California’s Once Largest Coal Mining Town Sits Empty: Tesla

California’s Once Largest Coal Mining Town Sits Empty: Tesla

Tucked away in a secluded canyon, Tesla was once California’s largest coal mine with its own bustling town. Little is mentioned of it online except for a handful of articles. Join me in touring the former townsite and exploring it’s history.

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Music credit: Oak Studios – Every Little Thing


  1. Bob Toerge on May 6, 2023 at 6:12 am

    Just found this and loved it! Looking forward to seeing more.

  2. Case Douma sr on May 6, 2023 at 6:17 am

    Love you content you are a great story teller great pictures of past and present thank you for the adventure 🏆⛏️🇺🇸

  3. Rich Diddens on May 6, 2023 at 6:19 am

    Great video but it’s not cor-ul like you find in the ocean. It’s cor-al like where you keep horses.

  4. wayne taylor on May 6, 2023 at 6:20 am

    Finished high school in Livermore was always out there at Carnegie off road park has friends that lived nearby and never knew anything about the history of the area. Thank you for the insight blows my mind and crazy it was never taught to us in school back then.

  5. steve peterson on May 6, 2023 at 6:21 am

    I commuted Tesla road for many years and never heard of this. Thanks for the video and great job 👍. I think there was a gold mine on the corral hollow side to the east.

  6. Steve Close on May 6, 2023 at 6:21 am

    Fascinating, thanks for making this. I’m 80 years old life is short.

  7. Ervin Hartung on May 6, 2023 at 6:22 am

    That would be the Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette , May/June 2001 and two follow ups

  8. dfirth224 on May 6, 2023 at 6:24 am

    There is a report in the Tracy Historical Society that the quality of the coal was very poor. Trains running from Tesla to Stockton had to stop near Lathrop to empty the ashpan on the steam locomotive, because the coal had too much ash content. As soon as someone (possibly at Union Oil of California) invented the oil burner that sprayed a mist of oil into the firebox, all California railroads switched from wood or coal to oil. The Associated Oil Company (Flying A) was owned by the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe railroads. That’s where they got the oil for the steam locomotives. When Western Pacific Railroad was building west in 1910 from Salt Lake City to California they bought the Alameda and San Joaquin Railroad which is still used today from Tracy to Stockton as part of the Union Pacific railroad. The Tracy depot was named Carbona after the Tesla coal mines.

  9. jeff bybee on May 6, 2023 at 6:25 am

    Been intresting to hear thickness of various beds. I forget now what the minimum economic thickness is, but have always thought a robot miner that could dig a 4 inch seam would make millions

  10. Ervin Hartung on May 6, 2023 at 6:26 am

    The black and white photos of Tesla were taken from Dan Mosier book ‘History of Tesla – A California Coal Mining Town’ , 1998

  11. Brett Humphries on May 6, 2023 at 6:27 am


  12. Willie D on May 6, 2023 at 6:29 am

    Very well done. Where was the railroad located? What it roughly on top of where Tesla Road is today?

  13. Terry Kissell on May 6, 2023 at 6:29 am

    Quite a well done presentation! Kept listeners interested all along the way. Thanks

  14. archstanton live on May 6, 2023 at 6:30 am

    What a fantastic video! Thank you, California Whistlestop. Those interested in visiting a similar (low quality) coal mining area not far away should plan a visit to Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve where much access is still provided by the East Bay Regional Parks. As with Tesla, everything that was made of wood has burned down over the years. There is however a fascinating graveyard, interpretation centers are provided, extensive hiking, picnicking and (limited) camping are available. Cumberland it never was, but there also was a high-quality sand mine there.

  15. davemonhomme on May 6, 2023 at 6:31 am

    Just brought your video to 700 likes. Good video; good historian job!

  16. ResortDog on May 6, 2023 at 6:32 am

    Thats pronounced like a horse pen not a reef critter.

  17. ArthurDentZaphodBeeb on May 6, 2023 at 6:32 am

    Interesting video. I lived in the Tri-Valley for 40 years and never heard of Tesla.

    There were quite a few abandoned coal mines along those hills and they’ve cost taxpayers a pretty penny to close all the portals and clean up the mess. We did a job to close one of the portals near (I think) Clayton back in the ’80s. Had to helicopter in the concrete.

