Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Inyo Register Log

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

Inyo Register
June 30, 1910 - FIRST DATE VIEWED
November 24, 1910 - LAST DATE VIEWED

An Inyo Register Column Named TABOOSE!
April 16, 1891 - In the column titled TABOOSE. Note: Taboose is (was?) a bulb dug by the local Indians, a staple of their diet. Willie (not William) Chalfant [I thought they called him Bill?] of P. A. Chalfant, founder of the Register started the column when he took over from his father P. A. Anyway, the paper said the Laws School was having a picnic on the banks of the river. Also from the same paper is the closing program for the Laws School. (Was school closing on April 16 in those days?). The program had thirty-seven entries, songs recitations, etc. Ella Huckaby recited "In School Days". Alice recited "The Faithful Little Mother"" Ella and Alice Huckaby did a dialogue together with Minnie and Myrtle McGee, and Katy McNally it was "Persevere". Willie Huckaby recited "Sam'l of Liberty" and Alice did 1 With Harry Ehlen titled "An Old Ballad"... Sounds like a good show and probably took most of the night. Every child in school had a part. Barton McGee, Minnie McGee, Albert McNally, Sanford Plumley, John Dehy, Lottie Schivley, Jas.Dehy, Ed Dehy were the other students. Ella Huckaby recited "Billy Grimes, the Drover.” (Inyo Register)

6/30/1910 – Advertisement for White Smith, Attorney at Law, Notary Public (same advetertisement as listed on 9/1/1910 below) – Exact word-for-word transcription of the ad: Bishop, Cal. Loans Negotiated. Farms for rent, sale, or exchange. Property taken charge of. Titles examined; abstracts furnished; rents collected, taxes paid, etc., for residents and outside parties. Have Stock Ranches of from 1000 to 10,000 Acres. Choice property and easy terms. WHITE SMITH, Attorney at Law, Bishop, Cal. [shows that everyone was presumed to know the location of White Smith’s law office, as there is no address or phone number listed]

9/1/1910 – TO DEVELOP WEALTH OF SALINE – Salt to be Pumped in Solution Across Mountain Range to Swansea.—Project Approved by Investigators (long feature length article – 17 long paragraphs with extensive detail; each paragraph is numbered and summarized below).

1. The enterprise of marketing Saline Valley salt has begun, and should be large.
2. The salt is the purest known, even compared to other salt sources AFTER purification; however, getting it out of the valley is the biggest obstacle.
3. Leffingwell, prompted by questions from White Smith, have devised a clever transportation solution: pumping salt in solution over the Whites.
4. A year or two ago, Tennessee investors were exposed by Salt Deposit claim owners Fred and White Smith to the possibility of exploiting those deposits.
5. The Tennessee contingent was convinced of the success of such an enterprise, and felt assured of a successful enterprise, given the certainty of the quality and quantity of the available salt.
6. The salt bed is large and pure, based on lab analysis.
7. Saline Valley salt is purer as it lays on the ground, than the purest salt sourced from the Ohio Valley after it has been purified.
8. Different brands of salt currently on the market were bought and tested against SV salt, and found to have visual impurities that the SV salt lacked.
9. At the SouthWest corner of Saline Lake, the salt is found in a solution of at least 25% (a conservative measurement) that is pure and clear salt and water.
10. The supply of pure SV salt is so vast as to be nearly inexhaustible, having been tested in a shaft sunk to 30 feet with the bottom still salt.
11. At 18 miles from railroad spur to SV over the White Mountains, a 4 inch steel pipe is proposed to carry the salt brine over the mountains, using Worthington triplex style pumps in a series of concrete tanks, each 800 feet higher elevation than the one before it; at the discharge, the brine will be distributed into evaporating tanks (similar to use at the soda works); daily delivery of salt expected to be 100 tons per day (a conservative figure); at the fields, water pipes will insure a constant supply of brine.
12. Cost per ton is expected to be $5 to $6 per ton for delivery to Los Angeles, and White Smith has obtained an offer of $18 per ton for all he can deliver to San Francisco; 30,00 carloads [train car loads?] of salt delivered yearly is expected.
13. Power required to drive the electric pumps is over 400 horsepower, although the falling brine can be made to develop almost _ of this necessary power.
14. The cost of the pipeline-based plan is approximately $750,000, and is to be raised by selling shares of SVSC, an Arizona Corporation, 1 million shares at $1 each, with 2 to 3 hundred thousand kept in the treasury, and the balance sold in share of at least 100 shares.
15. There will be plenty of west coast demand for salt of SV’s high quality, as other sources (Michigan, Ohio, New York – even England) are both of inferior quality and have much higher production and transportation costs.
16. If salt were a mining proposition, you couldn’t issue stock certificates fast enough; considering that the pure salt had both unlimited, high quality availability, and a competitive price advantage [what could go wrong?].
17. The proposition should be so appealing to “thinking investors” that it should be “speedily” capitalized.

9/1/1910 – Advertisement for White Smith, Attorney at Law, Notary Public (same advetertisement as listed on 6/30/1910 above).

9/1/1910 - Advertisement for Fred R. Smith, White Smith’s brother. Exact word-for-word transcription of the ad: Fred R. Smith, Notary Public. Office in White Smith’s law office, Bishop. [shows that everyone was presumed to know the location of White Smith’s law office, as there is no address or phone number listed]

9/1/1910 – Excursionists [article not directly related to the Salt Tram, but of some interest]. Except for Forbe’s auto, starting from Independence, and Hay’s from Lone Pine, all the machines going down to meet the Governor and party were from Bishop, including those of … W. W. Watterson, Will L. Smith, … The travelers in these cars were Mr. & Mrs. Leffingwell, …, Mssrs. W.W. Watterson, …, H. B. Smith, E. E. Smith, W. W. Yandell, W. A. Chalfant

11/17/1910 LARGEST TRANSFER YET – Smith Bros. Ranch about to Change Ownership for $100,000 or so. 3 paragraph article details sale of “large realty holdings” of White, E. E., and F. R. Smith of a tract midway between Bishop and Big Pine, containing 2,640 acres. [shows that White Smith was a major player in the local real estate wheeling and dealing market].

11/24/1910 – Saline Tramway (short feature length article – one long paragraph). Complete article: Arthur Morton, general sales agent for the coast for the Trenton Iron Co., of Trenton, New Jersey, arrived Monday, and in company with F. R. and E. E. Smith has gone to Saline Valley. The company he represents, a subsidiary concern of U. S. Steel Co., builds tramways and has a long record of success. One of its lines, in the Argentine Republic, is 26 miles long. It is the company’s boast that not one of its cables has yet been broken. Mr. Morton’s trip here has to do with installation of a tramway for the Saline Valley Salt Co. The original plan of pumping the salt in solution across the White Mountains has given way to a tram proposition, the latter having several advantages, including economy of operation. The Trenton company installs its lines under a positive guarantee of their efficiency.


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