Old Kernville or Whiskey Flat was a mining town in California. According to SF Gate, this ghost town is “one of the wildest, most storied, tragedy-laden places to ever come out of the Old West and the Gold Rush era.”
SF Gate reported that towards the end of the Gold Rush in the 1860s, Lovely Rogers’ mule ran away and legend has it that when Rogers picked up a rock, it was 42 ounces of pure gold. Later, Adam Hamilton set up a makeshift saloon by the name of “Whiskey Flat,” which gave the town its name.
A chaotic and tumultuous mining town, this iconic Wild West town was known for being, well, wild. The Los Angeles Times described it, “It was a town of miners, outlaws, secessionists and hard-working ranchers who had quick tempers, fast guns and their own code of swift justice. In 1883, unpaid miners torched the Big Blue mine, and in 1892, history records, the Gibson brothers shot and killed the Burton brothers in a mining dispute.”
This town of a bygone era was destroyed when the U.S. government started to build a reservoir. According to SF Gate, the buildings in the town were blown to bits, but the foundations of a Methodist church, general store and jail remain.
Now the drought is revealing those building foundations.
The New York Post reported that Whiskey Flat’s lore lives on and created an archetype that appears in famous movies: “The lawless, often murderous home of many colorful characters is credited with helping inspire Clint Eastwood flicks, including ‘The Good, The Bad and the Ugly,’ and is arguably the origin of the quick draw archetype”
This is not the only town that has been revealed by drought.
St. Thomas was settled by Latter-day Saint pioneers who originally believed that they were in Utah, but soon discovered that they were in Nevada. The town was drowned to create Lake Mead and build the Hoover Dam.
Resident Hugh Lord paddled away from his home in 1939, waiting until the moment when the rising waters hit his front door to leave. Soon, Lake Mead covered the town and all that remained were the foundations of buildings of a once burgeoning town.
However, since 2012, the drought in the region has kept St. Thomas above water.
This summer, the drought in the Lake Mead area yielded more than a ghost town: it revealed human remains. At least four sets of human remains have been found in the lake so far.
Will Lake Isabella yield more than a town, too?
Chuck Barbee, a cinematographer who is working on a documentary about Whiskey Flat, said to SF Gate, “I don’t think you’re going to find any dead bodies like Lake Mead, but there certainly are old ghosts around those buildings.”