the society of vituscan missionaries

OF THE

 

ANCIENT AND HONORABLE ORDER OF

 

E Clampus vitus

PRESENTS ITS TWICE-YEARLY

 

HISTORICAL JOURNEY AND 4WD TREK

(NUMBER 31 IN A CONTINUING SERIES)

TO WIT:

AN EXCURSION ALONG

 the old spanish trail

ALSO TOUCHING UPON THE TECOPA MINES, TONOPAH AND TIDEWATER RAILROAD, AND SARATOGA SPRINGS

 JANUARY 1 6, 1 7, 1 8, 2004

(OR, IN THE RECKONING OF OUR ORDER, CLAMPYEAR 6009)

HELD UNDER THE AUSPICES OF OUR PATRON

 

saint vitus

  

TEMPORAL GUIDANCE AND TACTICAL CONTROL PROVIDED BY

HEAD ABBOT V

BOB  "BEARBAIT"  GALL

 

ARTICLE BY MIKE JOHNSON, HEAD ABBOT II

THE OLD SPANISH TRAIL

           Since much of our trip occurs in the area traversed by the Old Spanish Trail, a short treatise on this historical route is indicated. The Old Spanish Trail, though not nearly so well known as the Oregon or Santa Fe Trails with which it was contemporary, was a major factor in the development of southern California. It was not a "purpose-built" road like the Bradshaw Trail, but rather was put together from bits and pieces of previous routes, all of which played a part in its development.

          In very simple terms, the Old Spanish Trail can be considered an extension of the Santa Fe Trail, which connected the state of Missouri with the Mexican settlement of Santa Fe. During the Spanish period, trade and contact with Americans was strongly discouraged, as evidenced by the treatment of Jedediah Smith and his party of trappers by Spanish officials in California in 1826-27. When Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, this policy changed abruptly. Trade between the United States and the Mexican settlements in New Mexico was actively encouraged, and by 1822 the Santa Fe Trail was well established. This opened up the possibility of commerce between Santa Fe and the Mexican settlements in southern California. To this end, in 1829 a New Mexican trader named Antonio Armijo inaugurated an annual trade caravan to Los Angeles over what would come to be known as the Old Spanish Trail.

          From Santa Fe, the trail wound its way 1,120 miles through what is now New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California to the sleepy pueblo of Los Angeles. It was the first major thoroughfare across the American Southwest, and earned the sobriquet of "the longest, crookedest, most arduous pack mule route in the history of America." Its purpose can be summed up in two words: wool and horses. It connected two Mexican settlements, Santa Fe and Los Angeles, and since it was opened after the Spanish period, it was a "Spanish" trail only in a general sense, much as we might use the word "Hispanic" today. In fact, its detractors claimed that it wasn't old, wasn't Spanish, and wasn't even much of a trail!

To purists, the Old Spanish Trail lasted only until 1848, when the territory it crossed became part of the United States. In this short period, however, it exerted great influence on the development of southern California. Even though the end of the Mexican War marked the official demise of the trail, in later years it continued to serve as a road between Mormon Utah and southern California, especially the Mormon city of San Bernardino, and during this period it was often referred to as the Mormon or Salt Lake Trail. In reality, all three of these terms indicate the same route.

          During its heyday, it witnessed a yearly caravan of New Mexican traders, carrying the abundant woolen goods of New Mexico on muleback to Los Angeles, where they were sold or bartered directly for horses and much-prized California mules. The annual trade caravan typically left Santa Fe in the fall, when cooler desert temperatures prevailed, and returned in the spring when new grass was present to provide feed for the large herds of animals being driven eastward. A one-way journey might take from one and a half to three months. It is important to remember that the route was strictly a pack trail, not a wagon road. All the trade goods headed for Los Angeles were carried by on the backs of pack mules. After the Mexican War, this western portion of the trail was improved and made passable for wagons. The first passage by a wheeled vehicle was in 1848, when a party of soldiers from the Mormon Battalion traveled from Los Angeles to the new Mormon capital at Salt Lake City after their enlistments expired, accompanied by a single wagon. The subject of the Old Spanish/Mormon/Salt Lake Trail is far too broad to be fully discussed here, and therefore only a general background is provided.

