Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In Search of the Summit Station Corral

www.SaltTram.blogspot.com   SalineValleySaltTram@gmail.com
Salt Tram history is rapidly disappearing, and we are striving to rediscover the efforts of our forefathers in order to give proper recognition to their hopes, dreams and abundant sweat from an era that is rapidly fading from our memories. We are actively seeking out information about the mining of Salt in Saline Valley between 1903 and the 1950's, including: documents, photos, articles, stories, artifacts, etc. If you can help us out, please email us at the address above - Thank-you! --Tim and Brian Waag, the Waag brothers (aka E. Clampus Waagus).
Caution (PLEASE READ): Climbing around on the tramway is dangerous because its really old and defnitely unsafe, so don't even think about it. Shoot, just getting to it requires some perilous hiking, and if you don't believe me, just take a look at the Zig Zag Access Trail (or what's left of it). Plus, climbing on it weakens it and endangers your life. Also, the Saline Valley Salt Tram is on the National Register of Historic Places and should be treated with the respect that it deserves. What little remains is of great historic value, and should not be disturbed in any way. Heck, its probably against the law to move parts of the tram around, and certainly a crime to take home some of the few bits of it that remain (though you'd have to ask your friendly local BLM agent for details). So please treat it with the respect it deserves, so that future generations can enjoy whats left, without you messing it up. Really. Please. You can see its listing on the National Register of Historic Places at these web links:
National Register of Historic Places 1          National Register of Historic Places 2


According to my sources, there was a mule and horse corral for the Salt Tram Summit Station. Based on the description I received, I'm guessing it is located somewhere in the red area. Last time we were there, I forgot to look for it, but I will have a chance to do so soon, and will report on what we find.

This aerial shot is from Google Earth, and also shows the Salt Tram Summit Station, as well as the Salt Tram Caretaker's cabin.

The historical photo is said to depict two Salt Tram workers on horseback.

There are several corrals associated with the Salt Tram. Some were to hold horses, and some were to hold mules, and some were to hold both. Some of the corrals have used smooth wire, and others have used barbed wire, and I have heard that the smooth stuff is for horses, and the barbed wire for the mules. Not sure if thats true, so will have to do some more research to verify.

Analysis of Historic Horseman Photo: I'm not sure of the source of this photo, showing 2 men on horseback, as well as another man sitting at the left. Unfortunately, the photo is of poor quality, thus limiting its usefullness. It is not clear that the photo is associated with the Salt Tram, but let's assume that it is. First, there are 2 fence posts in the background, the leftmost of which is definitely a raw tree branch, complete with a y-shaped split. The 2 other corrals that we have discovered that are associated with the Salt Tram used raw tree branchs for corral posts, and a scarce few at that. It also appears that the man on the left is sitting on a fence, which is NOT consistent with Salt Tram corral construction. There appear to be 3 more horses in the background, indicating a corral area that could accomodate at least 5 horses. Also, there is what appears to be a water barrel near the legs of the horse on the right. So far, we have not found any water barrels in association with a Salt Tram corral, so this is inconclusive. There are no telling landmarks in the background that would indicate the location of the corral in this photo. There appears to be a rock formation at the left edge of the photo, but that is not clear. This area looks similar to the corral area at Chuckawalla Hollow in Saline Valley (a Salt Tram Camp). I have included a photo of a portion of the Chuckawalla Hollow Corral to show the similarity of the corral construction.

Future Exploration: Try to find the distinctive Y-shaped corral fence post that matches the one in the historical photo.


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