group of intrepid film makers called themselves Half Genius Productions. Now, I don’t know where Randy and the other guys got their idea from, but I do know that in 2011 Steven John Busti filed a copyright infringement suit against Universal Pictures, DreamWorks, Platinum Studios, and Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. What I find interesting is that in 2006, the year that Randy and Half Genius Productions filmed their version, Universal Pictures was just beginning production of their movie version. I have seen the entire movie made by Half Genius Productions, and it is a very fun and engaging movie!  As a matter of fact, I own a copy. I do not have the right to share it here with you in its entirety, but I can share with you the trailer which was uploaded to YouTube in 2007.

Nevada – The Movie – by Cindy Nunn

by Cindy Nunn


As we all know, Hollywood has a habit of filming in one state while trying to make us believe it is actually another. In this case, Randsburg is the filming location for the movie “Nevada,” which is supposed to take place in a small town called Silver City. This formerly hard to find movie, once only available in VHS format, is now available on DVD through Amazon.

The movie stars Amy Brenneman, Kirstie Alley and Kathy Najimy, with a few rare glimpses of Ben Browder. More feminist propaganda than chick flick, where women rule the town and the men folk are rarely seen, the movie gets off to a slow start and, if my husband is any indicator, probably not something that will hold the male attention for very long! To be honest, I also found it a bit laborious and plodding, but being a die-hard in the sense that if I paid money to buy it I am damn well going to suffer through the whole thing, I managed to see it through to the end. Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t a bad movie, just not as easily engaging as I would have expected from an Amy Brenneman movie. Certainly not the best of movies filmed in Randsburg, but still worth a watch, especially if you are looking for something as a bonding experience for a “girls only” night.

Filmed mostly in Randsburg, with some shots in nearby Johannesburg, you can visit the main location at 52 Lexington Avenue, Randsburg.

Detailed Description

 A stranger wanders down the dead-end road that leads to Silver City and helps a young woman give birth. But the stranger’s mysterious past soon rattles the skeletons in the town’s closets, and the women of Silver City must decide if they will stand in solidarity or shatter in suspicion.

Randsburg Artwork – Where to Buy – by Cindy Nunn

by Cindy Nunn

If you are looking for some artwork of Randsburg to hang on your walls I have a site at Fine Art America. Here are a few examples of my work…

Working Girls Cribs – by Cindy Nunn

by Cindy Nunn


Located just behind the Randsburg Inn, former dance hall of French Marguerite, three “cribs” still stand as a harsh reminder of the conditions experienced by the women of the “red light district” in Randsburg, and other towns all over the American West. These small shacks were the working quarters where the town prostitutes entertained their clients. These particular cribs had a front door and a back door, so that as soon as one customer left through one door, another would be entering through the opposite door. Generally these cribs were just large enough to accommodate a single bed or cot, a washstand, and maybe a small table and chair. A search through old property records revealed that these cribs were located on property owned by French Marguerite. It is also known that some of Marguerite’s “girls” boarded and worked from one of her other establishments, one of which was the location where Big Mike Suzzalo was murdered while trying to prevent the removal of one of the “girls” by another man. You can read more about French Marguerite, her REAL identity, her girls and her many tangles with the law in my book, “Randsburg: The Mojave Desert’s Liveliest Ghost Town.”




Randsburg: The Mojave Desert’s Liveliest Ghost Town – by Cindy Nunn


It is obvious, from the fact that I have created a blog, that I LOVE Randsburg, California! To say that the place got under my skin and put the hooks in would be an understatement. Offer me the option between going to, say, Cabo San Lucas or Randsburg, and every time I would choose Randsburg, hands down! Cabo, Paris, Europe, etc… these are great places for those who want a little bit of glitz and glamour, as well as the added service of being waited upon, but for me, the more laid back, casual atmosphere of Randsburg will always be preferable. Because of my love for the place, its history, and current living residents, I wrote a book, which is a combination history, travel guide and photographic memorial. Some of the historic characters from Randsburg’s past, like French Marguerite, the town madam, were a real challenge to research, but unmasking their true identities was a fantastic accomplishment, as well as a fun roller coaster ride. If you like a good mystery to read, while also looking for fun and interesting places to visit, buy a copy of my book and get a little bit of both 🙂

Official Book Description

A combination history, photographic journey and travel guide to the historic living ghost town of Randsburg, California, located in the Mojave Desert. See where Billy Bob Thornton made his supporting role debut, learn the real identity of Randsburg’s most famous red-light madam, and read about the woman vampire seeking new virgin blood! Read the stories of some of those buried in the Rand District cemetery, who, until now, have been forgotten to history. Learn all the details behind the murder of Emily Davidson, shot dead on Butte Avenue in broad daylight by her husband. Full of photographs, both color and black & white.
Available for purchase direct from the author at:
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