          As the Old Spanish Trail entered California, approximately 900 miles from Santa Fe, it passed southwest across the Pahrump Valley and crossed a low divide to California Valley. From here it climbed a steep grade to Emigrant Pass in the Nopah Range, where the modern highway still passes today. A pristine section of the trail is still clearly visible from this viewpoint, 17S years after Armijo's inaugural trip. From Emigrant Pass the trail dropped gradually for six miles before reaching Resting Springs, a short distance northeast Of Tecopa. Resting Springs, now a private ranch, was the best campsite and most dependable water source between Mountain Springs, southwest of Las Vegas, and the Mojave River. About five miles from Resting Spring the trail struck the Amargosa River near what is now the town of Tecopa. The Amargosa (which means bitter in Spanish) arises from springs north of Beatty, Nevada, flows southward, turns almost 180 degrees, and then heads northward into the sink of Death Valley. For much of its course its waters are hidden underground, but it rises to the surface in the Amargosa Gorge before again sinking into the sand as it nears Dumont Dunes. The river, which over the centuries has cut a deep canyon through the Sperry Hills, was a natural route of travel. In addition to the river, the area is dotted with numerous freshwater springs. Part of our trek will follow this gorge northward toward Resting Spring.

 

THE SALT SPRING MINE

 

As the trail left the canyon of the Amargosa River it skirted Dumont Dunes. Just south of the dunes the trail reached Salt Spring. Here the original pack train route went directly through a cleft in the Salt Spring Hills to two small springs near the mine, while the later wagon road stayed further to the west and closely followed the alignment of today's Highway 127 to Salt Spring. At an elevation of 420 feet, this was the lowest part of the trail between Santa Fe and the San Bernardino Valley. Salt Spring, almost in view of our Clampsite, marks the location of the Salt Spring (or Amargosa) Mine, discovered at the height of the Gold Rush, though far removed from the Mother Lode country.

W. C. Mendenhall's 1909 Desert Watering Places, speaking of Salt Spring, states that "This spring of non-potable water is in the canyon of the south branch of the Amargosa River, at the east end of South Death Valley...S miles southwest of Dumont, on the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad...Col. j. C. Fremont camped there April 28, 1844 and described the place as follows: 'A very poor camping place-a swampy, salty spot, with very little unwholesome grass. The water rose in the springs, entirely too salty to drink.'" Despite this description, due to the scarcity of water in this region, both man and beast were forced to utilize the spring.

          In an ironic twist of fate, even as a stream of Argonauts headed for the gold fields via the Old Spanish Trail, the precious metal was discovered here by two Mormon missionaries headed for the South Seas, a destination about as different from the Amargosa country as one could imagine. James Brown and Addison Pratt had been called by Brigham Young to carry out their Mormon missions in Tahiti. Brown had been a member of the Mormon Battalion during the Mexican War, arriving at Sutter's Mill in the fall of 1847, and helped dig the millrace on the American River where James Marshall discovered gold at Coloma. Pratt had previously been in Tahiti, returning to California in 1848. Both men had gone to Salt Lake City that year, and were now returning to resume their work amongst the Gentiles. A third goldseeker, known only as Mr. Rowan, was also involved in the discovery.

          These three, as well as other members of the party, began to prospect in the hills surrounding Salt Spring during their short stay there, and it was with some difficulty that wagon master Jefferson Hunt got the party moving again. As soon as they reached Los Angeles, plans were made to return to this promising find.

          By early 1850 mining was underway, and Salt Spring and other claims in the nearby Avawatz Mountains became known as the "Mormon Diggings." This was the earliest known mining activity in the region. At one time or another, such illustrious personages as Benjamin "Don Benito" Wilson, Isaac Williams of the Chino Rancho, and trapper Andrew Sublette were involved in the working and promoting of the mine, which has been more or less active right up to the present day.

