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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Rock House

Mojave National Preserve

 
 
Rock House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, 2017
1. Rock House Marker
Inscription.  
While fighting in Europe during World War I, Bert Smith was exposed to poison gasses used during that war. Returning to the U.S. with scarred lungs, Bert eventually moved to the Mojave Desert in the late 1920s.

When Bert built his Rock House and started living here in 1929, it was a desperate attempt to regain his health. Although he expected to survive only a short time, he lived here until 1954 — 25 years later!

Desert artist Carl Faber
Artist Carl Faber had already been living rough in the East Mojave for about ten years when he set up his art business at the Rock House in 1981. Four-wheel drive trips had become a popular activity and Carl took advantage of passing traffic to sell his art. After five years, Carl moved to another nearby property and continued his art business there until 2003, when he moved to New Mexico.

“A lot of people that came by there…were…professional people, making good money, and I can't tell you how many times I've been told that they envied me for my lifestyle…they would have liked to live like that.”
— Carl Faber

Rock House and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, 2017
2. Rock House and Marker
Click or scan to see
this page online
[Caption:]
Bert Smith (left) with fellow World War I veterans Joe Molik (center) and Ray Whitmore (right). Smith kept a small herd of goats — the pen is still standing on the far side of the driveway. The New York Mountains are to the north.
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureArts, Letters, MusicIndustry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1929.
 
Location. 35° 9.251′ N, 115° 20.035′ W. Marker is in Mojave National Preserve, California, in San Bernardino County. Marker is on Rock Spring Road 0.2 miles south of Cedar Canyon Road, on the left when traveling south. Located 60 miles southeast of Baker. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Nipton CA 92364, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 2 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Camp Rock Spring (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Mojave Road (approx. 10 miles away).
 
Regarding Rock House.
The house is located 400 feet from the Rock Spring Loop Trailhead. The 1-mile loop trail leads past the remains of a miners' mill to the site of Camp Rock Spring, a U.S. Army post used from 1866 to 1868.

In the 1930s, prospectors
Remains of Miners' Mill image. Click for full size.
By Craig Baker, 2017
3. Remains of Miners' Mill
The Rock House is at top right.
found copper in nearby Watson Wash and built a mill here to crush ore-bearing rock. The prospect was not productive and was soon abandoned.

Stacked stones are all that remain of the former corrals at Camp Rock Spring.

Part of a network of precious water sources in the desert, Rock Spring was used by native tribes, early explorers, the U.S. Army, and settlers crossing the Mojave Desert. Although water is not always visible here, during rainy years water flows as a stream for a short distance.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 16, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. This page has been viewed 35 times since then. Last updated on May 2, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 16, 2021, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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May. 11, 2021