Friday, November 20, 2009

Searching for Yard Artifacts in Indy!

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


While Brian, Sue and I were on our Salt Tram Research trip in November 2009, we stayed in Ray's Den Motel in Independence (or Indy, as the locals say it!). BTW, Ray's Den is a great place to stay, and Linda, the proprietor, is a wonderful host. She really cares about her customers, and she has many regulars that keep coming back for more! But this post isn't about lodging in Indy. Anyways, we were in Independence to do research at the Indy Court (Thanks Merie!), Indy Library (Thanks Joe and Nancy), the Eastern California Museum (Thanks Beth, Roberta and Donna!).

While there, Brian and I got up every morning at 6am, and took a walk around the Indy neighborhoods, examining the artifacts displayed in so many yards in town. Specifically, we were hunting for artifacts from the Salt Tram. Most prized would be the metal Salt Buggies that operated out at the Salt Lake. They were custom made, and we just know that some of them must have survived (so if you know anyone who has one, please let us know). Well, we didn't find any Salt Buggies, but we did find an electric motor that resembled the only intact Salt Tram motor, the one that resides at Control Station II. Unfortunately, the one in the yard didn't match the Westinghouse 75hp electric motor that powered the Salt Tram. But we'll keep looking for Salt Tram era Machinery and Photos - so if you can help, please do so. Thanks.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a single decent photo of the Salt Buggy that we are referring to. Whenever I manage to track down a photo of it, I'll post it here. In the meantime, here is the Salt Tram electric motor, and the motor found in a yard in Indy. Obviously, they don't match. The search goes on...


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