          In 1852, after considerable difficulty and delay, a steam-powered ore crusher reached Salt Spring. It quickly consumed all the nearby fuel, and the mineralized water from the spring played havoc with the boiler. The machinery was soon shut down, but was promptly purchased by Charles Crisman, a San Bernardino lumberman. It was laboriously hauled over Cajon Pass to Mill Creek in the San Bernardino Mountains, where it powered the first sawmill in that area, providing lumber for the new Mormon settlement of San Bernardino. In 1854 the Kingston Cutoff, an alleged shortcut on the Old Spanish Trail, was inaugurated, putting the mine somewhat off the beaten track. In 1863 a five-stamp mill was erected, but once again the water ruined the boiler.

          In the early days of the Civil War Major James H. Carleton, who established Camp Cady on the Mojave Road in 1860, erected crude redoubts nearby, but after the War troops no longer regularly patrolled the road and Indian depredations became common. In 1864 three miners lost their lives here. Two years later, seven miners were working the Salt Spring claims when Indians besieged the camp. One of the miners slipped out at night and rode 45 miles to the Army post at Marl Springs for help. The soldiers responded, but by the time they returned the six miners were already dead.

          According to Lingenfelter, in the entire Death Valley region only Rhyolite, Skidoo, and the Keane Wonder Mine produced more gold than the claims at Salt Spring, but as so often was the case, the remoteness of the mines and the resultant high cost of transportation cancelled out any profits.

          In addition to its mineral wealth, Salt Spring was also a very important watering place in this part of the desert. After the relatively lush surroundings at Resting Spring, Salt Spring was the last place to rest and recruit men and animals before starting out on the worst stretch of the Old Spanish Trail. With the exception of Bitter Spring, a small pit of barely potable liquid, this 65-mile jornada del muerto offered no water until the Mojave River was reached at Forks of the Road, near modern- day Daggett.

 

THE TONOPAH AND TIDEWATER RAILROAD

 

          After leaving the Clampsite we pick up the course of the Amargosa River, which is dry at this point, and follow it upstream through the canyon it has cut through the Sperry Hills. In some points the river bottom widens to nearly a half mile, while at others it narrows to only a few hundred feet. It is typical of washes in this part of the desert, but on a much grander scale. Tall, highly eroded cliffs rise on either side of the riverbed. The river, which flows freely through the gorge, marks the actual trace of the Old Spanish Trail.

        About five miles into the canyon, after trave1ing on the roadbed of the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad for about half that distance, are ruins of Sperry Station on the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad. In order to better understand the importance of this location, a short history of this desert rail line is necessary.

 

        In 1872 borax was discovered at Teel's Marsh, near Candelaria, Nevada, by Francis Marion "Borax" Smith. In 1888 his chief competitor, William Tell Coleman, suffered financial setbacks, and Smith purchased many of Coleman's claims, including the Lila C. mine near Death Valley and another borax mine at Borate, near Calico. As the Teel's Marsh deposits began to play out, Smith transferred his operations to Borate. For the next nine years he worked these claims, but as they too played out he opened the Lila C. borax mine.

 

        Although the borax deposits here were rich, there was no mill or railroad nearby, and transportation costs were staggering. The nearest railhead was 100 miles away at Ivanpah. Smith constructed a wagon road from the Lila C. to Ivanpah and made plans to use huge steam-powered "traction engines" to haul the borax to market. The first load made fourteen miles before the contraption broke down, and it seemed that nothing could be done to improve its performance. At this point Smith realized that a rail line would be required to operate his mines in a cost- effective manner.

 

        To this end, the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad Company was incorporated in July of 1904. Although it never served Tonopah and never reached the coast, the name persisted. Original plans called for the line to start in Las Vegas, but plans changed and it was decided to link up with the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe main line at Ludlow, California.

        In September 1905 construction began at Ludlow, headed north for Gold Center (Beatty), 169 miles away. It was planned to build this section first, then connect to the tidewater at San Diego, although this never came to pass. Silver Lake was reached in March 1906, and Dumont two months later.

