Vicariously Exploring the Ghost Town of Cerro Gordo on YouTube

Amid COVID-19 I’ve been watching a lot of TV. Like, a lot. In my New Year post I mentioned watching a lot of DC content, but something else Patrick and I have been watching for the last several months is on YouTube actually, Ghost Town Living.

A couple years ago a listing for an entire California ghost town was circulating the internet. It was one of those things people would share with comments like “If I won the lottery!” and “Hey, maybe if a ton of us got together we could buy this!” Well, two guys actually did. Enter Brent Underwood. He and a pal split the $1.4 million cost on the abandoned mining town of Cerro Gordo back in 2018. Now enter COVID-19. Up until spring of this year Underwood had a caretaker for the site, and Underwood would visit from Austin, Texas every once in awhile, but with COVID, the caretaker wanted to spend time with his wife, and Underwood saw it as a good opportunity to spend some time there and keep an eye on things for what he originally planned to be a couple weeks. Well, a couple weeks has turned into ten months. He decided to document his time on YouTube, highlighting the town’s history, buildings, his plans, restoration process, and his favorite pastime, exploring the miles of mine tunnels that criss cross under the town. He even got some cats and goats to keep him company, and they make for fun entertainment too.

Shortly after Underwood’s arrival, the town’s hotel, complete with its saloon, burned to the ground due to old, faulty wiring. As if Underwood didn’t have enough on his hands already with restoring a ghost town amid a global pandemic. His video talking about the destruction is gut wrenching, but it has some silver linings to it, and thankfully he’s underway with rebuilding. Later on in his videos Underwood started wearing “Cerro Gordo” shirts and plugged his website that offered Cerro Gordo merch, I immediately went to it and bought some stuff, I also added a few items to my Christmas list, including a nail salvaged from the hotel, which I received from my mother-in-law.

Myself standing in front of a western style outhouse with cacti in front, wearing a Cerro Gordo tee and western style jeans.

Myself standing in front of a western style outhouse with cacti in front, wearing a Cerro Gordo tee and western style jeans.

Close-up of my tee, which has a cowboy on a horse with mountains behind him. Blue script reads "Cerro Gordo" and orange text below reads "California, USA"

Myself standing in front of a western style outhouse with cacti in front, wearing a Cerro Gordo tee and western style jeans.

Myself standing in front of a western style outhouse with cacti in front, wearing a Cerro Gordo tee and western style jeans.

Myself standing in front of a western style outhouse with cacti in front, wearing a Cerro Gordo tee and western style jeans.

Myself standing in front of a western style outhouse with cacti in front, wearing a Cerro Gordo tee and western style jeans.

Myself standing in front of a western style outhouse with cacti in front, wearing a Cerro Gordo tee and western style jeans.

A rusty square head nail next to a card that reads "This nail was recovered from the ashes of The American Hotel at Cerro Gordo. The hotel originally opened June 15, 1871 and burned down June 15, 2020."

Not only are the videos enjoyable, it’s fun watching Underwood and his videos change and grow. A total novice to the world of vlogging, his first couple were just okay, but had interesting content. As he’s gone on, his videos have matured into mini docs, and with the aid of a drone he has captured some beautiful moments and scenery.

Underwood also set up a Patreon, which we subscribe to, but I am very tempted to up our subscription to the $50 level, which includes one visit per month to the town before he opens it up to the public. However, as Cerro Gordo is located at 8,500 feet above sea level, and it is winter, it gets a lot of snow. Plus, ya know, global pandemic. Until then, I’ll just sit here with my Cerro Gordo tees watching Underwood on YouTube.

Catch his first video below!

You can follow Underwood’s journey on various platforms:

YouTube

Patreon

Store

Cerro Gordo Instagram

Brent Underwood’s Personal Instagram

Tofu the Goat’s Instagram

Also as part of this post, you also got a look at some changes we made to part of the backyard. Our home has a 1960s air conditioner installed in the wall of the living room, which still works and we used until we installed central AC, but because it’s so cool (you can see it in our living room post) we have chosen to keep it, except it kind of had a negative aesthetic impact on the backyard. I then came up with an idea to cover it with a faux western style outhouse. I also made a mini replica of the Gravesend sign from an episode of The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. (see it in the show here) complete with diving helmet, which plays into the episode, so I can have my very own corner of a ghost town.

Outfit
Earrings: Match Accessories
Shirt: Cerro Gordo
Belt: Belonged to my grandfather
Jeans: Lee
Shoes: Courtesy of Oak Tree Farms, sadly the style is no longer available.
Saddle Ring: Central Park Antique Mall, Bakersfield, California
Bracelet: I honestly can’t remember right now

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