  18. Richard Ross on May 6, 2023 at 6:32 am

    Well done video. From the first view that you showed of the area, I suspected a flood had washed through there at least once. Good Luck, Rick

  19. Ervin Hartung on May 6, 2023 at 6:32 am

    I wrote three articles in 2001 about the Alameda and San Joaquin railroad Tesla and the coal bunkers in Stockton , for Narrow Gauge Shortline magazine. The real expert is Dan Mosier ,r he wrote a book on the history of Tesla a local resident Renée Lueckfeld as a teacher in Livermore district She has compelling history on Tesla.

  20. U812 on May 6, 2023 at 6:37 am

    Growing up in Livermore we used to have local history class in grade school I remember reading about Tesla history, as well as Joaquin Murrieta’s, look out on Brusy Peak north of Tesla. Not sure kids are taught local history anymore probably too preoccupied with teaching kids which sex they’re going to identify as.

  21. Troy Hendrickson on May 6, 2023 at 6:37 am

    the irony here is sublime

  22. UK Abandoned Mine Explores on May 6, 2023 at 6:38 am

    Wow, really cool video, very different, thankyou 🙂

  23. motomikebuilder on May 6, 2023 at 6:40 am

    That area was going to be added to the nearby motorcycle park 20 years ago. The state said no to all access. I got to hike the place with my son, but the next time I went along the river with my GF I noticed a camera and it started to blink. Rangers came speeding up and gave us the boot. Worth seeing regardless.

  24. GORT on May 6, 2023 at 6:50 am

    Is the mine played out or did the epa kill it?

  25. Jim Pierce on May 6, 2023 at 6:50 am

    Born and raised in Tracy 9 miles to the North. We would explore those old mine shafts back in the 70s. Too bad they closed. It the old ladders were getting rickety even then. Great Drone Shots! Thanks!!

  26. Bees toe on May 6, 2023 at 6:52 am

    That area should have a historical monument for travelers to enjoy and learn from.

  27. ARMADILLO on May 6, 2023 at 6:52 am

    That’s cool, who owns the property now?

  28. jo pac on May 6, 2023 at 6:54 am

    Tesla is now home to a huge PG&E sub station. Thanks for the tour.

  29. mark pope on May 6, 2023 at 6:54 am

    I didn’t realize this YouTube channel was only for speed readers

  30. Sean Dunn on May 6, 2023 at 6:57 am

    That was great, well put together. ……thank you

  31. Touron on May 6, 2023 at 6:58 am

    I had competed in cycling road race in that area (Patterson Pass and Corral Hollow), and never knew there’s once an old mining town. Thanks for bringing this up. I now know a little bit more about the areas I’ve visited in California.

  32. Brian @ B&S Explorations on May 6, 2023 at 7:00 am

    New subscriber after discovering your channel last night. Really enjoy your content and presentation of the history of these sites. Keep up the great uploads!

  33. Dr. Zachary Smith on May 6, 2023 at 7:01 am

    Great video !

  34. david treichelpppj on May 6, 2023 at 7:05 am

    I thru cycling heard of Coral Hollow in the 80’s but never went there . Now I know . Nice commentary… Thanks !

  35. Gene Sotdorus on May 6, 2023 at 7:05 am

    This is the destruction of the United States. Look a whole town gone no work it’s all gone . The United States no longer makes or produces products . A service industry never makes nation wealthy .

  36. diegop2311 on May 6, 2023 at 7:06 am

    Cool video you should make a video on Preston California or zim zim California

  37. Kevin Cook on May 6, 2023 at 7:06 am

    Thanks for the boiler plate lecture at the beginning, but you are preaching to the choir; it is of no benefit to us good hearted people and the ones that vandalize will ignore it with prejudice. ?A clay company in competition with a coal company?? How does that work?

  38. julio on May 6, 2023 at 7:10 am

    Good think natural came back whoever owns this land protect land don’t let the human garbage come and take the resources

  39. John Busby on May 6, 2023 at 7:10 am

    Nice video. The Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette (a model railroad magazine) had a nice article on the Tesla railroad many years ago. Article included a number of good photos from the time Tesla was active.

  40. Owen Kittredge on May 6, 2023 at 7:10 am

    Interesting video on this area. I had come across the Tesla quad and did not know of the history of the town. I did some quick internet searching and looks like the coal maybe coming from the Eocene age Domengine and Nortonville formations which I understand produced low quality coal (sub-bituminous or lignite) These rock units outcrop further north and are now in the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve.

  41. M SS on May 6, 2023 at 7:10 am

    Yeah, well the rest of California isn’t abandon any where livable less and less places to find.

  42. 218philip on May 6, 2023 at 7:11 am

    It would be helpful if a cursor could be used to point to the areas being described. Nice presentation, thank you for no annoying music.

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