        Construction then hit a snag due to labor troubles and the difficult terrain in the Amargosa Gorge. These factors cost an entire year and caused plans to extend the line to Tonopah to go by the board. Building in the canyon required numerous narrow cuts, long fills, and three major trestles. By June 1907 the rails had reached Zabriskie, 91 miles north of Ludlow. Now ore from the Lila C. was hauled 28 miles to the railhead here, and for a while Zabriskie was a bustling settlement. The rails finally reached Death Valley Junction, 31 miles north of Zabriskie, where the connection to the spur line from the Lila C. was made, and on August 21 the first trainload of ore rolled out of the mine bound for Ludlow. Gold Center was finally reached on October 30, 1907, but by this time there was little to celebrate. In addition to serving the Lila C., the line had been built in response to the gold strikes at Goldfield, Bullfrog, and Rhyolite, but by mid-1907 the boom was over. To make matters worse, all this coincided with the nationwide economic recession of 1907.

          The T & T settled into a routine, but from the beginning it had difficulty showing a profit, although the steady shipments of borax kept it alive much longer than its neighboring lines, the Bullfrog and Goldfield and Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroads. By 1913 the ore at the Lila C. was largely depleted. Smith opened a new mine, the Biddy McCarthy, about twelve miles northwest of the Lila C. A spur line to the mine was planned, and the T & T seemed the natural choice to build it, but Smith ran into financial difficulties. As a result, his Pacific Coast Borax Company was taken over by its parent company, Borax Consolidated, Ltd" which built and operated the spur line,.

          In 1916 the T & T suffered extensive flood damage, cutting further into the already thin profit margin. With the coming of the Great Depression, traffic on the T & T slowed to a trickle. Between 1933 and 1938 annual operating losses were approximately $250,000. This, along with more damage from the great floods of 1938, caused the line to shut down in 1940. In 1942 and 1943 the track and timbers were removed to aid the war effort. Thus ended the most ambitious rail venture in the entire Death Valley region. The roadbed is still clearly evident in many places, and actually serves as our road for several miles.

        After reaching the site of Sperry Station, named for Grace Sperry, the adopted niece of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, we leave the Amargosa and follow Sperry Wash to the northeast. The original route of the T & T and the Old Spanish Trail along the Amargosa River is closed to vehicular traffic north of this point. South of the wash are some important deposits of petrified wood. The wood occurs in broken pieces as well as large logs. Many different species have been identified, leading to the conclusion that in prehistoric times the area was a subtropical forest of palms, tree ferns, and cycads.

          In a short distance we reach the Western Talc Mine, one of the largest talc operations in San Bernardino County. Next to borax, some of the biggest bonanzas in the Death Valley vicinity were in ordinary white talc. This humble mineral, in addition to being the basis of baby powder, is used in the manufacture of paint, soaps and detergents, plastic, paper, and pharmaceuticals. There is a huge exposed belt of this mineral in the vicinity of southern Death Valley, stretching 60 miles from the Panamint Mountains on the west to the Silurian Hills on the east. The first big talc strike was the Western, developed in 1912 by Lycurgus Lindsay, the self- proclaimed "Talc King." He was seeking the mineral to use in his two large pottery businesses, which made wall tile and sewer pipe, respectively. He had originally made his fortune in speculation in Mexican copper mines, and was always on the lookout for new sources of talc and clay.

          Lindsay bought a group of claims known simply as the Talc Mine in 1909. The deposits had been discovered a year previously by the owner of nearby China Ranch and his two partners. By 1912 he was hauling about a wagonload of talc a day to the T & T for shipment to his pottery works. Shipments that first year amounted to less than 1,000 tons worth approximately $10 a ton, but the output grew steadily, reaching 5,000 tons at $15 a ton in 1915. He vigorously expanded the mine, producing 12,000 tons in 1920, and by the end of that year had taken out roughly $500,000 in talc. The mine boomed, but the Talc King was in deep financial troubles. He had expanded too quickly and overextended his credit, and in 1921 the business went belly up, even though talc shipments continued under a new owner. In 1928 the mine again changed hands, and eventually produced more than 300,000 tons of high-grade talc worth several million dollars. This is an impressive record indeed for a mine of baby powder!

 

NOONDAY CAMP AND THE TECOPA MINES

 

          About four miles east of the Western are the remains of Upper and Lower Noonday Camps. There are numerous mines and prospects in the area. This remote corner of the desert was prospected in the backwash of the California Gold Rush, as miners drifted farther and farther from the Mother Lode in search of gold. The first discoveries hereabout were made in 1865, but it was lead and silver that awaited the miners, not gold. The major discovery was the Gunsight Mine, and near it were erected a ten- stamp mill and three furnaces to process the ores. These claims in the Resting Spring Mining District came to be known generically as the Tecopa mines. Among the best producers were the Noonday, War Eagle, and Columbia.

