Cerro Gordo, Ghost Town Living and mining for adventure during the pandemic, the first year of Brent Underwood’s adventure. Brent Underwood traveled to the town at the start of the pandemic, for what was intended to be a short trip. He has a knack for making headlines, and his story was told widely after a snowstorm on the mountain isolated him there for months instead of weeks. Underwood says that the enforced longevity of that first stay enabled him to feel at home in the ghost town. “During that time there was a change in myself.”
Listen to Brent Underwood in his interview with – WBUR
A ghost town awakens to life during the pandemic.
His first video, “I Spent My Life Savings On An Abandoned Ghost Town,” has amassed more than 6 million views. Brent Underwood is building a museum in the town to showcase all his finds. “Everything I find I add to the museum here, I take that very seriously,’ he says. He is also aware that they may collapse while he is in them, though that hasn’t stopped him yet.
In its heyday, Cerro Gordo had 4,000 residents and 500 buildings, including seven saloons and three brothels. It was the closest real-life town to Hollywood’s Wild West. “There was a murder a week here and rumors that Butch Cassidy hid out in the hotel, and fortunes were gained, and people died,” Underwood says.
The American Hotel in Cerro Gordo, California, burned to the ground on June 15, 2020. Underwood woke at 3 a.m. to see the hotel, the ice house and Billy Crapo destroyed. “You are literally watching your life savings and hopes and dreams burn in front of you,” Underwood says. The town is currently the only place in Death Valley that is open to the public.
Cerro Gordo is set to open its doors to visitors in August 2021. Underwood has mixed feelings about his town opening to outsiders. “I’m striving towards this goal to open it up to everybody and then my life will fundamentally change. So I think about that a lot. How will my life change this summer?” he says. “I will no longer be able to explode dynamite wherever I want on any given Wednesday,” he adds. “When will Cerro Gordi be done? I don’t think it will ever be done. I could do this for the rest of my life.”
This article was originally published online by: SF Gate
For another destination in the California deserts, please check out Palm Springs