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Ballarat, California

Ballarat
Unincorporated community
Ballarat, California
Ballarat, California
Ballarat is located in California
Ballarat
Location in California
Coordinates:
Country United States
State California
County Inyo County
Elevation[1] 1,079 ft (329 m)
ZIP code 93592
Area codes 442/760
FIPS code 06-03680
GNIS feature ID 252847

Ballarat is an unincorporated community in Inyo County, California.[1] It lies at an elevation of 1079 feet (329 m).[1]

Today, Ballarat is a virtual Ballarat, Victoria, in the heart of Australia's gold country.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Today 2
  • Ballarat in fiction 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

History

The town was founded in 1897.[2] In its heyday—from 1897 to 1905—Ballarat had 400 to 500 residents. It hosted seven saloons, three hotels, a Wells Fargo station, post office (that opened in 1897),[2] school, a jail and morgue, but no churches. Ballarat was a place for miners and prospectors in the area to resupply and relax.

The town began its decline when the Ratcliff Mine, in Pleasant Canyon east of town, suspended operations. Other mines nearby also began to play out, and in 1917 the post office closed[2] and all that remained were a few diehard prospectors and desert rats.

In the 1960s, Charles Manson and the "Manson Family" of killers moved into a ranch south of Ballarat, and left graffiti in the town. The 1969 movie Easy Rider has a scene filmed in Ballarat; after arriving in the town, Peter Fonda's character, Wyatt, removes his Rolex watch and throws it away before he and Dennis Hopper's character, Billy, head east on their motorcycles towards New Orleans.

On Easter weekend, 1971, about two thousand people attended a "hippy" celebration at Ballarat. About two hundred contracted hepatitis (A) from contaminated drinking water.

Today

Former Ballarat resident George Novak

Today, Ballarat has one full-time resident. As of June 2013 Rocky Novak and his dogs, Potlicker and Brownie, live in the town. Rocky runs the general store on afternoons and weekends to supply tourists, and is working on repairing the water pipes that supply the town, for which he is paid by the government. Every summer, a woman named June and her son move into the former jailhouse/morgue.

Ballarat is used as a meeting point for four-wheel-drive expeditions into the Panamint Range and Death Valley, and in winter up to 300 people camp in the grounds of the town. The town was recently used as a set to tell the story of the Ballarat Bandit.

Ballarat was featured in:

  1. an episode of Top Gear USA
  2. the movie Obselidia

The town has a ZIP Code of 93592, and is inside area codes 442 and 760.

Ballarat in fiction

Ballarat has featured in Western fiction including Hellbound for Ballarat (1970) by Nelson C. Nye and Bounty Hunt at Ballarat (1973) by Clayton Matthews.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Ballarat".  
  2. ^ a b c Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 1145.  

External links

  • GhostTowns.com
  • Desertusa.com
  • Digital-Desert
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