          In 1874 the Brown brothers, William and Robert, located a rich silver-lead deposit just south of Resting Spring on the Old Spanish Trail. Ore from their mine, the Balance, assayed at $60 a ton in silver along with a high percentage of lead. The brothers set up a townsite modestly christened Brownsville, on Willow Creek near China Ranch. Along with the Browns, newspaperman George Hearst was a part owner.

          Instrumental in the development of the Tecopa mines was Jonas Osborne, who was among the earliest arrivals in the Resting Spring District. Formerly the superintendent of a British mining company at Eureka, Nevada, he also located rich silver-lead deposits near Resting Spring in the winter of 1875-76. Some selected ore ran as high as $600 a ton. Encouraged by this, he bought up a part interest in several of the Brown brothers' claims and began experimenting with ways to economically smelt the ores.

          By the next year he thought he had found a profitable way to do so, but needed additional capital to build a large furnace. The logical source of money was George Hearst, but he had lost confidence in the venture and the money had to be found elsewhere. Operating as middleman for a mining syndicate of Los Angeles investors, in May of 1877 Osborne purchased the Noonday and Balance mines, as well as several other smaller claims from local miners, including one called the Gunsight. It and the Noonday proved to be the most productive claims in the district.

          By the time Osborne's large furnace had been completed in January 1878 there were some 200 hopeful miners in the former townsite of Brownsville, which Osborne renamed Tecopa in honor of the local Indian leader. There was daily mail from San Bernardino, a twice-monthly stage, and all the amenities expected of any self-respecting mining camp.

The furnace was designed to smelt 20 tons of ore and extract $900 in bullion each day, but in actual use it only managed a fraction of that. Lack of sufficient water to keep the cooling jacket around the furnace full at all times led to continual problems, and as the miners went ever deeper the ores changed from lead-rich galena to carbonates, which would not smelt properly even when the furnace was running.

          Osborne finally decided to give up on the smelting furnace and try milling the carbonate ores. Having 1,000 tons of such ore on the mine dump, he persuaded the company to buy a newfangled rotary mill called a Davis Pulverizer, advertised as more efficient than a conventional 20- stamp mill and requiring far less power to operate. He decided to locate the pulverizer not at Tecopa, but six miles away at Resting Spring, probably in an attempt to fuel a real estate boom and enable him to sell city lots there. By February of 1879 Tecopa was abandoned and the new camp of Resting Spring boomed.

When the marvelous and expensive pulverizer arrived, it soon became evident that it was completely useless in processing the ore. Even as payments were being made on the machinery, it was being torn apart for scrap. In a final attempt to turn a profit, an ordinary 10-stamp mill was erected and began operation in August. It was capable of processing 40 tons a day, but the ore was so resistant that only $40 a ton could be recovered from rock assaying at twice that amount.

After appointing a new superintendent to replace Osborne, spending $72,000, and digging a 1, 000-foot tunnel through solid rock, it became obvious that the operation could not make money, and in July of 1881 the mining company went under. Even though it had produced perhaps $250,000 in bullion, inefficient mining and milling had cost more than the metal was worth. The last diehards left that fall, and Resting Spring and Tecopa were both dead, at least for the time being.

          In following years Osborne, still having faith in the mines, bought up some of the idle claims, and tried repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) to show a profit. Still, he managed to hold on until mid-1906, when the Tonopah and Tidewater tracks came within a half dozen miles of the mines, when he sold his interests for $175,000. In 1909 the new owners built the V-shaped, eleven-mile-long standard gauge Tecopa Railroad, which ran from the Gunsight and Noonday claims at the upper ends to the T & T siding at the lower end, and eventually shipped $400,000 worth of ore. After some sporadic closures due to legal troubles, the shipments continued regularly from 1912 to 1928. During most of this time the Tecopa mines were the biggest silver-lead producer in California. Typical ores averaged about $24 a ton, of which two-thirds was lead, the remainder silver with a trace of gold. The lead went back east to the paint factories of one of the major stockholders, which consumed up to 75 tons of lead per day. In all, about $4 million worth of lead was shipped from the Tecopa mines. This lowly metal, worth only a few cents per pound, was the real bonanza in the region. The Great Depression put an end to large-scale mining operations, although there was a short-lived flurry of activity in 1947. The mines remain idle today, though many remnants of earlier times are still visible.

