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The town took its name from Dr. Darwin French who explored the area in 1860 giving his name to the falls, canyon and wash. With the discovery of rich silver and lead deposits in 1874, Darwin became the center of activity in the New Coso mining district. In 1877 three furnaces were in operation and the town had a population of over 1,000. By 1878 strikes at Mammoth and Bodie left the town near deserted.

As of the census of 2000, there were 54 people, 36 households, and 14 families residing in the census-designated place.