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Finding Aid for the Avawatz Salt and Gypsum Company records, 1889-1991
1993  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Avawatz Salt and Gypsum Company records
    Date (inclusive): 1889-1991; Bulk, 1908-1922
    Collection number: 1993
    Creator: Avawatz Salt and Gypsum Company
    Extent: 4 document boxes (23.4 linear ft.) 2 half document boxes, 1 flat box, 3 oversize flat boxes, 9 oversize map boxes
    Abstract: The Avawatz Salt and Gypsum Company was formed by Herman Henry Kerckhoff in Los Angeles in 1912. The company owned 2,450-acres of mining property in the Avawatz Mountains, located in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County. In 2011 the Wilderness Land Trust, a Colorado non-profit corporation, purchased the Avawatz Salt and Gypsum Company and donated the land to the United States Bureau of Land Management for preservation. The collection contains a rich assortment of corporate document books, ledgers, and stock books; geologic and economic reports; mining-related government publications and newspaper articles; and geologic, structural, property, and railroad maps, tracing the history of this early southern California mining enterprise. Materials date from 1889 to 1991, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1908 to 1922.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Language of the Material: Materials are in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    This collection was donated by the Wilderness Land Trust in 2012.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Courtney Dean in 2012 in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Jillian Cuellar.
    The processing of this collection was generously supported by Arcadia  funds.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Avawatz Salt and Gypsum Company records (Collection 1993). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 7108967 

    Biography/History

    The Avawatz Salt and Gypsum Company was formed in June of 1912 by Herman Henry Kerckhoff, a member of the prominent Los Angeles Kerckhoff family. Avawatz Salt and Gypsum was the final amalgamation of several earlier companies including the Death Valley Chemical Company (1908-1911), Avawatz Salt Company (1911-1912), and Avawatz Gypsum Company (1910-1912). The company owned 2,450 acres of land on the northeast edge of the Avawatz Mountains, at the southern end of Death Valley. This included, as of 1917, 50 mining claims and mineral deposits of gypsum, rock salt, and celestite. Kerckhoff intended to transport gypsum, the main ingredient in cement and wall plaster, from the Avawatz mines to nearby Los Angeles where it could be utilized in the ongoing building boom. To this end, the Amargosa Valley Railroad Company was formed in 1917 to construct a sixteen mile line connecting the Avawatz mines to the main railway leading to Los Angeles. Despite the Avawatz Company's large investment in engineering reports and land surveys, the outbreak of World War I made securing financing for the railroad difficult and it was never completed. Without the railroad connecting the remote mines to Los Angeles, Avawatz Company activity was for the most part halted. In 2011 the Wildness Land Trust, a Colorado nonprofit which buys and protects wilderness land, purchased the Avawatz Salt and Gypsum Company from the Kerckhoff family and subsequently donated the land to the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management. The land is now part of the Death Valley Wilderness Study Area and falls within the boundaries of land which will be permanently preserved by Senator Diane Feinstein's pending California Desert Protection Act.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains an assortment of corporate document books, ledgers, stock books, legal documents, and occasional correspondence from the Avawatz Salt and Gypsum Company and its separate but related corporations - the Death Valley Chemical Company, Avawatz Salt Company, Avawatz Gypsum Company, Avawatz Sales Company, and the Amargosa Valley Railroad Company. Also included are mining-related government publications and newspaper articles; and a wealth of large geologic, structural, property, and railroad maps illustrating Avawatz land and the proposed Amargosa Valley Railroad. Particularly notable are several Avawatz commissioned economic and geologic reports featuring financial projections, photographs of the land, and detailed maps. Materials date from 1889 to 1991, with the bulk of the collection dating from ca. 1908 to 1922.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    • Series 1: Business records, 1889-1991
    • Series 2: Reports and resource materials, 1908-1989
    • Series 3: Maps, 1911-1989
    Series 1 is arranged chronologically by creating agency. Series 2 and 3 are arranged alphabetically.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Wilderness Land Trust.

    Related Material

    Bodie Consolidated Mining Company Collection.  California Department of Parks and Recreation, Sacramento, California.
    Patterson Mining Collection- Maps, 1848-1936.   The Society of California Pioneers.