          There is considerable confusion over the name Tecopa. "Old" Tecopa was established in the 1870s, centrally located between the Tecopa mines on the north and the Alexander mines to the south. It is here that Osborne built his smelter in 1878. Ruins of the mill and smelter are still visible, as is a small cemetery. When the T & T emerged from the northern end of the Amargosa Gorge in 1907 Tecopa was reborn and moved out of this small valley to its present location, nearer to the rails.

IBEX SPRING

           After leaving Noonday Camp and the Tecopa mines, we proceed westward, through the modern town of Tecopa, thence southward over 2,090-foot Ibex Pass. From this vantage point there is a beautiful view of the Silurian Valley. A short distance to the west is Ibex Spring and a ghost town of the same name.

          In 1881 two young miners discovered outcrops of silver and copper here, and named their find the Ibex. The lode is actually on the slope of the Black, not Ibex, Mountains about nine miles north of Saratoga Springs. With no proven deposits other than these surface veins they sold their mine in 1882 for an astonishing $48,000. In the fall of that year a Chicago syndicate f9rmed the Ibex Mining Company and commenced operations at the site. They opened a fifteen-inch-wide vein to a depth of 80 feet, with ore assaying at $300 a ton. They erected a five-stamp mill in the Ibex Hills three miles southeast of the mine, thus founding a camp that came to be called Ibex Spring.

          Ibex are mountain goats native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, none of which are to be found within several thousand miles of this location, but the name persisted, now marking two mountains, a range of hills, two passes, a spring and a wash in the southern end of Death Valley.

          The mill commenced operations in May of 1883, but lack of wood and water made for sporadic activity. The refractory ores resisted milling, and a small smelting furnace was constructed in 1884, further taxing the nearby supply of fuel. The summer heat often caused suspension of operations, but when everything was working correctly the mine and mill could turn out $60,000 of bullion a month (see Lingenfelter), although such months were rare indeed. Work persisted in an on again-off again manner for seven years before the company threw in the towel, and it is thought that they may have broken even before quitting in 1889.

          About 1907 there was renewed activity when rich silver- copper deposits were discovered nearby. Although some of the ore was of high quality, there was very little of it, and due to the remoteness of the site nothing substantial came of this find. The real heyday of Ibex Spring came much later, during the 1950s and 1960s, when it was a residential town for large-scale talc mining at the Pleasanton, Moorehouse, Monarch and Rob Roy claims a short distance to the north. Most of the structures that remain today date from that era.

          In recent years there were plans to bulldoze the townsite. A deal was struck between the Mojave River Valley Museum in Barstow and the U. S. Park Service to spare the structures, which would be monitored photographically each year to assess the rate of deterioration of the ruins. The water, which was the reason for the camp's existence, is still abundant today.

 

SARATOGA SPRINGS

           At the extreme southern end of Death Valley National Park are found the extensive pools of Saratoga Springs. This is one of the most important riparian habitats in the entire Death Valley region. The warm freshwater ponds support a species of pupfish unique to Saratoga Springs. The water here is critical for local wildlife and for migrating birds, especially coots, which gather here in huge flocks.

          In 1860 the springs were visited by troops led by Lt. Davis of the

Army's First Dragoon Regiment, commanded by Major James H. Carleton. The area was named during a mapping survey by G. K. Gilbert in 1871, probably for the famous springs at Saratoga, New York. Between 1883 and 1888 the springs were a watering stop for 20-mule teams hauling borax from the Amargosa Borax Works near Tecopa. A small settlement sprang up to service the steady, if somewhat light, stream of travelers. Faint remains of this venture can be found today.

