Doble, California: The Boom Town That Refused to Live

Take a short walk on this quiet mountain trail, surrounded by pines and open spaces, and you see it up ahead. White crosses in a semi-circle, around the gnarled truck of a tree. So, what have you stumbled into here? Well, give us a minute or two and we’ll tell you about the mountain town that refused to live.

Here, just above the highway, are about 25 marked graves in the little cemetery that served the town mining town known as Doble. The names of those interred here, except for one child, are a mystery. crosses were placed here by Boy Scouts during the 1940s.

Before it was Doble, the place was known as “Bairdstown.” It came to life after the brothers Carter filed four gold mining claims in 1873, on the mountainside that now wears their name. The utterance of the word ‘gold’ was usually all it took, and the rush was on, probably before the brothers finished unpacking their picks and shovels…

Within two months of Holcomb’s discovery of gold in 1859, a town called Belleville sprang into existence at the entrance into Holcomb Valley, near the upper part of Van Dusen Canyon. It had a collection of stores, saloons, dance halls, and blacksmith shops. In 1860, the Wild West town lost its bid for county seat by a mere two votes.

Charles Wilbur was the first tax assessor in San Bernardino County. He was also a gold placer miner who lived in the area around the mid to late 1800s. He was well liked among his fellow miners who lived in the area and they voted for him to organize the miners and the boundary stones. Before he died he asked to be buried by his favorite pond, Wilbur’s Pond, and they did as he asked…

There’s an air in Big Bear that sets it uniquely apart from the bustling cities an hour away. Maybe it’s the vivid visual imagery at every turn, the crisp weather, nice people, diverse neighborhoods, or amenities. But I think it’s much more.

This is the stuff of our childhoods that sparked a thousand day dreams of the Wild West and beyond. Where the good guys fought the bad guys and always won. The world needs more of that…

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