Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Matching Historical Go-Devil Photo!

www.SaltTram.blogspot.com   SalineValleySaltTram@gmail.com
As the years pass, researching the true story of the Salt Tram is getting more difficult, as the abundant photos and written first hand accounts from that era find their way into landfills (instead of museums). We  are striving to rediscover the efforts of those who built and ran the Salt Tram, 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

QUESTION1: Find the location of this Go-Devil photo (and you find the Go-Devil route as well).

This historical photo (below) shows 5 men preparing to run the Go Devil down the North wall of Daisy Canyon, all the way down to the bottom of Daisy Canyon. The Go Devil is loaded with 1  Electric Motor to power Control Station II on the tramway. There appear to be 2 brakes (long boards in the photo) that provide stopping power to the device, as well as 2 ropes attachs to the rear skids, apparently to be used by the 2 hapless gentlemen to the left and the right in the photo, who are expected to hang onto them for dear life! There are 2 brakeman, as well as a driver of the skid, along with 2 (also hapless) mules out in front to cushion them from possible collisions. Photo Courtesy Eastern California Museum (click to enlarge).

Note that in the photo above that there are no "hooks" that act as brakes, as was stated in the ASCE May 1917 document.

We believe that we know the location of this photo, on the ridge of the Inyo Mountains, likely just to the South of the Summit Station. Next time we are up there, we will know for sure. A few modern photos show the comparative terrain. Now we have to get out there and identify the EXACT site of the photo, and try to follow the Go Devil route down to the bottom of Daisy Canyon.

Update May 2010: Though we have not yet found the EXACT spot of this photo, we have come pretty close. It will remain to be seen whether any of Tom or Brian's photos from this trip match the historical photo above. I believe that they indicated that to match the historical photo, you would have to be quite a bit below the Salt Tram Summit Station - a conclusion reached from examining the 2 photos above.

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