          In 1909 the Pacific Nitrate Company began to explore nitrate deposits in southern Death Valley. Today, nitrates can be easily synthesized, but in earlier days natural deposits were critical for the production of explosives, fertilizers, and other chemicals. The company obtained water rights to the springs, and dug out and enlarged the existing small ponds to serve a proposed processing plant. Plans for the plant were scrapped when the deposits turned out to be much lower grade than expected, but the ponds remain, and today they cover more than 15 acres. It now seems somewhat farfetched, but in the 1930s the Saratoga Water Company further developed the site, bottled and sold the water as a cure-all, and built a health spa featuring swimming in the improved pools.

          Visible on the flanks of the Saratoga Hills are the remains of the Superior and Whitecap Mines, the largest of several talc mines near the springs. Most mining activity took place between 1941 and 1959, but some work was being done as late as the 19705. The Superior alone yielded 140,000 tons of high-grade steatite talc. The mines are now worked out, and the claims have been deeded to the Park Service.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Belden, L. Burr*,  Mines of Death Valley.  La Siesta Press, Glendale, CA,    1976

Bryan, T. Scott and Betty Tucker, The Explorer's Guide to Death Valley.          

University Press of Colorado, Niwot, CO. 1995.

Clark, Lew and Ginny, High Mountains and Deep Valleys. Western Trails          

Publications, San Luis Obispo, CA, 1978.

Hensher, Alan, Ghost Towns of!be Mojave Desert. California Classics

          Books, Los Ange1es, 1 991 .

Lingenfelter, Richard, Death Valley and the Amargosa. University of California Press, Los Angeles, 1986.

Mann, William Jack, Guide to 50 Interesting and Mysterious Sites in the

          Mojave. Shortfuse Publishing Company, Barstow, CA. 1999

Paher, Stanley, Death Valley Ghost Towns. Nevada Publications, Las Vegas., NV, 1973.

Articles from Desert Magazine, courtesy of the Neal Sampson Collection:

Grantham, Donald W., Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad; October 1983.

Strong, Mary Frances, Amargosa Gorge, November 1975.

Strong, Jerry, Tecopa: A California Field Trip, n.d.

 *First Noble Grand Humbug of Billy Holcomb Chapter, gone to the Golden Hills.

 

Stations and Sidings on the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad

Station                Miles from Ludlow                        Remarks

 

Ludlow                             0                       Connection with the AT and SF          RR-site                                                                        of original offices and shops.

Broadwell                    12.53                             Dry Lake. Station well still exists.

   

Mesquite                     21.08                            

Crucero                       25.68                             Connection with the UP RR. Spanish for                                                                             "crossing." 

Rasor                           29.40                             Named for Clarence Rasor, T and T                                                                                                engineer.

Soda                            33.34                             Normally dry lake.

 

Baker                           41.82                             For Richard C. Baker, borax                                                                                          company official

Silver Lake                  50.83                             Station was east of original townsite.

Riggs                          59.47                             For Frank Riggs, owner of silver mine 2                                                                                       miles east of station.

Valjean                       65.11                             For Eugene Valjean, T and T construction                                                                          engineer.

Dumont                      74.40                             Site planned for connection with                                                                                 Amargosa Valley RR-never built.

Sperry                        78.84                             For Grace Sperry, adopted niece of the                                                                         Smiths.

Acme                          82.97                             Branch line to nearby gypsum mines.

Tecopa                        87.67                             Connection with Tecopa RR.

Zabriskie                     91.74                             For Christian Zabriskie, Vice-Pres. of                                                                          borax company and former Candelaria                                                                          banker.

Shoshone                    96.95                            

Gerstley                      101.26                         Connection with Pacific Coast Borax RR.

Evelyn                         109.62                         For Borax Smith's wife.

Death Valley jct.         122.23                         Connection with narrow-gauge Death                                                                               Valley RR, later site of offices and shops.

Bradford Siding           128.01                         Site of clay deposits.

Scranton                      133.96                         For PA town whose investors financed                                                                              water system for Greenwater.

Jenifer                         139.44                                   

Leeland                       144.51                         For Lee brothers, local residents.

   

Ashton                        154.98                         For ash trees growing in area.

Carrara                       160.55                         Branch line to marble mine.

Gold Center (Beatty) 169.07                         Connection with the Las Vegas and                                                                       Tonopah RR and Bullfrog-Goldfield RR.