Eagle Cliff Blacksmith Shop, CA 2021
Eagle Cliff Blacksmith Shop, CA 2021

Eagle Cliff Blacksmith Shop, CA 2021

Eagle Cliff Blacksmith Shop, CA 2021

PROJECT PARTNER: Joshua Tree National Park

SESSION DATES: TBD. This project was postponed due to Covid. Registered volunteers will have first priority when this project is rescheduled.


Project Site Description & History

The uniquely beautiful Joshua Tree National Park has been inhabited for at least 5,000 years. The National Park Service recognizes the Pinto Culture as the first group to have lived in the area, but other Indigenous cultures including the Cahuilla, Chemehuevi, and Serrano peoples called this area home at different points in history.

Cattleman and miners arrived in the region in the 1800s, seeking to take advantage of the then-abundant natural resources: lush grass and gold were notable draws. Roughly one hundred years later, homesteaders moved in, and they further altered the landscape through building cabins, digging wells, and planting crops.

In 1936, not too long after folks started staking claims here for homesteads, Joshua Tree was established as a National Park. Park advocate and one-time southern belle Minerva Hoyt worked tirelessly to ensure the park’s protection. Though she didn’t achieve the same level of recognition for her impact on Joshua Tree that luminaries such as John Muir and Ferdinand Hadyen did for their work to preserve Yosemite and Yellowstone, respectively, without Minerva Hoyt, Joshua Tree may not have achieved National Park status. Joshua Tree is especially unique because it contains two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, and is home to the iconic tree that give the park its name.

The Eagle Cliff Blacksmith Shop shares history with the miners and homesteaders that lived here. The shop is thought to have been built in the late 1800s and can only be accessed by a 2-mile hike. Our partner shares, “The Eagle Cliff Mine and its associated structures have been determined eligible for listing on the National Register. The site demonstrates evidence of both habitation and mining activity at a moderately successful, small-scale operation in challenging desert conditions.”

Volunteers will hike in and out daily, and should plan to carry all their own water and personal gear – as well as help schlep lightweight tools and supplies as needed for project work!

Learn more about the park’s ecology, its history, and its namesake tree from the National Park Service.

Location and Logistics



MAP to JOBSITE:  This jobsite is accessed by a 2-mile hike in and out, daily. Volunteers should ensure their fitness is adequate for this hike!

Campground is Accessible For:   Tent camping only . Tent camping only.

Scope of Work

HistoriCorps is committed to educating and training volunteers in preservation skills, with an overarching mission of inspiring a preservation ethic in all those involved. Learning and working alongside expert HistoriCorps field staff, volunteers will learn these traditional skills necessary to restore the Eagle Cliff Blacksmith Shop.

This project is located in a designated Wilderness so no mechanized equipment, wheels, or power tools will be used. We will focus on repairing the dry-stack masonry of the site’s wall and hearth.

Project Difficulty:

Though the scope of work is relatively light, this project received an “orange” difficulty rating because of the daily hike in and out of the site.

  • Hiking to and from the job site (20%)
  • Restore positive drainage around the site (20%)
  • Stabilize dry-laid masonry walls (20%)
  • Restore missing masonry with local rock (20%)
  • Gently remove graffiti and smoke stains (20%)

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteer vacations & preservation training opportunities. HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Volunteer FAQ and Need-To-Know Information

  • Review our COVID protocols, including mask requirements, here.
  • Volunteering with HistoriCorps is free! We will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite or shared indoor lodging.
  • Dinner is not provided on the first night. We provide all meals starting with breakfast on the first morning and ending with lunch on the last day. Vegetarian diets can be accommodated.
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own gear, sturdy work clothes and boots, and appropriate sleeping equipment. Check the average temperatures before you start packing – the nights and mornings may be colder than you anticipate! Then, read this advice about how to stay warm when tent camping in colder places.
  • Campsite accessibility varies by project. Some projects can accommodate tents only; others can accommodate medium-large RVs. Please review the project site description above for more information, and if you’re still not sure, email volunteer@historicorps.org for help.
  • If this project does not offer showers, you might want to consider bringing a solar shower or research other methods to clean up after the work day.
  • Volunteer crew sizes generally range from 4-8 volunteers, with two HistoriCorps staff that lead and train volunteers in the work.
  • Volunteers are asked to arrive after 5pm and before 7pm on the first day of their session. If you would like to request special permission to arrive early, please email volunteer@historicorps.org.
  • Safety is one of HistoriCorps’ top priorities, and volunteers can contribute to a safe working environment by ensuring their physical fitness is adequate for the work. See above for this project’s scope of work and difficulty level. Please, call us if you are not quite sure if a project is a good fit for your skills or fitness level. We may be able to suggest a project more suitable and enjoyable for you.
  • Dogs are generally allowed to accompany their humans in project campsites (actually, we love having dogs join us around the campfire!). Dogs are not permitted on the job site for everyone’s safety. HOWEVER: HistoriCorps also follows the rules and regulations of our project partner. If the project partner does not permit dogs onsite then HistoriCorps is no exception. Please ask HistoriCorps or the project partner directly if you have any questions about whether Fido is welcome.