Monday, December 7, 2009

What is this?

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

What is this thing? Help! (click on image to make it bigger).

I'm gonna start trying to post more on this blog, to help others get involved with the research process, cause we need the help. Its not that we can't figure out all the mysteries of White Smith's Amazing Salt Tram, its just that we only have one lifetime in which to do it, and that lifetime is inconveniently filled with other stuff, like work, kids, jobs, etc. So we are hoping for help from some of you out there - if indeed, anybody is out there! Onward.

What is this? We found about 5 or 6 of these objects - each identical to the other, on our October Salt Tram Research Trip. We found them alongside the Inyo Summit 4x4 Road, about 500 feet North of the Summit Station, all on the West side of the road - no more than about 20 to 50 feet off the road. Since this road was used for transporting TONS of Salt Tram building materials, we were hoping that they were somehow related to that.

We had a few suspects: (1) the metal band that holds wood axles together, the kind of axle that was used by the 8 to 12 horse team wagons that hauled Salt Tram building material up the Old Charcoal Road. Nope. Since then, I've looked at dozens of wagons of the Salt Tram era (1900 - 1911), and the bands on the axles are both narrower and thicker. They do have rivets - same as this one we are showing you (see photo with pink arrow). However, the wagon bands have a SINGLE rivet, while this one has two rivet holes.

(2) something in the harness of the horse team, that somehow bands some of the wood pieces in the harness of the horse team; I'm so bad, I don't even know the terminology for the harnesses that keep a horse team together, but I can find out with google (which I will do now). Okay, I did find some wood and metal bits on some multi-horse team harnesses (see photo of two horses with harness with wood under their chest in the harness), its nothing like what you see in the picture. So we've struck out.


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