Ralph "Dad" Fairbanks discovered a large deposit of clay in Amargosa Valley (just over the border in Nevada) in 1916. Frank Brock, an engineer, took interest in these finds and established that this clay would be good for filtering. He attracted the attention of five oil companies, who were by 1925 producing several hundred tons of clay per month using a crude mill. It was then transported behind John Bradford's Holt tractor across the desert to Bradford Siding on the Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad. In 1926, the operations were consolidated under the Death Valley Clay Company who took over the former Pacific Coast Borax plant in Death Valley Junction, and an extension to the narrow gauge Death Valley Railroad was constructed from Death Valley Junction, along the T&T by means of a third rail to Bradford, then to the Company's clay pits in Nevada.

By 1931, the Death Valley Railroad folded and abandoned its trackage. The spur from Bradford was taken over by the Tonopah & Tidewater and widened to standard gauge, and continued to serve the mills until that railroad too folded in 1940, and Bradford was abandoned.

Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad

← Death Valley Junction • Bradford


Clay Camp [DVRR] ↘