Skidoo was famous in the first decade of the 20th century when gold had been found in the area. Within a decade the town had been abandoned, however, and now no standing structures remain. Skidoo’s desert location is visited by ghost town aficionados.
Skidoo is representative of the boom towns that flourished in Death Valley during the early 20th century. The town’s livelihood depended primarily on the output of the Skidoo Mine, a venture operating between 1906 and 1917. During those years the mine produced about 75,000 ounces of gold, worth at the time more than $1.5 million.
Two unique items are associated with Skidoo’s mining heyday. First the town possessed the only milling plant in the desert operated almost completely by water power. Second, the construction of the water pipeline was a phenomenal engineering feat; its scar can still be seen between its origin near Telescope Peak and the mill site. Water was brought in a pipe from 23 miles away – “23 Skidoo.”
The fifteen-stamp amalgamation and cyanide mill built by the Skidoo Mines Company is a rare surviving example of an early 20th-century gravity-feed system for separating gold from its ore.
The name Skidoo comes from the expression 23 skidoo, a slang expression of the time, for which various origins have been suggested.
The Hoveck post office opened in 1906, changed its name to Skidoo in 1907, and closed in 1917. The name Hoveck honored Matt Hoveck, manager of the Skidoo Mine.