Jordan

The Jordan Mining District was organized in 1879, but evidently little work was done until the 1890s. The Goleta Consolidated Mining Company, who owned the principal mines in the district, erected a 40-stamp mill and copper smelter in 1896. Around this time the camp of Jordan had a post office, saloons, stores, and a blacksmith shop. By 1902, however, activity had come to a close and the camp was soon deserted.

In 1910, the Pacific Power Company was founded and began construction on a new, modern hydroelectric plant at the site of Jordan to provide power for Bodie, Aurora, and even as far away as Fairview, Nevada. It was placed into operation in January 1911. In addition to the concrete powerhouse, four cement cottages were located in the vicinity to house employees. Unfortunately, this modern plant was destined to last, and was destroyed by a massive avalanche on March 7th, 1911. Just after midnight, an estimated 4 million tons of snow slid off of Copper Mountain, against which the plant was built, and ripped through the facility and cottages. It wasn't until morning that the devastation was discovered, and due to downed phone lines it took until 8am the following day for the news to reach Bodie. A rescue party of some seventy men was sent from the mines to clear the road and evaluate the damage, an arduous task as the powerhouse had been buried under ten to twenty feet of snow. Each of the buildings had collapsed under the weight, but miraculously there were two survivors. Mrs. Agnes Mason, wife to one of the operators, had been pinned in bed with her deceased husband, but one of the cement walls was held up by an iron bed post and protected her. The family dog, Shep, made it to her side and kept her warm. The two survived and were rescued, though Mrs. Mason had to be transported to Oakland where her right leg was amputated at the knee due to infection. Ultimately, seven were lost to the slide (in addition to one lost in another slide near Lundy) and laid to rest about a mile north of the powerhouse site. Fragments of reclaimed marble from the plant's switchboard were used to fashion headstones. A new powerhouse was promptly built at a higher location and completed in December; it is still in use.

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